2019 ELECTIONS: GOV EMMANUEL CAUTIONS ASPIRANTS AGAINST FALSIFICATION OF DOCUMENTS
Evelyn-A. B. Ibanga (Govt. House)
……..Preparatory to the upcoming Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, primaries against next year’s elections, the Leader of the Umbrella Party in Akwa Ibom State, Governor Udom Emmanuel, has cautioned individuals aspiring for political positions, against presentation of falsified credentials to avoid bringing the Party to disrepute.
Governor Emmanuel sounded the warning during an enlarged stakeholders meeting of the PDP, held at the Government House Banquet Hall, Wellington Bassey Way End, Uyo.
The Governor said that aspirants for elective positions should realize that their actions could mar or promote the interest of the Party at the polls and advised them to ensure strict compliance to directives regarding qualifications of prospective candidates for the elections.
“Please don’t make any mistake to add any qualification that you do not have. If the minimum requirement is Senior School Certificate and you are sure that you wrote that examination, give that to us, it would be acceptable. Don’t overstretch us by adding what you did not attain.
“I don’t expect anybody to embarrass the Party, If the qualification is not convenient for you to go for that political office, we can always find another suitable position for you instead of putting the Party under unnecessary legal tussle that may embarrass us”, the Governor stated.
Emmanuel reteirated that the strength of the PDP lies in adherence to the zoning principles, noting, however, that there could be situations that may call for realignment, especially if it has to do with positions at the National Assembly.
According to him, “At times, you need to send back experienced legislators so that you can be assured of better committees that can assist the state but even with that, I want to reassure you that we would still try as much as practicable to follow the zoning principles”.
He explained that National Assembly seats are zoned to Local Government Areas and not Wards, imploring State Assembly hopefuls to comply with the already established zoning system and added, “but where it is necessary, the Party can streamline. The Party want to win election, in case the candidate presented cannot win election, instead of loosing, we can peacefully streamline”.
While urging aspirants to remain humble in order to attract enough support to secure victory, he stressed that thuggery would not be tolerated as the Party is poised on conducting free, fair and transparent primaries from the National to State levels.
Emmanuel stated, “don’t bring thugs to the arena, if you do, we would cancel that primary election, take it from me and don’t let it be that we cancel it and time is against us. When that happens, the constitution of the Party would apply. A word is enough for the wise”.
He charged the aspiring candidates to queue behind whoever would be nominated to fly the Party’s flag at different positions, to work as a team for the success of the Party, pointing out that the interest of the Party should be considered as paramount, at all times.
The State Chief Executive said, “Party interest is supreme, don’t let it be because of selfish interest we loose election where we should not. Please, let us not make that mistake and cause disruption in the Party because of nomination”.
Governor Emmanuel stressed the need for proper filling of Expression of Interest Forms, while imploring the people to ensure that they protect and defend their votes until the results of elections are finally announced by the electoral umpire.
He used the occasion to appreciate the members who recently defected from the opposition Party to the PDP, saying, “Be rest assured that this is your family, you can’t be treated otherwise, you’ll be treated as a deep-rooted family member and if possible, leader, so I can assure you that you have nothing to worry about”.
Earlier, the State Chairman of the PDP, Obong Paul Ekpo, said that the forum was organized to brief the stakeholders on the schedule of activities lined up for the process leading to the actualization of the success of the PDP in the state, come 2019, stressing that the outcome would stabilize the Party and reposition it to face the expected challenges with vigor.
Obong Ekpo noted that so far, about 111 aspirants have indicated interest to pick the ticket to contest for the available 26 seats in the State House of Assembly, remarking that it was necessary for the stakeholders to participate in the process that would bring about the nomination of the 26 formidable candidates to fly the PDP flag during the election.
He announced that screening of aspirants would commence on Friday, September 7, 2018, suing for presentation of authentic documents as the Party would take the screening very seriously and added, “We would not circumvent any rule regarding the qualification of individuals who would represent the Party at the polls. So, please get your documents straight”.
The State PDP boss urged members to eschew any form of violence during the processes building up to the nominations, maintaining that the Party would provide a conducive environment for fair and transparent elections and welcomed the defectors who crossed over from the main opposing Party, to the ruling PDP in the state.
In his remarks, a former Deputy Governor of the State, Engr. Patrick Ekpotu, expressed conviction that with the array of persons representing the PDP at various levels in different communities, the Umbrella Party would soar to victory, come 2019.
Engr. Ekpotu appealed to the Party faithful, “if you feel dissatisfied with any level of the process, approach the leadership of the Party to resolve the issue peacefully. The Party cannot face the challenges ahead with a divided house”.
A PDP stalwart, Chief Michael Afangideh, who appreciated God for the State, noted that the state has remained unshaken despite issues in the political scene in recent times, stressing that Governor Emmanuel was divinely ordained to lead the state and hoped that God would enable the successful re-election of the Governor for a second term in office.
On his part, a former All Progressives Congress, APC, bigwig, Senator Etang Umoyo, expressed delight to return to the PDP, which he described as his home, appreciating the Party for welcoming him back and pledged to work sincerely and committedly to ensure the realization of the second term aspiration of Governor Emmanuel.
The meeting had in attendance, the State Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Barrister Onofiok Luke, the Director General of the Divine Mandate Organization, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, former Deputy Governor of the State, Engr. Chris Ekpenyong, former and serving National and State legislators, Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, members of the State Executive Council and Chairmen of Local Government Councils among others.