FROM: JOE EFFIONG: UYO
The sudden change of local government election time-table has put political parties in a state of frenzy in Akwa Ibom State with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) quickly announcing the adjustment of its timet-able and guidelines for the said election.
The state electoral body known as Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC) had earlier scheduled the councils polls, the first in the last six years, to hold on November 11, 2017.
But the state chairman of PDP, Obong Paul Ekpo, told Daily Sun, on Tuesday, that due to AKISIEC’s new time timetable, the party had informed aspirants that sales of nomination forms would begin from September 8, 2017, while the screening of such aspirants would hold on September 9-10, 2017 at the party office in Uyo.
“All Appeal cases will be heard on the 11th September 2017, while Councilorship Primaries has been slated for the 12th September 2017, with Elections of Ad-hoc delegates for party congresses and primaries for Chairmanship candidates will take place on 14th of September”. He said
Ekpo had earlier announced an immediate inauguration and commencement of sensitisation and mobilisation committees across the state; pledging his party’s preparedness “to mobilise men and women and supporters to go in and come out in a manner justifiable with the amount of work put in.”
He encouraged qualified members of the party who have been favoured by the internal zoning arrangement of their areas to abide by the guidelines for nomination.
The nomination guidelines for the Local Government Election obtained by Daily Sun from the state party secretariat stipulates that to be eligible, any aspirant contesting for the Chairmanship and Councilorship Primaries must; apart from being a Nigerian citizen by birth, be a card carrying and financial member of the Peoples Democratic Party and also a registered voter.
“An aspirant for the position of a Chairman shall be a person of not less than 30 years of age and must possess a minimum qualification of School Certificate level or its equivalent with at least 5 credits including English language obtained at not more than 2 sittings. Other higher educational qualifications will be of added advantage, while aspirant for the position of a Councilor must not be less than 25 years of age and must be educated up to at least the School Certificate level or its equivalent”.
“Any aspirant who is presently an Executive Member of the Peoples Democratic Party at any level or a political appointee who intends to contest the primary for either the office of the Chairman or Councilor, must resign from such position not later than 30 days to the date of the election,” the PDP guidelines stated.
However the All Progressive Congress (APC) has said its members appear afraid that investing the council election would amount to losing their hard earned money based on their previous experience.
The state publicity secretary of the party, Mr Mitchel George told our correspondent that as on Tuesday, the party was still waiting for the aspirants to come and purchase their nomination forms.
You know, our people are still afraid based on how government used to do their thing, whether the exercise would not amount to waste of their resources. But we are still waiting for them to come and purchase their nomination forms so that before the deadline, we would have candidates to file for the elections.”
When asked whether any candidate had indicated interest to purchase the form, George said he had yet to check the books to determine if anyone had even bought the form.
There are 32 local government areas and 329 wards in which elections would be conducted in the state.