Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has started making backstage moves to douse the political fire in the state as tensions grow over the seeming nasty power games in the state.
Udom who is also running for the presidential ticket of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says he will soon constitute a reconciliation panel to assuage aggrieved party chieftains during primaries in the state.
The reconciliation bid is coming amid boycotts, protests, petitions and complaints as three senatorial candidates of the party emerged against the run of play allegedly, for the 2023 elections.
Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Aniekan Bassey , will be contesting for the Uyo Senatorial District seat, the immediate past National Legal Adviser of PDP, Emmanuel Enoidem, for that of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, and Ekong Sampson, a hotelier, for the Eket Senatorial District seat.
The speaker clinched the ticket after two opponents withdrew from the primaries. On his part, Enoidem pulled a total of 329 votes from 334 accredited delegates across 10 local government areas in the district to emerge as flag bearer.
A breakdown of delegates from wards in the senatorial district comprised of Ika local government area 31, Ikot Ekpene 34, Abak 34, Ini 31, Essien Udim 34, Etim Ekpo 31, Oruk Anam 40, Obot Akara 31, Ukanafun 34 while Ikono local government area had 34 delegates.
Sampson however pulled a total 368 votes to win the ticket, while the member representing Eket Federal Constituency, Patrick Ifon, scored one vote, and Francis Uduyok representing Ikot Abasi , Mkpat Enin and Eastern Obolo Federal Constituency scored 11 votes
At Mbiabong Ikot Udofia in Ini Local Government Area of the state, three persons were allegedly killed in at the state House of Assembly and House of Representatives primaries. There was a clash between the thugs of two aspirants contesting for Federal House of Representatives.
A police officer at Ini Divisional Police station said thugs loyal to one of the aspirants killed someone from the rival camp and the opposing camp retaliated with two.
Though Spokesman for Akwa Ibom Police Command, Odiko Macdon, a Superintendent of Police is yet to confirm the killings, some aggrieved PDP players who objected to Governor Udom’s choice of his successor, boycotted the primaries.
Those who boycotted the primaries are currently in court challenging the conduct of the April 30 ward congresses of the party. According to them, the ongoing PDP primaries in the state are illegal and a violation of a Federal High Court Abuja ruling.
From Awa, Udom’s country home in Onna Local Government Area, the governor declared that there are no divisions or camps in the state PDP, adding that he was satisfied with the conduct of the House of Assembly and Houseof Representatives primaries in the state.
Governor Udom’s former Chief of Staff, Ephraim Inyangeyen, withdrew from participating in the exercise that was conducted at the Special Protection Unit Base 27 of Nigeria Police Force in Onna council area.
The emerged candidate for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, Enoidem said he was exceedingly happy to have the total votes from the Electoral College: “I’m going to treasure this for the rest of my life. I know I am going to the Senate because nobody who has ever gotten the PDP Senatorial ticket has ever lost and I am not going to break that protocol.”
He has extended an olive branch to his opponents stating that PDP is a large family that is big enough to accommodate all. Other contestants for the senatorial district included Dr Saviour Enyiekere, Akan Eyo, Odoro Edwin and Inibehe Okori.
Inyangeyen who bought the senate nomination form for Eket Senatorial District, pulled out of the contest in protest of what he described as contempt of court.
“I am in possession of an enrolled order of Court wherein it pronounced that PDP which I am a member should maintain status quo ante bellum in a case involving whether or not the contentious issue of adhoc delegates be used for the election of flag bearers of the party for the forthcoming general elections”, he said
In the meantime, Inibehe Okori says he has petitioned the Chairman of PDP National Assembly- Senate Primary Election Committee for AKwa Ibom, Edward Ayo Odugbesan, a lawyer, alleging non participation in the exercise.
In a statement, Okori said his refusal to participate in the senatorial primaries in the state was predicated on Abuja High court ruling in a matter instituted Friday Iwok and others that was said to be delivered on May 18, directing parties to maintain status quo ante pending determination of the substantive suit on ad-hoc delegates election in the state.
PDP State Chairman, Aniekan Akpan, said there was no official report received with regards to the conduct of the exercise in the state, arguing that the party in the state has carried out all the instructions by National Working Committee of the party in the adding that the exercise has no flaw in the state.
“In AKwa Ibom, we work on the directive of National Working Committee. AKwa Ibom is PDP and PDP is AKwa Ibom”, he said
For Governor Udom, all aggrieved aspirants who are not comfortable with the conduct of the primaries as stipulated by law, will be pacified through the reconciliation panel that will be inaugurated soon
He, however, observed that the amended Electoral Act has disqualified him as the governor and leader of the party from voting and urged the aspirants to accept the result of the primaries in good faith .
“I decided to obey the rules of the electoral act that disqualified me from being a delegate, I refused to go nearer to the venue. I have come to understand that whatever comes our way is the act of God, we can’t blame anyone.
“Akwa Ibom is PDP and PDP is Akwa Ibom, I hope to immediately set up a reconciliation committee for those of us feeling aggrieved that probably the process today did not favour them, it’s an act of God and there’s nothing anyone can do about it, No one in this country saw this coming, so we must take it the way we have seen it, so the committee will reconcile and bring them back together”, the governor said.
Candidates nominated for the House of Representatives in Akwa Ibom are: Uyo/ Nsit Atai/Ibesikpo Asutan/Uruan, Mark Esset; Ikot Abasi/ Mkpat Enin/ Eastern Obolo, Uduak Odudoh; Oron/Udung Uko/Urue Offong/ Okobo, Martin Esin; and Eket/Esit Eket/Onna/Ibeno, Okpolupm Okpolupm Etteh
Others are Ukanafun/Oruk Anam, Unyime Idem; Abak/Ika/Etim Ekpo, Aniekan Umana; Etinan/Nsit Ubium/Nsit Ibom, Paul Ekpo; Ikono/Ini – Dr Glory Edet; Ikot Ekpene/Obot Akara/Essien Udim , Idongesit Ntekpere; and Itu/Ibiono Ibom, Ime Okon