Governor Udom Emmanuel has warned politicians to stay off administering fetish paths and imposition of candidates in the forthcoming Akwa Ibom LG poll.
Speaking during the inauguration of the State Executive Council, Governor Emmanuel said such fetish plots will be resisted by his administration.
Zoning will be a major Factor in Akwa Ibom LG Poll – Governor Emmanuel
He further said that zoning will be a major factor in the choice of Chairmanship and Councilorship positions in Akwa Ibom LG poll.
Governor Udom Emmanuel made a case for a hitch-free Local Government elections and warned politicians to provide the right template for popular candidates to emerge under the existing zoning arrangement.
Many incumbent Chairmen were angling for second term, but the governor said “we must respect zoning in the contest” and urged political leaders to ensure a smooth and transparent process to produce popular candidates at the Akwa Ibom LG poll.
Besides, the Governor expressed dismay at reports coming from many Local Governments of allegation of secret oaths administered by politicians on Chairmanship and Councillorship aspirants.
Reminding them that “the anti-cultism prohibition law is still in place”, warning that his administration would hesitate to invoke relevant sections of the law against erring politicians and aspirants.
Speaking against the backdrop of complaints across the 31 Local Government Areas that political leaders were in the habits of administering oaths to extract loyalty from aspirants, the governor, who described such disposition as a misnomer, urged the people to reject such illegality.
What gave rise to the imposition of candidates, it was gathered, stemmed from the decision of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to peg nomination forms beyond the reach of the common people.
With Chairmanship form going for N2.9million and Councillorship at N750,000, the need for consensus candidates, according to Hon. Samuel Edigheyong, member of the Forum of Former Councillorship Aspirants (FFCA) in Esit Eket Local Government Area, “became the last option for contestants to emerge”.
“Many of them never expected the form could be that exorbitant especially during this COVID-19 period with heavy cash crunch and the some desperate aspirants must rally round politicians who would also give them their terms before sponsorship”, he said.
He, therefore, advised the political parties to make the process democratic and participatory for the right choices to emerge through transparent process in the forthcoming Akwa Ibom LG poll.
But the immediate past Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Comrade Iniobong Ememobong, recently appointed as the Commissioner for Information and Strategy in governor Emmanuel’s cabinet, was quick to defend the exorbitant nature of the nomination forms, arguing that it was deliberately fixed to fend off jokers.
“Anybody with the capacity to buy, we will sell for the person, but the essence is to have serious people for the exercise; we don’t want the exercise to become an all comers affair”, he explained and advised the people to save cost and rally for consensus candidates for the exercise.
The Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC) Chairman, Mr. Aniedi Ikoiwak, has fixed October 31, 2020, for the conduct of the exercise across the 368 political wards spread across the 31 councils.
He said arrangements have been concluded for the polls after consulting with security agencies including the Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) and the Department of State Security (DSS).
All Progressive Congress boycotts Akwa Ibom LG Poll
Although, All Progressive Congress (APC) has withdrawn from participating in the forthcoming Akwa Ibom LG poll, Chairmanship and Councillorship aspirants under the umbrella of Peoples Democratic Party, have bought nomination forms and returned same to the Party.
The election from all indications will be a one party election as other political parties in the State are said to boycott the forthcoming poll.