Aggrieved Akwa-Ibom 22 guber aspirants deny holding meeting with Buhari

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The 22 aggrieved aspirants who participated in the Akwa Ibom State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary election have denied having a meeting with the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) or any of his representatives.

The group of aspirants, known as G22, was on Tuesday accused of planning to meet with Buhari in order to defect to APC.

But the group, in a statement jointly signed by the aggrieved aspirants, said the allegation was fashioned to discredit them as loyal party men by the same people that have denied them and Akwa Ibom people a free and fair primary election.

The group also stated that their only request from the PDP leadership was for the party to redeem its credibility by nullifying the outcome of the December 8 exercise in the state, which they described as “fraudulent, not transparent and a violation of the party’s rule on accreditation of delegates.”

The aspirants however, vowed not to be blackmailed or intimidated into jettisoning their legitimate quest for fair play, equity and justice in a democratic setting that ought to be rooted in fundamental human rights to fair hearing.

According to the statement, “While having meetings with any individual or interest group is within our legitimate rights, and something that would not be thrown away in a hurry, we as faithful members of the PDP remain hopeful that the party will show leadership and responsibility in ensuring that grievances of its members are always expeditiously addressed and policy of inclusiveness pursued in the overall interest of the party, essentially in an election period like this.”

The aggrieved aspirants had immediately after the December 8 governorship primary election in the state have been protesting the outcome of the election.

According to a source close to one of the aspirants, the group last week held a meeting with the governor of the state, Godswill Akpabio, who urged them to accept the result of the controversial primary but the aspirants turned down his request.

The group also disclosed that before the meeting with Akpabio, that the group had also sent petitions to both the party leadership and President Goodluck Jonathan, stating reasons they rejected the primary election.

The group also alleged that accreditation of delegates was done inside the government house and not at the venue of the exercise thereby denying their agents access to the venue since they were not accredited, adding that delegates were not given ballot papers in the public glare.

According to the aspirants, “already marked ballot papers were given to the delegates outside the venue to just dropped in the ballot boxes.”

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