The zoning arrangement released by the Akwa Ibom State Executive Committee of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 general elections is causing a lot of unease in the state, a predominantly PDP state.
The are growing fears that if the party fails to contain the deepening acrimony thrown up by the bended zoning arrangement, it might witnessed so much protest votes at the polls.
Apparently worried, the State Legal Adviser of PDP, Akpadiaha Sunday Ebitu, is protesting against zoning. This is contained in a statement by Dr. Joshua Ndoho, the Director General of Akpadiaha’s Campaign Organisation.
The PDP legal chief is running for the House of Representatives. He is seeking to represent Eket Federal Constituency in 2023.
His campaign organization says it received the resolutions of the State Working Committee of PDP as affecting their Federal Constituency with shock and wishes to state the position of the campaign team unequivocally.
“We reiterate that as committed and responsible members of the PDP : we are not out to confront our Party but to point out the truth while remembering the words of Usman Dan Fodio that “ Conscience is an open wound, only the truth can heal it.
“The truth here is that: zoning though not constitutional is not against our tenets but we reject the recent zoning arrangement as it is done at the wrong time, hence it is not democratic since it is ill timed and probably ill conceived with the dire consequences of impending disenfranchisement of some of the aspirants.
“We see the zoning at the wrong time as being tantamount to shifting goal posts during football competitions which is absurd, ridiculous and impracticable. Our Party is known at the National Level as being accommodating and because of trying to avoid disaffection due to wrong timing for zoning has jettisoned zoning for the highest elective position in the Party (President).
“This we believe is because the National Working Committee of the Party is conscious of the needs of being united while preparing for the general elections. We are therefore, pleading with the leadership and the State Working Committee of our party to allow all those who have bought and returned the Nomination Forms in our Federal Constituency and other parts of the State to go to the field and whoever emerges after the primary elections should be accepted as party flag bearers for the contested positions.
“Anything short of this shall be seen as oppressive. The words of Frantz Fanon which are ringing in our ears and apt till now The future will have no pity for those who, possessing the exceptional privilege of being able to speak words of truth to their oppressors have taken refuge in an attitude of passivity, of mute indifference, and sometimes cold complicity”, the organization said.
Continuing, it adds, Ebitu is not withdrawing from the race and that we are appealing to the leadership of PDP in Akwa Ibom and the State Working Committee not to be seen as oppressors but as democrats that we are in the PDP, by re-considering the zoning arrangement recently circulated.
‘’Akpadiaha Sunday Ebitu (BASE) Campaign Team has been working assiduously since 2020 in order to change the narratives in the representation of Eket/ ONNA/ Esit Eket/ Ibeno Federal Constituency by ensuring that Ebitu emerges as the flag bearer of the Federal Constituency in the forthcoming primary elections in the platform of PDP.
“BASE has sacrificed enormous financial and other resources for more than two years now and he has secured the confidence and support of so many members and delegates in PDP because of his antecedents, capacity, competence, philanthropic nature, altruism, pedigree, humility, experience and above all, as a loyal party man.’’
In a statement dated April 21, 2022, PDP State Chairman, Aniekan Akpan, announced the official position of Akwa Ibom PDP on the zoning and rotation of offices for the 2023 elections. According to him, the State Working Committee of the party, at its meeting held on April 19, 2022, reviewed the cogent issue of zoning in line with the consensus opinions gleaned from stakeholders of the party.
‘’The State Working Committee re-emphasized that the Governorship position for Akwa Ibom State has been zoned to Uyo Senatorial District. The Committee reaffirmed the gratitude of the Party to members from the two other Senatorial Districts for not making any move to indicate their interest to aspire for the position of Governor in the 2023 elections.”
He said the party noted with humongous appreciation that this respect for what has now become the entrenched arrangement for the rotation of the Seat of the Governor amongst the three (3) Senatorial Districts in Akwa Ibom, will serve as a valid precedent for future elections in the State.
The committee further noted that this will further strengthen the party, embolden each senatorial district to wait for their turn, reinforce the sense of inclusion of members from all Senatorial Districts within the party, and also deepen the taproot of the PDP in Akwa Ibom State.
It also affirmed the earlier position of the State Exco of the Party distilled from the PDP Federal Constituency Tour on the zoning of the Senatorial Seats for the three (3) Senatorial Districts in the State as follows:
Eket zoned to Ikot Abasi Federal Constituency; Uyo zoned to Uyo Federal Constituency; and Ikot Ekpene zoned to Abak Federal Constituency.
The PDP chief claimed that the party resolved that seats for House of Representatives across the10 Federal Constituencies in the state be zoned as follows: Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency: Zoned to Abak L.G.A; Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Federal Constituency: Zoned to Ukanafun L.G.A.; and Ikot Abasi/Mkpat Enin/Eastern Obolo Federal Constituency: Zoned to Ikot Abasi L.G.A.
Eket Federal Constituency: Zoned to Ibeno L.G.A.; Uyo Federal Constituency: Zoned to Nsit Atai /Ibesikpo Asutan L.G.As.; Ikot Ekpene Federal Constituency: Zoned to Obot Akara L.G.A.; Itu/Ibiono Ibom Federal Constituency: Zoned to Ibiono Ibom L.G.A.; Oron Federal Constituency: Zoned to Oron/Udung Uko L.G.A; Ikono/INI Federal Constituency: Zoned to INI L.G.A and Etinan Federal Constituency: Concessioned to Etinan L.G.A