A frontline governorship aspirant in Akwa Ibom State, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan has raised concerns over alleged move by the State government and some officials of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to harass, intimidate and cajole the statutory delegates of the party by threatening them with illegal sanctions.
The Director-General, DG, of Senator Akpan’s campaign organisation, Akwa Ubok Abasi campaign organisation, Archbishop Andrew Uwanta disclosed this on Thursday, in a press conference held at the campaign secretariat, Edet Akpan Avenue, Uyo, the State capital.
Uwanta noted that such ugly trend started after Governor Udom Emmanuel presented Pastor Umo Eno as the preferred candidate to succeed him in 2023.
He further noted that the State government and some party officials have resorted to using intimidation and threats as a strategy to cajole delegates into voting Pastor Eno at the primaries, adding that such move was a clear case of abuse of office which has its penalties, according to the PDP guidelines.
Uwanta enumerated the illegal sanctions delegates were being threatened within the party to include, delisting, suspension and to prevent them from participating in voting at party primary elections, of which they are legitimate delegates, describing such action as irrational, unconstitutional and null and void.
He added that such action would not only polarize the party which would have a negative impact on the success of the party in 2023 but would infringe on the inalienable rights of the members
He, however, called for free, fair and credible primaries according to the party’s constitution, stressing that all aspirants should be allowed to test their popularity before the delegates without any form of intimidation by government and some party officials.
According to the statement, “The recent and ugly activities of some Akwa Ibom State government and party officials, calling meetings, as well as reaching out to some party members, mostly statutory delegates to direct them against freely associating with other members of the party and also threatening and intimidating them with violent and illegal sanctions, such as delisting, suspension and prevention from participating in voting at party primary election of which they are legitimate delegates is unfortunate, irrational, unconstitutional, null and void.”
While warning those behind the intimidation to stop or risk appropriate sanctions in line with the provisions of (Section 59(1) of the Party’s Constitution, Uwanta encouraged delegates to ignore the threats and continue in their lawful and loyal activities to promote an egalitarian society founded on freedom, equality and justice.
Reacting to a question on the possibility of Akpan dumping the PDP, Uwanta insisted that as a founding member of the party, Senator Akpan who is the foremost guber aspirant in the party, has no plan of defecting to another party to actualize his ambition.
“We are contesting in the PDP and we will win the primaries in PDP. Such an attempt was made in 2007 to impose an aspirant on the PDP and it failed woefully. The people know who they want. The people of Akwa Ibom will decide their fate,” he said.
2023 guber: Akwa Ibom Govt threatening delegates with illegal sanctions – Senator Akpan cries out