The People’s Democratic Party, PDP in Akwa Ibom State is set to rake in a whooping N63.5 million from sale of forms for the November local government election.
According to the party guideline for the said election, each of the chairmanship candidate in the 31 local government area are to pay N500,000 for expression of intent and nomination form while each councillorship candidate in the 320 wards is to pay N200,000 for both the expression of intent and nomination form.
The Sensor gathered that despite the fact that the party has made provision for the conduct of primaries to ensure emergence of credible candidates for the two offices, leadership of the party in the State has insisted on the issuing of one nomination form for chairmanship position in each local government area of the State while one nomination form is also to be issued to one councillorship position in each of the 320 wards.
A chieftain of the party, Ufok Nnah told The Sensor that the party stance will ensure that the party present the best candidate for the general election. He also noted that it will enhance peace in the party as canvassed by Governor Udom Emmanuel through zoning.
However, many aspirants have kicked against the arrangement saying that it will deny best qualified candidate to contest. Ubong Etuk, a councillorship aspirant from Uyo said that the plan to bring one candidate through consensus will not portray the party in good light considering the fact that the party has before now promised to give all the aspirants equal opportunity to contest so that the popular candidate will emerge.
Chairmanship aspirants from Mkpat Enin, Ikot Abasi, Etinan, Oruk Anam, Mbo, Obot Akara and Esit Eket local government areas who spoke with The Sensor said that the one form for the chairmanship position is a deliberate attempt to deny them the opportunity to emerge as candidate.
Some, it was further learnt have threatened to dump the party should the primaries not made open to all the aspirants. One of them said, “I will dump PDP for any party that will throw doors for primaries open. I am generally accepted by my people and any attempt to scheme me out of the race will not be accepted. So, let the party ensure that all the aspirants participate in the primaries for equity and justice.”
In a related development, some aspirants have decried the high cost of expression of intent and nomination forms saying that the cost of the forms in the present economic recession is capable of shooting many out of the race.
While calling on the leadership of the party in the State to review the cost downward, they noted that those who will manage to get through may want to engage in corrupt practices in order to recoup the money invested. This, they added, will go a long way to affect their performance.