ISAAC JOB, UYO
The presidential aspiration of Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio and Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has divided the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP,) exposing internal battle for the soul of the party.
The Trumpet gathered that the division and internal wrangling manifested during the official declaration of Akpabio’s presidential ambition at Ikot Ekpene Township Stadium.
It was observed that a banner purported to have emanated from the State chapter of PDP with the inscription ” People Democratic Party (PDP) Akwa Ibom State chapter in support of His Excellency Chief Dr Godswill Akpabio for President 2023.” was displayed at the venue.
Though some PDP supporters are alleging that this was done by the APC to embarrass them, others insisted that the banner was a reflection of the ongoing internal crisis in PDP against Governor Udom Emmanuel in the state.
In a swift reaction, Borono Bassey, State Publicity Secretary, Peoples Democratic Party, Akwa Ibom State in a press release dismissed the banner thus: “We have seen a photograph of a banner with an inscription to the effect that a party with the name – “People” Democratic Party is in support of the presidential rally of the Minister of Niger Delta, Chief Godswill Akpabio.
“Whereas the aforementioned “Party” does not exist as a duly registered Political Party in Nigeria and certainly not in Akwa Ibom State, we understand that the innuendo that the mischief-makers set out, but failed to achieve was to use the name of our Party – The Peoples Democratic Party to score points.”
The PDP spokesperson said the party was moved by sympathy to wonder why Akpabio’s handlers chose a day like that to embarrass their principal by reminding him that any of his political aspirations will amount to nothing if such aspiration did not come on the platform of the only Party in Akwa Ibom State – the Peoples Democratic Party.
The statement continued that “As a Party, we are glad by this overwhelming decision by Chief Akpabio and his handlers to again admit the obvious truth, that without the platform of the PDP, electoral victories in the state are impossible.
“We however offer a tot of sympathy to the Minister of Niger Delta and his few guests who will be forced to eat from the dish of this monumental embarrassment that has been served by his handlers.
“More importantly, we are motivated by the reverberating message by Akwa Ibom People that the only party they have come to accept is the Peoples Democratic Party,” the release boasted.
Bassey reminded mischief makers and people with unrealistic political ambitions that although the party would not be the ones to throw the first salvo, it would stop at nothing to visit its sledgehammer on any political fly that wanted to perch on and abuse its pristine image as a Party.
But some members of the PDP told The Trumpet that the banner at the venue of Akpabio’s declaration was a product of the discontentment with Akwa Ibom PDP and not that of mischief makers as claimed by the party spokesman.
According to these members of the party who pleaded anonymity, Governor Emmanuel had been running a clannish administration and only a few members of the party had access to him or enjoy the booties of his governance.
They recalled that during Akpabio’s administration, many party members and Akwa Ibom residents were empowered by the government but that was not the case with the current administration that had literally handed over every business of the state to consultants and outsiders, thereby pauperising the locals.
They pointed out that though Emmanuel was among the first to pick the PDP presidential form, he was yet to make an official declaration of interest in the state to inform Akwa Ibom people of his desire rather he was busy traversing across Nigeria giving an impression that the people who gave him a platform to aspire for the presidency did not matter in his political future.
According to them, the banner at Ikot Ekpene Stadium was a clear statement that in an event of Akpabio and Emmanuel getting their respective party tickets, the PDP in the state would vote for the minister, because of his antecedence.
Another reason for the discontentment in Akwa Ibom PDP is the imposition of Pastor Umo Eno by Emmanuel as the prefered aspirant and candidate for the 2023 governorship election which denied other gubernatorial aspirants a level playing ground to vie for the governorship ticket.
They pointed out that the conduct of last Saturday’s ward congress to choose delegates for the forthcoming primaries was controversial and did not go well with some governorship aspirants and their supporters, thereby widening the gulf between the governor and some party stakeholders in the state.
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