IBENO/ESIT EKET REP CHARGES INEC ON FAIRPLAY IN PARTY CONGRESSES
As the People’s Democratic Party holds it Chapter Congress today, Saturday, the member representing the people of Ibeno/Esit Eket in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Dr. Usoro Akpanusoh has called on the umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission to live up to its mandate and responsibility as enshrined in the Electoral Act.
The Lawmaker while speaking to newsmen said “INEC is empowered to monitor the conduct of party congresses in not only my Local Government Area, but all over the country.” He added that they are also expected to be neutral so they can report what is happening on the field even as the law specifies that primaries must be conducted at the headquarters of the ward, Local Government and States.
While advocating for an open process, he however stated that peradventure the community or Local Government agrees on a consensus candidate, then there should be a voice vote of people saying ‘yes’ to such candidate.
In his words, “You can’t just announce a consensus candidate without the people affirming that the Party members have accepted the consensus. However, if INEC needs to be told or reminded, for my own Local Government, I’m going to write to INEC, urging them to do what they are supposed to. I know that most areas will be peaceful, but where there is no consensus – you know politics is about interest – members must be allowed to vote for candidates of their choice”.
Dr. Usoro while commending the State Chairman of PDP, Obong Paul Ekpo for his leadership strides also used the opportunity to express confidence in the leadership of INEC in the State led by Barrister Mike Igini, whom he described as a very seasoned lawyer, a man of integrity, whose surname is ‘due process’, would advise all the Electoral Officers, EOs in all the Local Government Areas to open their eyes and watch the process.
The process according to the Lawmaker if done properly, following due processes and guidelines, would guard against legal challenge of the party congress that it didn’t follow the guidelines or due process as witnessed in States like Zamfara.
According to him, allowing due process and politics of inclusiveness to thrive would position the Party strategically for success in 2023.
“I don’t think the governor is aware that some people are causing confusion all over the place. Over and over the leader of the Party, Governor Udom Emmanuel has emphasized on internal democracy even during the last stakeholders’ meetings. He has given his voice as the leader of the Party and it is our responsibility as followers of the Governor to now implement what the policy thrust of the Governor is in terms of party structure.
“A situation, whereby people who have opportunity to work closely with His Excellency are misusing that opportunity to try to rob people from participating hence frustrating the effort for internal democracy, how do we describe those people? The level of awareness now in politics is such that we must be able to persuade people to peacefully do what is right,” he noted.