The group stated that the state chairman of the party; Paul Ekpo, is working in tandem with the state governor, Godswill Akpabio to constitute illegal executive members, whom they imposed on other members of the party.
The petitioners said the state and ward congresses which were said to have been held in all parts of the on March 12, 2012 never took place in Akwa Ibom State, stressing that the situation contravened the party’s constitution.
The petition which was made available to newsmen in Uyo and signed by Chairman Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District, Mbong Mbong; Vice Chairman, Akwa Ibom Northwest Senatorial District, Okon Obot, and Secretary, Akwa Ibom Northeast Senatorial Districts, Uko Essien, and the other party stalwarts, accused Akpabio of commissioning few loyalists who compiled the names of the present exco members in his younger brother’s residence.
“What transpired was a complete travesty of the constitutional procedure. Governor Godswill Akpabio simply appointed local government coordinators to write names that were submitted to his younger brother, Emem Akpabio in whose house the entire list of delegates was compiled. There was no congress held in any location in Akwa Iibom State as provided for by the constitution of the Peoples Democratic Party.
“Even those whose names were compiled by Emem Akpabio were not given the opportunity of attending the state congress but however contrived on Tuesday, 20th of March, 2012,Governor Akpabio announced the composition of the new state executive committee of the party made up of his Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Paul Ekpo as chairman and his younger brother, Ibanga Akpabio as secretary.”
The petitioners maintained that the governor’s personal appointment of various persons into the state exco of the party without holding the ward and state congresses has not only disenfranchised party members and the leadership of the party in the state but has also created tension in the state.
They stated that the senior members of the party have been sidelined and disenfranchised thus creating the impression that the party is now Akpabio’s personal property.
The petitioners said some excluded members of party include former governor of the state, Victor Attah; former minister and member, BoT of the PDP, Otuekong Etiebet; former Secretary to Government of the Federation, Ufot Ekaete; a former member, who represented Uyo Senatorial District in the Senate, Effiong Bob; a member representing Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District in the Senate, Aloysius Etok; the state former Deputy Governor, Chris Ekpenyong; Nigeria’s Ambassador to Russia, Assam Assam; immediate past Secretary of the state Government, Umana Umana, among others.
The petition read, “We decided against raising this issue earlier because we did not want to be seen or blackmailed as trying to stifle the party’s national convention which was to be held to fill certain vacancies and address very vital issues of the party at the centre.Thereafter, of course, was the internal leadership issues which needed to be settled before serious consideration could be given to other sectors of the party’s structures.”
The stakeholders appealed to the National leadership of the PDP to setup machinery to conduct transparent ward and state congresses in Akwa Ibom State in order to restore peace and reduce the tension that could implode the party in the state.
“We believe that the party does not need to allow this issue to fester into an unmanageable disharmony amongst the membership of the party in the state thereby giving them the fait accompli to look elsewhere,” they said.
However, Ekpo denied the allegations, stressing that some of those mentioned in the petition as aggrieved members participated in his emergence as state chairman of the party.
Ekpo, who said he wouldn’t want to join issues with the petitioners noted that it is only the governor that is competent to speak on what transpired.
“These people who now address themselves as aggrieved members, actually participated in the election. I cannot speak on this matter. It is only the governor that has the right to comment on the issue.”