ESIT EKET YOUTHS PROTEST AGAINST ALLEGED IMPOSITION AHEAD OF LG POLLS
…Elder Udobia won’t truncate zoning, says Akpanusoh
By Itoro Bassey
Youths of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Esit Eket Local Government Area have protested against alleged imposition of Mr. Iniobong Robson Nnamso for the upcoming December 2020 council elections in Akwa Ibom State.
The youths also expressed dissatisfaction over the additional new ward in Esit Eket created recently by the Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC), saying that the commission ought to have extracted it from Ward 10, said to be largest in the area, and not otherwise.
The aggrieved youths who defied the heavy rain on Wednesday stormed the Esit Eket council headquarters in Uquo, as well as the residence of Edidem Ubong Asam, Paramount Ruler of Esit Eket, and the area’s divisional police headquarters to register their grievances.
They brandished placards with various inscriptions, including “Etebe (Iniobong Robson), your 5 years tenure is a disaster to the people of Esit Eket’, ‘We can’t sell our zone Elder Udobia’, ‘Etebe stop serving Esit Eket from exile’, ‘On Zone B we stand”, and ‘Governor Udom come to our aid.’
Esit Eket local government is politically divided into zones “A”, “B”, and “C” where all the eleven political wards of the area are grouped for ease of representation and administration.
Robson, the incumbent chairman, is from Zone “A”. The protesting youths said he is supposed to be succeed by someone from Zone “B” at the completion of his tenure in December in order for the zoning system to continue peacefully.
They were heard saying that the political leader of Esit Eket, Elder Benjamin Udobia, was the brain behind the plot to return Robson to the council against the wishes of the people.
Describing the decision as unacceptable, a youth leader, Prince Akan Etteudo stated: “We are opposed to the recycling of Hon Iniobong Robson Nnamso who has been in office since 2015.
“Etebe served as Transition Committee Chairman for two years and six months. And also, he was elected chairman in 2017 on the grounds that we wanted a Zone ‘A’ person to become chairman.
“Today, Etebe has served for five years and one months. By December when his tenure is expected to end, he would have served for five years and six months.”
He alleged: ”We are aware that the chairman, in conjunction with the political leader and some selfish elders are out to truncate the zoning arrangement, insisting that Etebe should return for a third term.
“We are saying no to the imposition of one person against the opinion of the people of Esit Eket.”
Another youth leader, a student, Comrade Victor Inyang, said: “They should allow Zone “B” to produce the next council chairman. The problem of Esit Eket is the leaders.
“If we students should keep quiet and allow things to go wrong in our own society, at a later day, we will return to be on the losing side.”
The protesters later matched to the country home of the member representing Esit Eket/Ibeno state constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Usoro Akpanusoh, where they presented to the lawmaker a document containing their complaints and requested same to be presented before the house of assembly and Governor Emmanuel for necessary action to be taken.
Addressing the protesters, Akpanusoh called for calm, promising to take their grievances to Governor Udom Emmanuel.
According to Akpanusoh, zoning of the chairmanship seat of Esit Eket local government area started with the now late Hon Imoh Udobia from Zone “A” in 2002.
Udobia, according to him, was succeeded by late Victor Bassey Isangedighe from Zone “B”. Ibanga Bassey Etang, also late, from Zone “C” succeed Isangedighe to complete the first round of the zoning circle.
Akpanusoh said: “I am aware that the first round of zoning ended with Ibanga Etang. The second round of zoning returned to Zone “A” and our current chairman (Robson) was even so lucky to have a transition committee position for two years and six months.
“When he completed that transition programme, we all said that since it was not an elected position, he should be allowed to contest and stay for three years, the office in which he is still serving today as chairman.
“I know that our political leader, Elder Ben Udobia, is a man of peace. If he sees the need to allow things to go in a peaceful way, peace will prevail.
“I can say that Elder Ben Udobia is not ready to truncate the zoning arrangement. I want to assure that we the leaders of Esit Eket will meet and sort things out.
“The governor has constantly said that those not favoured by zoning in their areas should not contest it. He will not allow anything to happen to zoning of political offices in Akwa Ibom State.
“We are ready to continue to make sacrifices for our party to win at all levels. The government of Akwa Ibom State will continue to do good things for us”.
Akpanusoh expressed optimism that the PDP would win the upcoming local government election in the state, even as he thanked Governor Emmanuel for appointing Esit Eket sons and daughters into positions of authority in the government.