There was stalemate on Monday during the party primary of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) for the forthcoming Local Government election in the state. The stalemate over the nomination of the party’s candidate in Ibiono Ibom and Nsit Atai LGAs created confusion and controversy amongst members of the public over the real outcome of the exercise.
For Ibiono Ibom, Christ The King School (CKS), Barracks Road, Uyo witnessed an avalanche of security personnel as they literally outnumbered the delegates from the area. Ibiono Ibom was one of the flashpoints of the congress which informed the party’s decision to take the exercise from Ibiono Ibom headquarters to Uyo.
While the nomination process for Ibeno and Uyo which shared same venue with Uyo was going smoothly, that of Ibiono Ibom didn’t take place but drama ensued in the process.
Our correspondent reports that few minutes pass noon, the state chairman of the party, Obong Udo Ekpenyong arrived the venue and was followed moments after by the Chairman of the LG Election Committee of the party, Hon. Pat Ifon. Ifon who is Eket Fed Reps entered the party chair’s vehicle and sat with him at the back while the driver was excused for the purpose of privacy of their discussion. Few minutes after, Senator Bassey Albert approached the vehicle and entered the front passenger side of the car and discussed with the duo of Pat and Udo for some minutes. According to our correspondent, the senator later wound down the glass of the car and signaled his Personal Assistant named Bassey who approached him and handed copies of the communique endorsing Ekom to him. Few minutes after discussing with the duo of Udo and Pat, the senator alighted from the vehicle, grabbed the microphone and announced that Ekomabasi has been adopted as the consensus candidate for Ibiono Ibom by the state leadership of the party.
Celebration erupted in OBA’s camp as he, Ekomabasi and delegates loyal to them later dispersed.
Few minutes later, live videos emerged on Facebook from the camp of the incumbent Vice Chairman, Dominic Udoatan who is pushing to dethrone his boss, Ekomabasi Akpan as chairman. According to the videos monitored by TheMail Newspaper, the celebration was led by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Comrade Ini Ememobong. Ememobong is in support of Udoatan alongside over 100 delegates.
According to a delegate who is supporting Udoatan, though they have adopted the Vice Chairman as their preferred chairmanship candidate, OBA’s man – Ekomabasi was not declared winner.
“What OBA did at CKS and the announcement of Ekomabasi as winner on social media platforms are all but a ruse. Effiong Ebong who was the returning officer had started reading the names of delegates from the authentic list, moments later OBA grabbed the list from him and put inside his pocket, saying that Ekom has been adopted as the consensus candidate. It is not true. OBA is employing the name-dropping tactics and it won’t work. He is saying that Udo Ekpenyong has accepted their communique adopting Ekom as the sole candidate. That’s pure lie. Leaders in our camp have spoken to the party hierarchy and the leadership of the party has told all the delegates to write their names in the result sheet and submit at the party secretariat. There was no election, no consensus candidate, and Ekom never emerged as winner”, said a delegate sympathetic to Udoatan.
Meanwhile, in a communique obtained by TheMail on Monday night, delegates supporting Udoatan declared that the Vice Chairman of Council was “elected” as the chairmanship candidate of the party in Ibiono Ibom. The communique was signed by well over 100 delegates from the LGA.
“The following resolutions were passed during the Local Government Congress to elect the Chairmanship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area held on 24th August, 2020 at Christ the King Primary School, Wellington Bassey Way, Uyo:
“Rt. Hon. (Engr.) Dominic Udoatan was unanimously elected by the delegates present as the Chairmanship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming Local Government elections.
“The delegates praised the leader of the Party, HE Deacon Udom Emmanuel and the State Chairman of the Party, Hon. Udo Ekpenyong for providing a peaceful environment for the conduct of the Local Government Congress and pledged their continued loyalty to the Party”, reads the communique.
Meanwhile, for Nsit Atai, many woke up on Monday morning to see social media reports of a purported arrest of Mark Esset, the Member Representing Nsit Atai State Constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. The report which indicted incumbent Council boss, Lady Emem Ibanga as the mastermind of the “abduction” also stated that delegates supporting Samuel Bassey Nyong were arrested in their camp in Eket by police officers led by Idorenyin Akpabio.
Samuel Nyong is the candidate supported by Mark Esset and Commissioner Raphael Bassey. It could be recalled that after the screening, the first list of cleared candidates saw Emem Ibanga’s name as the sole candidate. But after the appeal committee sat, the final list of cleared candidates in Nsit Atai had the names of both Emem and Samuel. It is believed that Mark Esset who was a member of the Appeal committee pushed for another aspirant to be cleared to stand election against his political arch-enemy, Emem Ibanga.
In the same vein, Emem Ibanga had refuted reports that she is the brain behind the purported abduction of Mark Esset.
“My attention has been drawn to a rumour of alleged abduction of the Member representing Nsit Atai Local Government Area in the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly, Rt.Hon. Mark Esset and some purported delegates for the local government Chairmanship Congress scheduled for today.
“Let it be known that it is not part of me to dignify purveyors of falsehood with replies, but I urge the good people of Nsit Atai local government area and the right thinking members of the public to disregard such news on abduction of anybody. The aim of peddlers of this falsehood is to create an aura of crisis and confusion in order to deter the peace loving PDP delegates from coming to exercise their right.
“Let me make it clear that any approach adopted to mar the success of PDP Chapter Congress or sustainability of democracy in Nsit Atai will be lawfully prevented and summarily dismissed. I am Emem, I stand for peace”, Lady Ibanga said via a statement personally signed by her.
A source from Mark’s camp told TheMail on Monday morning that what was reported is true and that he would have been picked up too had he slept in his house. He said Mark and the delegates were only released on Monday morning after being arrested in the wee hours of same day.
Mark later showed up at the Uyo Township Stadium, venue for the exercise with his supporters and delegates. Our correspondent reports that election did not take place as the exercise ended in a stalemate.
While those in Emem’s camp say that their principal has emerged as the winner of the exercise, those in Mark’s camp say the primary for Nsit Atai has been shifted to a yet to be announced date.