*As Ikono/Ini agitation unsettles Govt House, Party Chiefs
BY ABASIFREKE OBOT
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Akwa Ibom State Chapter has called down peace and calm into the political atmosphere, which had been intensely heated up given the strong demand for the State PDP Chairmanship Seat by Ikono/Ini Federal Constituency, intimating all quarters interested in the seat that the Party, at this time, has no zoning formula for the Chairmanship seat and is yet to decide on that.
THE INK gathered credible intelligence that the PDP in the State has admitted that the successor to Obong Paul Ekpo will emerge from Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District. But that it is not certain which federal Constituency in the Senatorial District will produce the Chairman.
The Party noted that after thorough and wide study on the demands and political history of the Ikono/Ini people made and submitted before it, it was expedient on the party to decide critically on the Federal Constituency to zone the seat to before the general zoning formula is unanimously established, adopted by the party and made available to the public.
A party Stakeholder who spoke with THE INK Reporter on a wide range of issues bothering on the State PDP Chairmanship Seat, said Ikono/Ini, for over a month now, have unleashed their pains and grievances through unending agitations and tears, stating clearly that the truth of matter is that the people have a genuine case and it would amount to injustice if the party does not fix its eyeball on the case.
He said the party founded in 1998 was structured on truth, transparency, equality and consistently holds to heart fair play as its core tenet, hence he assured they will not cheapen its core values and integrity but, will do what is absolutely right.
Another stakeholder who is an Exco member of the party opened up on the situation at hand. He hinted that the impending revolt against the system and demand for the PDP Chairmanship position by Ikono/Ini Federal Constituency has wrecked the peace of mind of Party Chiefs, who he said until now, had given no serious thought to the lingering predicament of the people, who have always assumed the place of the political observers when Ikot Ekpene/Essien Udim/Obot Akara Federal Constituency, Abak/Ika/Etim Ekpo Federal Constituency and Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Federal Constituency have always been the only major political players in the Senatorial District.
The stakeholder disclosed that series of meetings are in top gear in order to see how the interest of the people can be accommodated.
Recall the Ikono/Ini people had vowed to fight for their political right by producing the next State PDP Chairman no matter whose ox is gored.
Some indigenes of Ikono/Ini, who decried their crass relegation to the political back seat, narrated political exclusion from 1998 till date.
A stakeholder from Ikono/Ini explained, “In 1998, when His Excellency, Obong Victor Attah assumed office, Engr. Essien Ibok from Ikot Ekpene Federal Constituency was then PDP Chairman. Hon. Sunny Udom from Oruk Anam/Ukanafun Federal Constituency was the Vice Chairman. Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem from Abak/Ika/Etim Ekpo Fed Constituency was Treasurer. In 1999-2003, a new party structure was put in place. While Engr. Essien Ibok was now elected Deputy Chairman, Hon. Sunny Udom maintained his former office as Vice Chairman and Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem, Treasurer.
“In Obong Attah’s second term dispensation that was in 2003, from that year till 2007, Engr. Johnson Essien Ibok from Ikot Ekpene Fed Constituency and Rt. Hon. Sunny Udom from Oruk Anam/Ukanafun Fed Constituency still occupied the Deputy Chairmanship seat and Vice Chairmanship Seat respectively.
“Between 2007 and 2016, during Senator Godswill Akpabio’s first term and second term dispensation as well as some months into the tenure of Governor Udom, Hon. Imoh Ibokette from Abak/Ika/Etim Ekpo Fed Constituency and Barr. Ibanga Akpabio from Ikot Ekpene/Essien Udim/Obot Akara Fed Constituency manned the position of the PDP Vice Chairman and Secretary respectively.
“In 2016, Barr. Ibanga Akpabio from Ikot Ekpene/Essien Udim/Obot Akara Federal Constituency was elected Deputy State Chairman until his appointment as Commissoner in 2017, where he handed over to Chief Godwin Afangideh as Deputy State Chairman.
“Upon the defection of Chief Godwin Afangideh to the All Progressives Congress(APC) in 2018 and his automatic resignation as the Deputy State Chairman of the Party, Sir Suyiekere Inokon from Essien Udim was chosen to take over as the Deputy State Chairman in 2018.
“Since 2016 till date, Hon. Cletus Eshiet from Oruk Anam is the PDP Vice Chairman and at the National Level, Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem from Abak/Ika/Etim Ekpo Fed Constituency was in 2017 elected the National Legal Adviser, a position he occupies till date.”
THE INK also gathered that the people of the Federal Constituency are hopeful that their demands will be met.