In the light of the recent happenings in our dear State, Akwa Ibom, particularly about the politics of the 2023 governorship and the unfortunate role of supposed stakeholders and some elder statesmen in the support of impunity and injustice, the PDP MINDERS FORUM (PMF), a conscientious group of ardent PDP faithful, wish to set some records straight by categorically stating the following:
For anybody who has been a keen follower of Akwa Ibom politics since far back as 2006, 2007, the person will readily agree with the fact that former governor Victor Attah has been good at everything else except on his choices of preferred candidates for election.To put it simply, Obong Attah has never supported a governorship candidate and the person won. This unbroken record dates back to the struggle for his own successor in 2007. Recalled that in the build-up to the 2007 governorship election, Attah, who was the governor then, had, against the wish of the majority of party stakeholders and faithful, anointed his son-in-law, Engr. Udoma Bob Ekarika as his preferred successor.
Attah, in his desperate attempt to impose his preferred successor on Akwa Ibom people, employed different anti-democratic tactics to manipulate the governorship primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to favour his preferred candidate. Of course, the people resisted and eventually, against Attah’s will, Godswill Akpabio emerged as the party’s candidate and subsequently elected as governor in 2007.
Apparently, Akpabio’s election made Attah very bitter which clearly revealed in Attah’s actions thereafter. First, in an obvious attempt to get back at Godswill Akpabio and spite the PDP, Attah, as a founding member of the PDP, went on to publicly declare support for the governorship candidates of the opposition parties in subsequent elections. Notably, were his endorsements of Sen John Udoedehe as the governorship candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in 2011, Obong Umana Umana as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015, and even Obong Nsima Ekere as the governorship candidate of APC in 2019, whom he endorsed nicodemusly. It can be recalled that it was on the heels of these rebellious actions against the party that Victor Attah was once suspended by the PDP.
As a conscientious group, we were disappointed to see Victor Attah, who, on Tuesday, October 27, 2015, in a well-attended press conference in Uyo, announced his retirement from partisan politics, thereby abandoning the party at the most critical moment, but returned in 2022 as a stakeholder to choose a supposed “preferred” successor on behalf of the party. Since Attah presented Umo Eno to Governor Udom Emmanuel purportedly as the stakeholders’ choice of preferred candidate in January 2022, the PDP in Akwa Ibom has been struck by series of crisis leading to continuous depletion of membership. For instance, today, the Party has recorded the highest number of litigation cases in its history following the primary election. Attah’s emergence out of the blues to impose a candidate on the party he stood against in three consecutive elections is the height of injustice to the legion of supporters who stood by the party in her difficult times.
We read a news story with the caption: “WHY AKWA IBOM STAKEHOLDERS PREFER UMO ENO- EX GOV ATTAH OPENS UP”. We are aware that the report which emanated from a state-sponsored interview Obong Attah granted, is part of the state government’s efforts to armtwist the national leadership of the PDP into accepting Umo Eno as the party’s governorship candidate in the state. The grand plot is to deceitfully convince the national leadership that as a former governor and a highly revered elder statesman, Victor Attah’s endorsement of Umo Eno is a reflection of the majority of Akwa Ibom people. However, it can be clearly seen that from history, Akwa Ibom people do not agree with Victor Attah on his choices of governorship candidates and the same still goes with Umo Eno.
We strongly advice Obong Attah against twisting the facts because there was never a time when PDP stakeholders met and took a decision on the governor’s successor before the meeting of Sunday, January 30, 2022, where he (Attah) presented Umo Eno to the governor at the government house. If truly Umo Eno was the choice of the stakeholders, how come that the governor did not allow the stakeholders to speak at the meeting? It is on record that Rt Hon Onofiok Luke, a former speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, and current serving National Assembly member, raised his hand twice to speak at the meeting but the governor repeatedly shut him down. Sen Bassey Albert, who is the chairman of Akwa Ibom State National Assembly caucus was not invited to the meeting. In the exact words of the governor, the meeting was not for stakeholders to speak but to receive instruction.
Recently, Chief Ephraim Inyangeyen, the former Chief of Staff to the governor, revealed that the governor claimed that his successor was in his iPad and it was only the governor who knew who his preferred successor was until the meeting at the government house. So does it mean that the stakeholders which Attah referred to, met and chose Umo Eno inside the governor’s iPad?
We also want to place it on record that Attah’s endorsement will be inconsequential in the court of law where the party is battling with litigation cases especially the allegation of certificate forgery against Umo Eno. The PDP at all levels must be aware of the fact that there is a growing fear for the Party over the potential risks that Umo Eno’s candidacy poses with the current controversy over certificate forgery. Except for a handful of greedy elements within the government circle who are bent on going down the path of self-destruct, everyone else agrees that the Party cannot afford to fly Umo Eno in the face of the current realities. Therefore, the report that Obong Attah dismissed the forgery suit against Umo Eno is a piece of comedy because Attah is neither a lawyer nor a judge.
We are also aware that Attah’s house in Abuja as well as his son-in-law’s hotel (Daaty Hotel) in Uyo have been sealed by the bank due to failure to pay back loans. Attah is indebted to the tune of over 4million US Dollars while his son-in-law, Udoma Ekarika is indebted to the tune of over 100million Naira. It is therefore not difficult to understand why our once highly respected former governor is stooping so low to become a mouthpiece of impunity. We understand that Attah wants to do everything necessary to get money from the governor in order to offset the loan and recover his property and that of his son-in-law, but we cannot allow him mortgage the future of over 7million Akwa Ibom people for his personal interest.
Finally, we would like to draw the attention of the national leadership of PDP to the banner story on TheMail Newspaper of Tuesday, 28-06-2022 with the caption “FORGERY CASE: DISQUIET IN UMO ENO’S CAMP, UDOM WEIGHS OPTIONS”, accompanied with the rider “…more gov’t emissaries sent to pacify Akan Okon”. As far as Akwa Ibom State is concerned, TheMail Newspaper is one of the independent and most reliable local tabloids and as such, the story should not be disregarded in the best interest of the party.
Mr. Idoreyen Umah
Barr. Ifiok Udo