Friday, June 14, 2024


By Ekemini BASSEY

The Peoples Democratic Party PDP in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area yesterday descended into fresh crisis as the Transition Chairman Lady Ekaette Usip and the Chapter Woman Leader Hon Ekaette Philip clashed openly during a prayer session organised by the Chapter Woman Leader of the PDP at the Party office in Mkpat Enin.
Our reporter who was at the venue of the meeting gathered that the Party Woman Leader invited women across all the 14 wards of the Local Government Area to the Party House for a prayer session on Thursday morning. The prayer session, our reporter learnt, was to gather PDP women from the area to pray for the State under the leadership of Governor Udom Emmanuel and wife Martha.
According to the Woman Leader, she had informed the Transition Chairman and other Political Stakeholders from the area about the Prayer Meeting and consequently got their support.
“I informed our Chairperson about this prayer meeting, I even visited her in her home to inform and invite her. Invitation was also extended to the House of Assembly member and wife, the Special Adviser to the Governor, the Chapter Party Chairman and other Stakeholders from Mkpat Enin which they all gave us their nod.”
According to our reporter and other eye witnesses, problem started when
The Divisional Police Officer of the area through the orders of the Transition Chairman, Lady Ekaette Usip, mandated his men numbering about 15 to stop the gathering due to the fact that she (the Council Boss) was not informed as the Chief Security Officer of the Local Government Area about the prayer meeting.
The venue of the meeting became rowdy as the Chapter Women Leader was seen making calls to try and clam the situation so that the prayers session, which had already commenced, would not be disrupted by the presence of the armed police men.
After the leader of the police team had spoken to an unidentified top government official through a phone call made by Chapter Women Leader, the women led by Party Woman Leader continued with the prayers and songs for few minutes before the eventual arrival of Ekaette Usip.
The arrival of the angry looking Council Boss finally brought the prayer meeting to an unceremonious end as a melodrama ensued when she attempted to forcefully get control of the microphone from the Party woman Leader who was already leading in praises.
Before her arrival the women were already in joyous mood, singing melodious songs, dancing and giving glory to God for his benevolence and protection on the Wife of the Governor whom they described as their mother and her husband, Governor Udom Emmanuel since the beginning of the present administration.
When the Chairperson finally gained control of the microphone, she informed the Women gathered in the hall that she was not informed about the ongoing meeting as such the prayer meeting cannot take place and ordered them to leave the party secretariat.
She said that the Governor’s wife called her on phone to come and stop the prayer meeting immediately since nobody at the State Level knew about the meeting. She boasted that she is in charge of the Local Government and nobody can take decisions without her knowledge.
She continued by saying that she had to leave the First Lady of the State at Ibeno Local Government Area where they had gone for an official engagement to come and carry out the orders of the Governor’s wife.
Our reporter gathered that some of the PDP women faithful on sighting how angry and threatening the Chairman had become started living the hall to gather outside but few others who we gathered are staunch supporters of the woman leader refused to move out of the hall.
Not satisfied by the refusal of the women to leave the premises completely, the Caretaker committee Chairman angrily stormed outside with her police orderly and commanded the women again to leave the vicinity and go home.
Angered by her actions which some of the women described as arrogant and an embarrassment and show of disrespect to the Governor and his wife, a prominent woman leader from Ukpum Minya Clan confronted the Chairlady and informed her that if at all she really has the interest of the party at heart she would not have ended a prayer session offered for the success of the Governor and the entire state because of her personal beef with the Woman leader of the party. She said
“Mma what you are doing is very bad, how could you invite armed police men to the party house for no reason, you and I know that it is very wrong. You have disrespected the Governor and his Wife by sending grassroots women home violently when they are praying.
We are all aware of your problems with the woman leader, which we expect you to settle it amicably and not allow it to divide our party”.
The visibly irked women demanded for transportation fare, it was at this point that the Transition Chairperson ordered them into the hall again and after a short speech, she gave the women 250 Naira each to pay their way home while some went home without getting anything since the money could not get to everyone.
It was latter gathered that the Chapter Woman Leader Hon Ekaette Philip also added huge sum of money to all the Clans to aid in their transportation back home.
Reacting to the allegation that she did not inform the Party hierarchy at the State level about the prayer session, the party woman leader described such stories as well cooked lies. She however admitted that the number of people at the venue exceeded what she expected even as youths and men joined the women as it is the case in political gatherings.
“Just like I said earlier, I informed my boss, the State Woman Leader of the Party, the Chapter Chairman of the Party and even the Eket Senatorial District Chairman about the prayer session. So it is a lie, I informed my superiors before the meeting. Yes the number of people exceeded what I expected but I couldn’t send them away. The party is collectively owned by all of us. I have no powers to tell our women not to join in the prayers. Some youths were there as well though I didn’t invite them”. She concluded.
Meanwhile a cross section of the women who attended the prayer session barred their minds on the incident collectively condemned the manner at which the Council Boss attacked them while praying.
Felicia Etim from Ibiaku Clan described as unacceptable and against the established principles and practice of PDP to bring in Police Officers into the party house to threaten party faithful. She said the Chairman should have just joined them in the prayers and watch out if the organizer had any hidden agenda. But she chose to follow the part of violence.
“This has exposed her weaknesses as a leader and as such she cannot get our support ever again. I have been in this party for more than 12 years; I have never seen women being treated with such disrespect and disdain. When did prayers become a crime? We are sure Her Excellency never sent her to do what she just did”.
Also commenting, Madam Ikpe a renowned woman leader from the area admonished the two to close ranks and work together for the interest of the party.
A prominent woman leader from Ikpa Ikono Clan said that Mkpat Enin women have not been summoned to show their solidarity to the Governor since Lady Usip took over as Transition Chairperson and described the prayer session as a perfect avenue to use in sending message to the Governor and his wife.
“Each time the chairperson says there is no money as such she cannot host women of the Local Government. Today somebody thought it wise to use her office and gather us to pray for the Governor and our Mother; people came from angles to stop the noble idea. This was an opportunity to show the governor and wife that we love them and we appreciate their efforts to develop our Local Government but our dear chairperson said no and stopped us. We wonder who she is working for”.
Another woman, a Ward Executive member, said what happened at the party house was not healthy for the PDP especially now that the opposition party are doing everything possible to capture the Local Government Area come 2019.
The event had 10 ward women leaders, women stakeholders from the 14 wards, not less than 50 women from each wards youths and some elders in attendance.



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