…how he ordered Udo Ekpenyong to cancel meeting of PDP chapters, wards executives convened by Onofiok
Ahead of the 2023 gubernatorial election, Governor Udom Emmanuel has intensified his “war” on former Speaker of the state legislature, Rt. Hon. (Barr) Onofiok Luke. The latest attempt by the governor and his men to politically cripple Onofiok is evidenced in the recent abrupt cancellation of the meeting of PDP Chapters, Wards executives in Etinan Federal Constituency convened by the House of Representatives member.
Some of the executive members of PDP wards and chapters in the three LGAs that make up Etinan Federal Constituency told TheMail that fortnight ago, Onofiok had convened the meeting through the Chapter Chairmen of Etinan, Nsit Ubium and Nsit Ibom LGAs.
“Messages for the meeting were circulated to exco members by Chapter chairmen, ward chairmen and Publicity Secretaries. The messages were sent on Tuesday November 17 notifying the party excos of a meeting with the MP 2 days later (Thursday) in his house at his village, Ikot Etekpo. But late night on Wednesday, we received a counter information from our chairmen that we should stand down”, said a source who is a chapter executive.
TheMail learnt authoritatively that when the information for the meeting was sent out, the governor was informed about it and he immediately ordered the State Chairman of the party (PDP), Hon. Udo Ekpenyong to make sure nobody attends the meeting.
“You know, we the members of the exco of the party at ward and chapter levels were nominated by different stakeholders in the party. We are directly loyal to these stakeholders who nominated us. So when we got the text, we had to inform those who nominated us. I learnt some of the stakeholders in turn took the message to the governor, probably telling him that Onofiok is planning to hijack the party structure ahead of the 2022 guber primary”, said another source from Nsit Ubium.
Sources in Government House informed TheMail that those who told the governor about the planned meeting sold a dummy to him that Onofiok is making moves to hijack the party structure in his federal constituency.
Ward chairmen, Vice Chairmen, Secretary, Youth Leader, Woman Leader are all automatic delegates for the PDP governorship primary. At the chapter level, all members of the exco are delegates.
Onofiok Luke was the chairman of Governor Emmanuel’s media committee for the latter’s re-election in 2019. Top sources in government and the 6th assembly confirmed to TheMail that when he served as Speaker of the state assembly, he had clashes and many disagreements with the governor. Immediately after the governor’s victory at the 2019 election, the relationship between the duo became more strained with reports suggesting that the governor won’t support him (Onofiok) for the governorship election.
The governor is believed to be uncomfortable with the possibility of Senator Bassey Albert or Onofiok Luke (both grassroots politicians with large following in the state) grabbing the PDP ticket and emerging his successor in 2023.
Top sources in government told our correspondent last weekend that the governor and the ‘system’ will do everything to make sure that the neither OBA nor Onofiok emerges at the governor come 2023.