Some delegates for the May 21, 2022 primary elections of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Akwa Ibom State, have raised the alarm over alleged plot by the party to relocate the venue for the exercise from the usual Uyo Township Stadium to Army barracks Ibagwa in Abak council area of state.
The delegates described the move as unacceptable, a threat to democracy as well as a plot by the state government to disenfranchise perceived dissidents to their preferred aspirant.
Rising from a meeting held at Unique Gardens Ewet Housing Estate, Uyo on Tuesday, Mr. John Etefit, one of the statutory delegates, accused the state government of being desirous to impose its anointed aspirant on the party by forcing members to take the primaries to Ibagwa barracks.
He said, “After fruitless efforts to get most of us to support the aspiration of Pastor Umo Eno, hit a brick wall, subtle and open threats have been employed which we resisted and now the idea of taking the primaries to the barracks birthed.
We were told by core supporters of the government preferred aspirant that their final joker is the barracks where only their supporters will be allowed access and others supporting other aspirants turned back and if they insist on getting in, then soldiers will be directed to unleash mayhem on them.”
Another statutory delegate, Mr Asuquo Ekanem, from Oruk Anam council area, lamented that democracy is fully under threat in the state alleging that “government is no longer appealing or lobbying us to accept their aspirant but asking us to wait and see if we will even have access to the venue, we were informed that we will hear our names mentioned but accreditation tags will be given to their men on ground and there is nothing we will do about it.”
Other delegates, who spoke with journalists at the end of the meeting, appealed to human rights groups, international community and other related bodies to turn their searchlight to Akwa Ibom state, “as the primaries may set the once peaceful state on fire and unprecedented carnage”.
Another delegate, Aniefiok Ekefre said, “Any venue outside the Uyo Township Stadium is not acceptable to us. It must be one man one vote at the primaries, let the popular and acceptable aspirant emerge. They told us that their preferred aspirant is the God’s choice for Akwa Ibom people, why arm-twisting the same people to embrace God’s choice? Akwa Ibom people are now wiser and ready to change the narratives, there will be no third term by surrogate and we are not leaving the party for opportunists.”
They further vowed to embark on mass protest and to petition the national secretariat of the party should the planned relocation of the governorship primaries to the barracks considered by the state chapter of the party hold.
However, the PDP state Publicity Secretary, Mr Borono Bassey, when contacted by our correspondent, said the matter is still in the realms of speculation.
We are yet to decide on the venue for the primaries and so whatever you heard is purely speculation by outsiders at this moment. When the venue is released, we will communicate to members of the public,” Bassey said.