Against the backdrop of activities leading to the forthcoming primaries for election of Councilorship candidates on 19th August, 2020 in Akwa Ibom State, members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Odio, Eket, have taken to the streets to warn Hon. Sunny Inyang Akpadiaha to desist from attempts to impose his cousin on Ward V (now VII) Central, Eket.

In a spate of protests held in Odio and Eket yesterday, protesters denounced Akpadiaha’s decision to singlehandedly select his cousin, Smith Udo Johnny as the sole candidate for the election, insisting the process must respect the PDP’s guidelines for primaries.

In an unusual but urgent meeting called in his country home, Odio, at the weekend, Mr. Akpadiaha, who recently lost his job as the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission, coerced members of the party leadership in the ward to accept the choice of his cousin. Surrounded by stern looking policemen fully armed in which he hired for the occasion, Hon. Akpadiaha who is the ward leader, chose to go beserk, against the party rules and guidelines for the primaries which stipulate that free and fair primaries should hold in all wards, forced members of the party to accept the meeting as the primaries for the election of a Councilorship candidate, alleging that the Eket PDP Chapter Chairman, Obongiwaad Emmanuel Mbong sent him to conduct primaries at the weekend.

Unsatisfied with such explanations, the party members protested against holding party primaries at the weekend and in his house, against the timetable of PDP and in a manner contrary to the party guidelines for election, especially as there were no representatives from the party and the Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission (AKSIEC) as stipulated by the election guidelines.

The protests soon got to Eket, where the chapter headquarters became the protests ground but curiously the Chapter Chairman who was intimated about the protests, was unavailable to address the crowd.

Protesters who were armed with placards with different messages denouncing the attempts by Hon. Akpadiaha to truncate the peace and tranquility of Odio by imposing an unpopular candidate on the people, appealed to the Chapter Chairman not to allow such illegality attempted by Hon. Akpadiaha. Protesters insisted that the primaries must be free and fair. They voiced anger against the ward leader for descending so low to compromise the electoral process and using the police to intimate party members. Protesters, led by some party elders, called on the party to intervene.

Odio has a subsisting zonal arrangement that favours a family that has not yet produced a candidate, Idung Otuwak, which had also unanimously supported the candidacy of Itohowo Ebito for the election. But unfortunately, Akpadiaha was noticed working covertly to pervert the zoning structure.

Mr. Ebito who was seen at the party office told our correspondent at Eket that Hon. Akpadiaha chose not to take the popular opinions of the people of the Ward into consideration but was frantically making moves to impose his cousin on the party, against the wish of the people.

He stated that Akpadiaha’s family has produced two Councilors including his late brother, and it was wrong for him to discountenance the zonal arrangement of the party in the ward to impose his cousin on the people.

Ebito called on the party leadership in the local government and the state to call Hon. Akpadiaha to order and warn him to stop using the police to intimidate the people from expressing their will in a free and fair election on Wednesday 19 August, 2020.

Meanwhile, the people of the Ward have appealed to the party and AKSIEC to conduct the primaries at the Ward on Wednesday and reject the sham arrangement organised by Hon. Akpadiaha at the weekend.

Quest News 24

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