2015: Umanah, Okopido, Etok, PDP stakeholders dare Akpabio
A crack appeared on the structure of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State as stakeholders and party chieftains opposed the bid by Governor Godswill Akpabio to decide who will be the party’s flag bearer in the 2015 guber elections.
The stakeholders under the aegis of the Akwa Ibom Elders and Stakeholders Forum said they would rather support the new policy thrust of the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Ahmed Mua’zu, for the party to choose its candidate through a fair and free contest in an all inclusive primary.
Chairman on the occasion, Dr. Ime Okopido, a former minister for environment, set the tone of the meeting by expressing disappointment that things have gone wrong with the party he said he brought to the state in 1998.
He said the stakeholders’ meeting was convened to fashion out ways to correct the anomalies observed in the way the state government is handling the affairs of the party.
His words: ‘Things have gone wrong and that is why we are meeting in this summit, it is important because vital decisions are going to be taken.”
Senator Aloysius Etok on his part said nobody can impose a candidate on the state as it is the people that would decide who should be their governor.
He said the people “will choose who will rule Akwa Ibom and who will be lawmakers but never again will elections be conducted outside the designated venues.”
Many others who spoke at the meeting were unanimously against zoning the governorship slot.
On his part, the immediate past secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government, Obong Umana Okon Umana, whom the group has adopted as their governorship candidate said the courage demonstrated by the stakeholders has given him hope that the future of Akwa Ibom is bright.
He said he has watched the events in the state and found that the lieutenants of Governor Akpabio are making it look as if the governor is going to be a candidate in the 2015 governorship race.
He said.’’ the governor will not be a candidate in 2015, I am interested in becoming the governor in 2015 and anybody who is interested should not hide behind the shadows of the governor but should come out and campaign and present themselves to the people.”
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting, the people pledged unalloyed support to President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration and called on him to step out to seek re-election as president.