Member representing Esit Eket/Ibeno State Constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Dr Usoro Akpanusoh, a stakeholder and principal officer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has expressed displeasure over the recently conducted Ward and Chapter Congresses of the party in Esit Eket Local Government Area, saying the purported exercise “promoted everything except peace, cohesion and internal democracy in clear violation of the spirit of our party.”
Dr Akpanusoh, himself a statutory member of the Congress Coordinating Committee for Esit Eket, has further called for the cancellation of the exercise in the Local Government, adding that aspirants were denied the purchase of Nomination Forms and were equally prevented from participating in the exercise.
In a petition to the State Chairman of the Party, Obong Paul Ekpo, the Assemblyman said “I am informed that forms meant for Akwa Ibom State were obtained by a single individual so as to subvert the nomination processes for selfish reasons. I am further informed that subsequently, selected individuals were clandestinely invited and issued already filled nomination forms for the Congresses. This is clearly against the provisions of Section 10 (a), particularly (f) of PDP Guidelines for the Conduct of Ward, LGA, State, Zonal Congresses and National Convention of the party 2020.”
He stressed that the act was a complete abuse of the party’s constitutional process and procedure, maintaining that “The need for individual aspirants to obtain nomination forms as required by the Guidelines is to guard against imposition and subversion of the wishes of the majority. A situation where all forms for a State end up on the table of one person, spells doom for internal democracy of our party.”
Dr Akpanusoh, a two-term lawmaker, further explained that the directive of the National Executive Council of PDP, during its 88th meeting, “is without equivocation.”
“As a corollary, records would however show that since there was no sale of forms to aspirants from Akwa Ibom State, there could not have been screening of aspirants in Akwa Ibom State. I am fairly certain that there is no evidence anywhere to indicate that payments were made by aspirants/nominees into dedicated party Bank Account for forms purchased for Congresses into party offices in Akwa Ibom State,”” he said.
“In furtherance of this shameful enterprise, specifically, Barr Bassey Dan-Abia Jnr, who was the Secretary of the Local Government Congress Coordinating Committee for Esit Eket LGA, a recent returnee from the All Progressive Congress (APC), was also actively involved in campaigning and championing the cause of “anointed candidates” in the Congresses. In fact, he also participated in the shambolic exercise and queued up behind a candidate openly indicating quite clearly that he had taken sides and yet by virtue of Section 3.5 of the Guidelines, he was meant to be the Chief Collation Officer.”
“On March 21, 2020, when the Chapter Congress was scheduled to take place, there was spontaneous protest from majority of members of party who were also excluded from participating in the exercise. The protest led to the abrupt postponement of the Congress. On March 23, 2020, I received reports of the rescheduling of the botched Chapter Congresses for 10.00am on 23/03/2020. In order to subvert the will of the majority of party members, heavy security presence allegedly drawn from FSARS, Police Mobile Force (PMF) and Nigerian Army with the tacit support of Government House security were drafted in to intimidate and manhandle Party members. Many were beaten up, brutalized and hospitalized. Others had their phones and recording devices damaged or confiscated just to implement a sham Congress.”
“As I write, even with the suspension of further Congress activities in Akwa Ibom State in particular, news is rife that certain individuals have already been screened and issued with certificates of Clearance for State Offices of our party even without purchasing forms or attending screening exercise of any kind. Again, let me reiterate that there was/is no sale of nomination forms as clearly required under Section 10.0 and 16.0 A, B and C of the Guidelines made pursuant to Section 49(3) of the 2017 Constitution (as amended) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The foregone are all against the spirit of internal democracy of our party and I am concerned as a faithful party man that this state of affairs may lead to unrest by members of the party who are already disillusioned by this brigandage perpetrated in the party in Akwa Ibom State. My desire is to by all means possible discourage and avoid litigation,” he stressed.
However, Obong Ekpo has refused to speak on the issue as he neither took nor returned calls and text messages from our reporter.