From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja, Okey Sampson, Umuahia and Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki
Members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State, yesterday, staged a peaceful protest at the national secretariat in Abuja over alleged plans to impose a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as governorship candidate.
Convener of the protest, Obong Victor, in a petition claimed it was the state government that was sponsoring the governorship aspirant.
“This is to urgently bring to the attention of the National Chairman and the entire members of the National Executive Council (NEC) and National Working Committee (NWC) of our great party that an established and confirmed PDP sponsored mole is about to be imposed on Akwa-Ibom APC members as their governorship candidate. The APC family in Akwa-Ibom State is in shock that a PDP screened and confirmed aspirant, who is still campaigning and meeting with the government of Akwa-Ibom State and other PDP stakeholders could come over to our party, the APC and be handed the governorship ticket.
“There is no doubt that there shall be serious dissatisfaction in the party and this maybe two costly for the party. No serious APC member in Akwa Ibom State will trust the party anymore. The APC National Chairman and indeed the entire Executive must act and immediately too,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Alex Otti, former chief executive officer of the defunct Diamond Bank, has backed out of the APC governorship primary in Abia State.
In a statement by his media aide, Ferdinand Ekeoma, Otti cited a memo which allegedly emanated from the National Legal Adviser of the party to the National Chairman, dated May 18 which he said imposed a ‘strange sharing formula’ on aspirants in Abia State as his reason for withdrawing from the race. He said he would pursue his governorship ambition elsewhere and that he would not abandon his mission to rescue Abia halfway.
He said more than 90 per cent of the aspirants, leaders and stakeholders of the party opposed the decision and subsequently appealed to the leadership of the APC to allow an open contest that would give room for the emergence of popular candidates who would also enjoy the support of party members and the electorate during the general election.
He regretted that this did not happen, instead, the party stuck to its decision to go by way of imposition of aspirants.
“It’s my firm belief that anyone who wants to govern Abia state and Abians, must be someone who has been democratically chosen by the people, and not one imposed by undemocratic or external forces pursuing self serving agenda that would undermine the welfare and wellbeing of Abians at the long run… I hereby withdraw from the predetermined governorship primaries of the All Progressives Congress slated to take place in the next few days. This well thought out decision was taken after due consultation with the army of our supporters, stakeholders, and above all, respected leaders of the APC within and outside Abia state,” he said.
In Ebonyi State, Elias Mbam Campaign organisationalso alleged plots by persons it described as agents of the government to scuttle the APC gubernatorial primary.
A statement signed by former Commissioner for Works, Paul Okorie, on behalf of the Elias Mbam Campaign Council alleged that Governor David Umahi through his brother, Rou Umahi, dragged the progressive party to the Federal High Court in Abakaliki in order to stop the primary from holding today.
“Credible intelligence available to us alleges that agents of Ebonyi state government and those working for the embattled Speaker has procured armed thugs from Enugu, Abia, Cross River and Rivers States, some of which are already in the state, in liaison with his local vigilante (Ebubeagu Security Network) with the plan to attack and cause mayhem at the venue of the gubernatorial primary tomorrow to ensure that it does not hold and prevent perceived opponents from attending.”
But the Chairman of the party in the state, Stanley Okoro-emegha, said Governor Umahi was committed to free and fair contest.
He urged all aspirants to play by the rules and avoid actions capable of painting the party in a bad light.
“There is nothing like Umahi trying to scuttle gubernatorial primary in Ebonyi. It is only a foolish man that try to destroy a house he has built. Governor Umahi is a leader who believes that the right thing should be done at all time. And he is committed to a free and fair election. Aspirants are hereby advised to put the unity and progress of the party ahead of their personal interests,” he said.