‘His discriminatory and despotic tendency highly unexpected in a democracy’
The governor of Akwa Ibom State and presidential aspirant of PDP, Mr Udom Emmanuel, reportedly blocked a rival presidential aspirant and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, from consulting delegates in Akwa Ibom State on Saturday, May 14, 2022.
In a manner reminiscent of undemocratic, despotic and autocratic regimes, the governor allegedly ordered the state party chairman, Mr Aniekan Akpan, not to receive the Waziri Adamawa on the excuse that he (Udom) had travelled out of the state.
Abubakar’s advanced team, it was gathered, had been in the state for the past four days perfection protocols in preparation for the consultation visit.
Within the period, the governor was duly informed and all relevant appointments booked with the party, critical stakeholders as well as the traditional rulers’ council, according to our source.
Atiku and his campaign team were on consultation tour of the South-south zone, and having stopped over at Edo, Bayelsa and Delta States on Friday, May 13, 2022, was billed to visit Akwa Ibom, Cross River and River States on Saturday, May 14, 2022.
However, they were shocked on Saturday morning, when they decided the make last-minute checks, only to be told by the state chairman that the governor travelled out the state, therefore, Atiku could not be received for consultation.
Many perplexed political analysts were astonished that a modern day leader in a democracy, where there is freedom of association, could exhibit such intolerance and discrimination. Moreover, the PDP under the leadership of Senator Iyorcha Ayu, has been professing fair-play, brotherliness, equity and tolerance of divergent views.
“We were more than shocked that a governor in modern Nigeria, in a democracy for that matter, can be so crude and discriminatory to block a fellow Nigerian, former VP and major stakeholder of PDP from consulting members of his part. That’s unexpected. It was the height of intolerance because Gov Emmanuel has been visiting other states without hindrance. This is not the spirit that our party is preaching”, our source said.
He wondered how a governor’s unavailability in the state could affect a consultation visit, when the party officials and delegates were the ones the aspirant came to discuss with.
“Obviously, the governor is very intolerant of opposition. It also showed that he is insecure and knowing fully that he cannot come close to Waziri Adamawa in any contest, he rather blocked him from seeing the delegates. Very infortunate “.
The Atiku team, according to the source, is bent on drawing the attention of the national secretariat of the party to the unhealthy development, warning that if encouraged, it is capable of causing serious disaffecrion, Ill-feelings and breakdown of peace in the country.
“What if other states start blocking him or any other aspirant too as he does out from consultations? How would the country be if every aspirant, who has control over some delegates, directs them not to receive other contenders to a particular office?
Such intolerance and discrimination should be encouraged”, said another source.
It was learnt that despite the initially unsettling experience, the Alhaji Abubakar-team was upbeat on their visits to the other remaining states within region.
However, in a chat with our reporter, some party leaders and members of the state exco of the party, who preferred anonymity, expressed a huge disappointment with the governor’s action, stating that he failed to show a good example in his much-touted concept of peaceful and godly virtues.