INTIMIDATION OF PDP PARTY MEMBERS/DELEGATES BY SOME AKWA IBOM STATE GOVERNMENT /PARTY OFFICIALS: AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL ACT AND THREAT TO PUBLIC PEACE
WHEREAS The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended in Chapter IV – Fundamental Rights, Section 40 provides that: “Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any Political Party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interest”. This is known as the Right to Peaceful Assembly and Association.
AND WHEREAS The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Cognizant of the fact that the right to freedom of association is an inalienable right of man
AND WHEREAS recognizing the need to defend and uphold the sanctity of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, members of the Official Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Nigeria made and gave to themselves the constitution which shall be supreme, and its provisions shall have binding force on all members and organs of the party.
AND WHEREAS section 58, sub section 1(b,h,k) stipulate as some of the offenses; “subject to the provisions of this constitution, the party shall have the power to discipline any member who;
(b) Says or does anything likely to bring the Party into disrepute, hatred, or contempt.
(h) engages in any conduct likely to cause disaffection among members of the Party or is likely to disrupt the peaceful, lawful and efficient conduct of the business of the Party.
(k) organizes, retains, trains equips or encourages the organization, retention, training, equipping of any member or group of members for the purpose of employing violence or coercion or any form of intimidation whatsoever.
It is therefore on the strength of the above provisions that the recent and ugly activities of some Akwa Ibom State government and party officials, individually and as a group, calling meetings as well as reaching out to some party members mostly statutory delegates to direct them against freely associating with other leaders/members of the party and also threatening and intimidating them with violent and illegal sanctions such as delisting, suspension, and prevention from participating in voting at Party Primary elections of which they are legitimate delegates is unfortunate, irrational, unconstitutional, null and void.
This has been the scenario across the state in recent times and cuts a picture of systemic and strategic plan to victimize, undermind and infringe on the inalienable rights of these members of the party as provided for by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In as much as this action negates the tenets of democracy and fundamental rights, it is an abuse of office and threat to public peace, in contravention of the oath of office taken by these government and Party Officials.
“That I shall not allow my personal interest to influence my official decision; that in all circumstances I shall do right to all members of the party and to all manner of people, according to law without fear or favour, affection or ill-will”.
These unwholesome and illegal actions are seriously viewed as a calculated attempt to polarise the party with the potential of negatively affecting the long-earned success of the party in the state and it is hereby condemned.
We hereby encourage our party members/delegates to ignore their empty threats and intimidations and continue in their lawful and loyal activities to promote an egalitarian society founded on freedom, equality, and justice.
We insist that in line with the appropriate provisions of our party, the leadership of the party should ensure a level-playing field for all the delegates to exercise their free choices by supporting whoever they want without intimidation. Nigeria is running a democracy and not a theocracy (a system of government in which priests rule in the name of God), monarchy, or dictatorship – where one man’s choice or decision must be obeyed by all without question.
We also demand that primary election, as stipulated by our party constitution, be conducted in a free, fair, and credible manner, where all the aspirants will subject themselves to the voting choices of the delegates and test their popularities. This will truly ensure that our party retains its enviable hold on our dear state in the general election.
May we strongly advise the perpetrators of this ignoble and illegal acts of intimidation to retrace their steps to avoid appropriate sanctions in line with the provisions of (Section 59 (1)) of our Party Constitution: “Any member of the party who commits any of the offenses listed in Section 58 (1) of this constitution shall be liable to any or a combination of the following penalties.
(d) Suspension with a fine;
(e) Debarment from holding any party office;
(f) Removal from office;
(g) Expulsion from the party.”
At this point, we want to clear all doubts and baseless speculations flying around town, and state unequivocally that our superlative Aspirant and principal, Senator (Obong) Bassey Albert Akpan (OBA) is still very firmly in the gubernatorial race to the Hilltop Mansion in 2023. He is not shaken in his resolve and his love for Akwa Ibom increases daily. Above all, he still holds onto his belief that power belongs to God and He gives it to whoever He pleases. Therefore, we call on our teeming supporters and delegates to remain steadfast in their resolve, too. We are still on course!
To this effect, Obong (Senator) Bassey Albert Akpan (OBA) will soon launch his manifesto, which is a rich and verifiable blueprint that will roadmap the path to a more refreshing Akwa Ibom State of tomorrow. The due date will soon be announced.
So far, we deeply appreciate our increasing number of supporters, well-wishers, and delegates and assure them of victory at the end. We however urge more Akwa Ibomites, particularly our party delegates, to join us in this unstoppable march towards a truly prosperous future.
Thank you and God bless.
ArchBishop Andrew Uwanta (Chairman)
Obong (Barr) Kennedy Ekong (Secretary General)