In spite of reports that the National Working Committee of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had zoned the 2015 governorship ticket in Akwa Ibom State to Eket Senatorial District, a member of the Board of Trustees of the party from the state, Don Etiebet, has asked the people to ignore such reports saying the election is open for all.
The declaration by the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Thursday, may have signaled the deepening of the crisis in the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the party over zoning and who would become the successor the governor Godswill Akpabio.
Describing the report as outright lies, Mr. Etiebet said he had inquired from the party’s National Headquarters for clarifications on the issue.
According to Mr. Etiebet, although there was an endorsement by the party, PDP did not exclude or preclude other aspirants from other senatorial districts from contesting for Akwa Ibom State governorship election.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, had said the party expected that “only aspirants from Eket Senatorial Zone will present themselves for the governorship primary election in the state.”
But, Mr. Etiebet said the national leadership of the party had confided in him that they would not prevent any aspirant from other senatorial districts from contesting the seat.
He said he had personally spoken to the National Chairman of PDP, Adamu Mu’azu, his Deputy, Uche Sekondus, among others, on the matter.
The PDP leadership, Mr. Etiebet stated, was merely endorsing what the party in the state said, but did not exclude or preclude anybody from any other senatorial zone, to put in his or her application for the governorship seat.
He said that even if there were 20 of such aspirants, they are all welcome to participate in the race. Mr. Etiebet said when he asked Mr. Sekondus if state executive would not collect the nomination form from candidates from other zones, he (Sekondus) said, “No!”
Mr. Etiebet assured that if such a situation occurs, the national leadership of the party would bring the nomination form of all other aspirants to them in Abuja, and they would be proclaimed valid candidates to stand in for the nomination exercise.
The former Minister said he was also told that the party had chosen to open the contest to all aspirants in the state in the spirit of democracy.
“They (PDP) said it did not preclude in the spirit of democracy, in the spirit of giving all Nigeria a level playing field to participate, in the spirit of proper internal democracy and in the spirit of having a popular candidate, who can win the election for the party.
“Therefore, I call on every eligible aspirant from any senatorial district of Akwa-Ibom state, who wants to aspire to be the governor of Akw-Ibom state, to go ahead to mobilize their supporters, and make sure that they win their delegates, because nobody is going to preclude them from taking part in this exercise,” Mr. Etiebet said.