A storm of protests has broken out in Akwa Ibom State over alleged imposition of unpopular candidates on the faithful by the hierarchy of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The selection process of aspirants to fly the flag of the ruling PDP in the state has been dogged by alleged underhand dealings, fetish oath-taking, among other dubious means.
Specifically, youth from Mbo and Urue Offong/Oruko local government areas of the state have spoken against the imposition of Chairmanship candidates on them.
The youth in Mbo have questioned the rationale for picking the incumbent chairman, Asukwo Eyo for a second term when his record in the first term was nothing to write home about even as their counterparts in Urue Offng/Oruko also faulted the imposition of Mrs Precious Selong as the consensus Chairmanship candidate on the people, instead of Colonel Sampson Edet (rtd), their choice candidate.
A youth leader, Ben Okung, said the wrong selection of aspirant may stagnate the progress and popularity of the PDP in the council area.
Okung who is a former Akwa Ibom House of Assembly aspirant under the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) said he returned to the PDP to ensure qualified persons were given the mantle of leadership, noting that the choice of Mrs Selong as consensus candidate was unaccepted.
“The entire youths and concerned elders of Urueoffong Oruko came out to express their minds through a peaceful protest informing the PDP leadership in the state and their listening Governor that they don’t want Mrs Precious Selong as their chairperson.
“We are calling on our Governor who is the leader of the party to provide a level playing ground for all aspirants and their choice candidate, Colonel Sampson Edet (rtd) so that the people of the local government can be vindicated if their choice does not leave up to expectations.
Also speaking, party loyalist, Mr Emmanuel Okon frowned at the alleged removal of Colonel Sampson on the list of cleared aspirants by the party.
He said it was very disappointing and a slap on their face as Mrs Selong as Vice Chairperson and Transition Chairperson of the local government for three years respectively cannot point to a single project.
Another PDP stalwart in the council area, Elder Ante Ante explained that since the creation of the local government area in 1991 till date, they have nothing to show for the long existence of the local government.
Ante emphasized that local government creation was done to transform rural communities to urban and semi-urban cities and not for personal investment.
He called on Governor Udom Emmanuel, listen to their plea by allowing all aspirants test their popularity at the LG Chairmanship elections primaries slated for August 24, 2020.
“For the long years of existence, we have had local government chairmen both elected and appointed and none of them have been able to move the local government to its expected height”, he said.
But the Publicity Secretary of the party, Borono Bassey absolved the party of any wrongdoing, saying that it adopted internal democracy in screening the aspirants.