THE Young Progressives Party, Akwa Ibom State chapter has advised the governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel to channel his energy towards providing good governance for the few months before his exit from office than using the state resources to install a successor who they described as a surrogate for his third term.
In a press conference at the party’s secretariat on Saturday, the state chairman of the party, Apostle Nyeneime Andy alleged that electoral freedom and fair play is under ‘great threat’ in the State claiming that governor Udom Emmanuel-led administration has set in motion a process to pervert democracy in the State.
He said YPP cannot be canvassing for votes legitimately from the people, while the state government is reportedly plotting to manipulate the elections.
Buttressing his claims, the YPP chairman said the governor used the state funds to purchase 31 Hiace buses which cost over N1.24billion for the campaigns of the governorship candidate of the peoples Democratic Party, PDP Pastor Umo Eno who is his preferred candidate.
He said that the governor during his party’s get together at Atan Offot, Uyo, announced the engagement of 70 agents in each polling units across the 31 Local Government Areas of the State on a monthly stipend of N100,000 to each adding that with the 4,354 polling units in the state, the cost implication of hiring those agents is N91,334 billion,(January – March).
The Chairman wondered why the governor who claimed that the state does not have funds could spend such a huge amount on frivolities rather than using it to offset the pensions and gratuity arrears owed next of kin of retired late primary school teachers and other public servants in the state.
Andy said the governor should have also channeled the monies into the completion of “several uncompleted road works and other abandoned infrastructures in need of funding” in the state.
Part of the statement read, “Governor Udom Emmanuel-led administration has set in motion a process to pervert democracy in Akwa Ibom State –all in a bid to foist his stooge, Pastor Umo Eno on the people.
“We call on the administration to concentrate on providing good governance for the period left in power rather than chasing an illusory third term through the imposition of Pastor Umoh Eno.
“We can recall the Governor’s famous statement made on August 24, 2020, which was widely published as follows: “I’m not like other former Governors.
“I’ll never go for a third term through surrogacy. I’m not interested in who succeeds me as the next Governor of Akwa Ibom State. When my tenure comes to an end, I’ll leave the Government House with just my Laptop.”
The YPP Chairman also said the party through intelligence discovered that PDP has engaged in buying of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and obtaining of VIN numbers from unsuspecting members of the public across the 31 Local Government Areas with intent to rig the elections even as he urged the security agencies and INEC national to investigate the matter.
He also accused INEC officials at the local government of colluding with the state government to engage in sharp practices during the elections even though he expressed hope that with the assurances given by the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu that with the services of Bimodal Voter Registration Systems (BVAS), there will be no manipulation.
However, in a swift reaction, the Publicity Secretary of the state PDP, Mr Borono Bassey said YPP was just in a wailing rehearsal of impending defeat by March this year.
Bassey said YPP Chairman’s allegation that the state government wanted to rig election by buying PVCs showed his high level of ignorance on the technology that would drive the 2023 election, as BVAs which would be deployed will combine fingerprint and face biometrics for identity verification of voters which automatically makes buying of PVCs utterly useless.
He also described as false that campaign buses were bought with state funds saying that the vehicles were procured with resources from dues and goodwill donations by PDP members
Bassey added “Again, another lie peddled by the State Chairman of YPP at the Press Conference to the effect that the Akwa Ibom State Government was planning to pay 70 polling agents in each polling unit across the State falls flat on its face given the fact that Governor Udom Emmanuel clearly understands that there is an anti-graft agency that can spot and prosecute him for misappropriation of state resources if he attempts to engage in such an act.”
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