A serving senator and governorship aspirant in Akwa Ibom State, Bassey Albert, said he would not take part in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary in the state.
The primary is taking place on Wednesday, May 25.
The senator represents Akwa Ibom North-East District.
He is one of the leading PDP governorship aspirants and a threat to Governor Udom Emmanuel’s preferred candidate, Umo Eno.
Mr Albert, in a letter to the Chairman of PDP in Akwa Ibom State, Aniekan Akpan, said: “I have also been advised by my solicitors that the conduct of the primaries with ad-hoc delegates as proposed by the party shall be in the breach of the subsisting order and also contempt of court with the consequences of nullifying the outcome of the primaries and therefore jeopardising the chances of our party fielding candidates during the forthcoming election.
“Consequent upon above, sir, I convey to you my inability to take part in the scheduled primary election until such a time that the illegality mentioned herein is corrected.”
He, however, added that his refusal to take part in the primary does not mean withdrawal from the race.
Besides Senator Bassey, several other PDP aspirants for National Assembly primaries in Akwa Ibom had refused to take part in the exercises, citing the same court order.
A Federal High Court in Abuja had ordered parties in the suit challenging the PDP ad-hoc delegates’ election held on April 30 to “maintain status quo antebellum” pending the hearing and determination of the suit.
But the party in the state conducted its State and National Assembly primaries using the delegates whose validity hangs on the decision of the court.
Section 84(8) of the Electoral Act 2022 excludes other categories of party members from voting at the primaries.
Although the PDP in the state has filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal asking it to vacate the lower court’s decision, the case is yet to be heard.
Other PDP governorship aspirants in Akwa Ibom are Onofiok Luke, a federal lawmaker, and Akan Okon, a former commissioner for economic development in the state.
It is unclear for now if Messrs Luke and Okon would also refuse to take part in the primaries.
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