Fears Over Possibility Of Annulling Akwa Ibom April 30 PDP Ward Congress

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By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo


Fear of impending annulment of the just concluded Ad-hoc Delegates’ Congress of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) conducted in Akwa Ibom State appears to be putting the leadership of the party under tension.
This came as the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party in Abuja, has admitted receipt of numerous petitions against the conduct of the exercise, which was allegedly said to have  been marred by widespread irregularities.
The congress was to elect three Adhoc delegates per 329 wards of the state to vote in the next primaries of the party ahead 2023 general elections.
The state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel who by the hierarchy, is the leader of the party is reportedly said to have frequented Abuja after a night long meeting with close confidants to lobby NWC, a source at the Wadata Plaza has disclosed.
The source said, the case with Akwa Ibom State is peculiar, troubling and most disturbing as petitioners alleged that a serving Senator, serving National Assembly members and a former Senator who is a former National spokesperson of the party and many others were all schemed out. 
He said, these developments and more worry the party, who holds the believe that should those aggrieved persons pull out of the party with their supporters, the PDP in Akwa Ibom State will crumble and the party may lose the state to the opposition APC who is rampaging by the day.
It was learnt that the Iyorchia Ayu-led NWC of the party is not leaving any stone unturned as they seek an end to the looming war within her ranks and file in the party in Akwa Ibom State.
Another source in the PDP National Secretariat who spoke to our reporter on grounds of anonymity said, a man who was identified as Senator Anietie Okon is in the forefront of the cancellation of the adhoc delegates election. 
“With the overwhelming evidence of electoral malpractices, it is obvious the party may pull the rug under the feet of the state leadership of the party”, the source added.
Meanwhile, as part of his efforts to ensure that the adhoc delegates election stands, Governor Udom Emmanuel has jetted out of the State to hold crucial talks with the leadership of the party. 
The governor, it was learnt, rose from a meeting late night of Tuesday with members of his inner caucus, including Emmanuel Enoidem and Uwemedimo Nwko, SAN, where the idea of meeting with the NWC Chairman of the party  was agreed upon. 
Sources from the Akwa Ibom State Government House further confided that the PDP feared the adhoc delegates election may be canceled as evidence of a proper election is unavailable.
Meanwhile, an arena of rejection has continued to trail the conduct of the exercise which many stakeholders in the state have described as a show of shame to the party.
Recall on Monday, a group of youth led a peaceful protest to the state Secretariat of the PDP at Atan Offot, Uyo to lay their complaints over the conduct of the congress in the state.
The protesters, our Correspondent learnt were quickly driven away by a detachment of police force who were drafted to the secretariat to prevent any procession of people to  the area.
When journalists from the national dailies visited the place, they were subjected to serious security checks by armed security personnel mounting the gate and those in stationed Hilux vehicles blocking the access roads to the area.
Correspondents could not speak with the leaders of the protesting youth  as they were chased away by the armed policemen.
But residents of the area who volunteered information, said the protesters came late in the afternoon in their hundreds carrying placards with inscriptions as “We no go gree, we no go gree, we want a fresh free, fair and transparent Ad-hoc delegates primaries, Akwa Ibom must be peaceful now, during and after elections”
Recall also that the exercise which was meant to democratically elect three Ad-hoc delegates for each of the 329 recognised electoral wards in the state was, enmeshed with tension and apprehension as thousands of aspiring adhoc delegates who trooped out with their supporters for the election were stranded in their various PDP offices across the state as no material was seen.
Rather than materials seen for a smooth, fair and transparent conduct of congress at ward centres across the state, the materials were hijacked by agents of few power bloc loyal to government anointed governorship aspirant, Pastor Umo Eno.
Other aspiring delegates opposed to imposition were disenfranchised, thus expressing deep frustration over the development, stressing that the party should be ready to organise fresh election or face legal actions.
It was notable exercise that rather than the state party office located at Atan offot Uyo the state capital, materials meant for the election were shared at Maintain Peace Movement Office at Udo Udoma Office Uyo for movement to different hidden destinations.
Some of disenfranchised aspirants were quoted as alleging, “no single party office across the state has received any material for the election as  they have been diverted to private homes of party chieftains working for MPM”
When contacted, Dr. Usoro I. Usoro, the Spokesman for Akwa UbokAbasi Campaign Organisation, Senator Albert Bassey Akpan’s a.k.a OBA campaign structure, bared his mind.
“Of course, we are not satisfied with the conduct of the polls for the ad hoc delegates. My Principal, Senator Albert Bassey Akpan, already made that clear, when he, along with some other governorship aspirants visited the state secretariat of PDP. 
“The truth is that our supporters, who also bought forms to contest that election were carefully schemed out.
“Every election is a process and not event. So, when the state PDP led by Rt. Hon Aniekan Akpan issued a statement a night to the primary that only duly cleared aspirants will be allowed to contest, the grounds were already prepared to disenfranchise certain aspirants.
“Someone sat somewhere and carefully prepared a list of those supposedly ‘cleared’ aspirants and then they stage-managed a charade of a congress.
“The question is, when was any screening done for aspirants? Who were the members of the panel? When was the panel set up? Where was it announced and how come only aspirants believed to be loyalists of the governor’s preferred aspirant got cleared? Is the state party empowered by law to screen aspirants for ad hoc election?
“In most local government areas of the state, government appointees simply loaded some buses with thugs, drove the same set of people from one location to another and  took pictures of the same persons lining up behind their supposed ‘cleared’ aspirants”, Chief Usoro said.
Worried about what transpired in the state, compared to what  was promised Nigerians by PDP hierarchy in Abuja, Senator Akpan’s Campaign Spokesman said,  “Clearly, what happened during the exercise in Akwa Ibom, as well as the skewed processes that preceded it, went against the new PDP that the national leadership promised Nigerians. 
“The party’s constitution and the electoral law are clear on the processes and conduct of primaries. So, we are not satisfied with what happened yesterday and even the so-called clearance”, he added.

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