The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Akwa Ibom State chapter on Monday conducted its local government primary election to elect chairmanship candidates for the party, ahead of the October 31, local government elections in the State.
The primaries were generally adjudged peaceful due to the adoption of consensus candidates in most local government areas, except in Ibiono Ibom and Nsit Atai where there were pockets of protest due to alleged imposition of candidates on the people.
For Ibiono Ibom, correspondent who interacted with delegates who were still waiting at the venue even after every other LGA had concluded theirs was informed by a delegate who craved anonymity that there was a strong power play by some key party men in the area.
It was gathered that an incumbent senator who had been pushing for a consensus candidate for the area came to the venue of the election at the Christ the Kings School located at Wellington Bassey way, Uyo, and announced to the people that Ibiono Ibom have adopted the incumbent Chairman as consensus candidate and his Vice and only opponent to return as Vice.
But, the majority of the delegates, who were still awaiting materials for voting insisted on an election. The delegates vowed to resist any form of imposition from anyone.
According to one of the delegates who pleaded anonymity, “The Senator came here and took away the delegates’ list. He wants the incumbent Chairman to return but we are insisting on an election. Let both of them stand election to give room for a popular candidate to emerge”.
The Returning officer for the Local Government Area, Barr Ime Okon, when contacted, however, said the process was ongoing as the people were awaiting instruction from the party before commencement of the exercise.
“We are waiting for instructions from the party. There are issues to be sorted out with the party, but I strongly believe we will still have a peaceful exercise,” he said.
In Nsit Atai, it was reported that the member representing the constituency in the State House of Assembly, Mark Esset was abducted. But the incumbent Chairman and aspirant debunked the rumour saying that such never happened but was a ploy by detractors to raise false alarm and create an atmosphere of fear and violence.
Earlier, the Party State Chairman, Hon. Udo Ekpenyong had announced the party’s preparedness to conduct a peaceful and transparent election, saying the party had met all the requirements necessary for peaceful and orderly congresses.
Ekpenyong told newsmen that the leadership of the party ensured that due process was thoroughly followed in line with the provisions of the Party’s constitution and would sanction perpetrators of violent acts during the primaries.
To minimise tension therefore, the party had earlier announced an arrangement to hold the congresses for some volatile Councils at strategic locations within Uyo, including Uyo Sports Stadium to ensure close security attention.