* Ekpo, Akwa Ibom PDP Chairman
Some lawmakers in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly who had allegedly frustrated reelection efforts made by their predecessors are now devising every possible means, including paying secret visits to high ranking political office holders in the state in order to influence their endorsements for a second term.
This much was revealed by Paul Ekpo, chairman of the PDP in Akwa Ibom State, last week, during the thanksgiving service, 47th birthday celebration and third constituency briefing of Usoro Akpanusoh, the member representing Esit Eket/Ibeno in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
Although Mr. Ekpo did not mention names of those who had visited him to influence their second term ambition, but it was clear he may have been referring to the likes Aniekan Uko, the member representing Ibesikpo/Asutan, whose recent activities have clearly suggested that he will be contesting for the same office again in 2019.
Mr. Uko is constitutional allowed to contest for a second term if he so wishes, but his second term ambition, observers say, is tending to negate the one-term zoning formula arranged for representatives that have emerged from the Ibesikpo and Asutan clans of the constituency since 1999 when democracy returned in Nigeria.
“Each time they come to lobby me to get a second term endorsement, I usually ask them how they plan to succeed given the fact that that these were the same people who had vowed that nobody ever gets second term in their constituency.
“What you don’t want others to do unto you, don’t do it to others. The truth is that, whatever we’ve said here today, I plead members of the party not to deceive people.
“Because the problem we have is that you (politicians) encourage a man to spend money, but right inside your heart, you know that you’re not supporting that man. If you do that, one day, you will look for something and you’ll have that same measure in Jesus name”, he said.
Ekpo’s admonition to second term seekers is coming at a time Governor Udom Emmanuel and the PDP leadership in Akwa Ibom State have said that zoning of political offices would be respected during the 2019 general elections.
“Zoning is a cardinal principle which our party has previously relied on and will continue to rely on in future political engagements…
“For the avoidance of doubt, may we state emphatically that our party will adopt and rely on the extant zoning arrangement existing in the various areas and will not foist a zoning pattern on the people”, Ini Ememobong, publicity secretary of the Akwa Ibom PDP, said in a press release in February.
In another development, Governor Udom Emmanuel at a security meeting held in Etim Ekpo local government area to address incessant crises in Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo areas of the state, instructed aspirants not to buy nomination forms for next year’s election if they will not be favoured by zoning.
“If you know zoning does not favour you, please don’t bother spending money. Don’t tell me you sold your houses and property to contest for election. I am saying it now so you don’t say you did not hear”, the governor was quoted to have said.