This is not the best of times for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom state, as its influential members are threatening to pull out of the party over what they described as undemocratic acts of Godswill Akpabio, the governor of the state.
The aggrieved members include 22 governorship aspirants, known as G22, all the senators from the state; the six members of the house of representatives and 14 members of the state house of assembly.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, the politicians, who alleged that Akpabio is using his influence to prevent the leadership of the party from looking into their petitions on the matter, threatened to work against the party if no action is taken by January 11.
While the G22 is asking that the December 8 primary election that led to the emergence of Udom Emmanuel as the flagbearer of the party in the state be cancelled because it was fraught with irregularities, others are of the view that Akpabio has hijacked the party.
Led by Nsima Ekere, the immediate past deputy governor of the state, who resigned in 2012 after falling out with Akpabio, they also accused Adamu Muazu, the chairman of the party, of conniving with their governor.
Ekere said Akpabio induced each of the 1,200 delegates that voted in the governorship primaries with N1 million, paving way for the emergence of Emmanuel, who was presented with the party’s flag during the flag-off of President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign in Lagos on Thursday.
Assam Asas, a gubernatorial aspirant, accused Mu’azu of doing nothing to resolve the crisis, saying the democratic structure of the party was weak.
“This party prides itself as the biggest in Africa,” he said.
“But if the democratic experience in the party is weak, the democratic experience of the largest party in Africa is weak and the credibility of the elections at the grassroots becomes a problem and honestly speaking, PDP is in trouble in Akwa Ibom state due to one man dominance of the whole process.”
Helen Esuene, a serving senator and also a governorship aspirant, advised the PDP to look into the matter urgently, in its own interest.
“Right now, our patience is running out because we have not been fairly treated at by the party,” she said.
“Let it be said loud and clear that if we are put to the wall, we will definitely go to where we are needed.”
For Ita Enang, the chairman, senate committee on rules and business, Akpabio has through his actions turned into “the campaign manager of the opposition in the state”.
“What is urgently needed to be done by all stakeholders in Akwa Ibom state is to rescue the state from an arrest of a whole generation by just one man before the election,” he said.
“Because if that is not done, voters will surely do the appropriate thing at the appropriate time during the elections.”