By Kufre Etuk
In a veil attempt to frustrate other governorship aspirants in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the state party chairman, Elder Aniekan Akpan has directed all ward chairmen to return new membership cards and party registers to their Senatorial District Chairmen. Already, ward chairmen in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District have complied, The Crest can authoritatively report.
Our source said the directive came after Governor Udom Emmanuel failed to persuade the party national executive to give him the prerogative of choosing adhoc delegates in the forth coming party primaries.
One of the party leaders who did not want his name mentioned said the PDP national executive had insisted that selection of party adhoc delegates be done through election, a situation Governor Udom Emmanuel is not comfortable with.
Our source said the essence of the directive by the party chairman is to ensure that those given the new party cards are core supporters of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s preferred governorship aspirant, Pastor Umo Eno, while opportunity to vote and be voted for, as adhoc delegates in the party primaries is checkmated.
“Udom Emmanuel is afraid that if he allows free and fair selection of adhoc delegates, the likes of Senator Bassey Albert, and Barr. Onofiok Luke whose loyalists are scattered in the party may have upper hand.
“What he wants to do now is to ensure that those who need the party cards are duly scrutinized to be sure they represent his interest and that of Pastor Umo Eno”, Our source said.
It could be recalled that several gubernatorial aspirants on the platform of PDP had consulted the state party executive where the party chairman promised level playing ground to all the aspirants.
“We have said repeatedly that the party is ready; the party will be transparent and the party will ensure credible primaries for all aspirants. We will continue to enhance fairness in this process.” The party chairman declared this when Ide Owodiong consulted the party.
But, his recent directive may be a pointer to the fact that the state party chairman may not be a man of his words, rather, he may choose to bend the rule to satisfy the Governor and the “golden boy” at the expense of other governorship aspirants.
However, it is unclear whether the PDP national executive will insist on the use of new membership card or old card before party members can be allowed to vote for who becomes adhoc delegates. Should the national executive sanctions the use of new membership card, many PDP members will be disenfranchised, our source said.
Meanwhile, effort to reach the PDP State Publicity Officer was abortive as at the time of filing this report.