Hundreds of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, elders in Akwa Ibom State on Thursday protested against alleged moves by the state Governor, Godswill Akpabio, to further isolate founding fathers of the party.
The party stakeholders, who petitioned the PDP National Secretariat, accused the governor of trying to foist the current Secretary to the State Government, Udom Emmanuel, on the party as its governorship candidate in the 2015 general elections.
They also alleged that prominent members of the party such as former Governor Victor Attah, Don Etiebet and Senator Udo Udoma among others had been sidelined from party affairs.
The petition, which was signed by 60 prominent indigenes of the state, also accused the governor of using family members and loyalists to run the party.
Copies of the protest letter which were sent to President Goodluck Jonathan, the Tony Anenih-led Board of Trustees of the PDP and journalists, warned that the party might suffer a disastrous outing in the 2015 elections if steps were not taken to address the issue of factionalisation of the party by the governor.
They also accused the state governor of maintaining a stranglehold on the party, noting that the governor and his men relocated the secretariat of the PDP from its 149 Ikot Ekpene Road, Uyo address, to the residence of his younger brother, one Ibanga Akpabio.
The elders are also protesting the withdrawal of one Paul Ekpo from the cabinet and making him the state party chairman, describing Ekpo as a mere figure head.
They declared that the state PDP was being run by the governor’s brothers, Emem and Ibanga Akpabio, while others are Nsetip and Prince Akpabio and further accused the governor of making his younger brother, Ibanga, the party’s scribe while his Special Assistant on Youth Mobilisation, Emmanuel Ekpeyong, was made the State Youth Leader.
Meanwhile, the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Aniekan Umanah, dismissed the petition, describing it as an old one, alleging that a desperate governorship aspirant was behind the petition as well as the agitation.
“There is nothing to it (petition), it is an old one. Just like our party chairman said yesterday, our party is intact. We held an extended meeting, which a number of these people attended.
“The party met and took a decision to zone the governorship position to Eket Senatorial District, which is one of the largest oil producing areas in the state.
“The area has not produced a governor for the state since creation; the party decided to zone the governorship to this area in the spirit of fairness and equity. The party never said it will not sell its form to anybody who is interested.
“At no time did the party ask anybody not to contest. At the time Governor Godswill Akpabio contested the primaries, 57 others from all over the state contested against him and he won,” Umanah said.