…Commissioner for Environment, PDP Chapter Chair, ors abandon candidate over poor performance
By our reporter
There was a mild drama on Thursday, November 23, 2017, at the prestigious Ikpa Pavilion, Oko Ita in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area when the various candidates vying for chairmanship and councillorship positions were presented to the people of Ibiono Ibom for evaluation before the December 2 council election.
The famous Ibiono Ibom Welfare and Development Union, IWADU, founded in 1932, had summoned a meeting of all indigenes of the area from all walks of life, residing within and outside the state for the sole aim of presenting to them candidates of all political parties for the forthcoming council polls. The two major political parties in the state, People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and All Progressives Congress, APC, had their candidates to wit: Hon. EkomAbasi Sunday Akpan and Hon. Emmanuel Bassey, a.k.a Ata Ambassador, respectively, who are vying for the chairmanship position. Others presented were Councillorship candidates across the 11 wards in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area.
Drama started when the PDP Chairmanship Candidate, Hon EkomAbasi Akpan, was called to present his manifesto. Journalists who were at the event reported that the PDP Candidate, who had come with a prepared manifesto, could not read same to the people. According to our reporter, the PDP candidate, Hon EkomAbasi, a former Councillor, arrived the venue of the event far behind schedule.
Our reporter, who monitored the event witnessed the departure of the State’s Honourable Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Iniobong Essien, an indigene of the area, who reportedly left the pavilion midway, following what his close associates later inferred as shame, orchestrated by the abysmal performance of the chairmanship candidate of his party, the PDP. Other notable politicians, mostly of the PDP lineage, including the Ibiono Chapter Chairman, Mr. Emmanuel Etim, also left.
Meanwhile, our reporter noted that the APC candidate, Hon Emmanuel Bassey, even when it was suggested by an attendee that candidates could use vernacular, insisted on communicating in English Language, maintaining that it was an official language of communication which he would be expected to use, especially when dealing with non-indigene visitors. Our correspondent also reported that while the PDP candidate was booed for his inability to read his type-written manifesto, the APC candidate was applauded for his excellence performance.
The event, which was videoed live, also had in attendance the Pioneer State Secretary of PDP, Elder Ntieyong Inyangmme. It was reported that following the inability of the PDP candidate to communicate, one of the moderators begged that the candidates should be allowed to use vernacular, a suggestion that was vehemently rejected by the attendees, who were professionals from different fields of endeavour.
In his reaction, an indigene of Ibiono, a University Lecturer, who was at the pavilion, said he was embarrassed by the ‘disgraceful’ performance of the candidate.
The University Don, who is a PDP member, while chatting with our reporter in strict confidentiality, noted that it would be wrong for an illiterate to superintend over the literate.
He said: “I am embarrassingly disappointed. Let’s leave political party aside. You cannot expect an illiterate chairman to superintend over the literate like Ibiono people, who are made up of educated professionals. How come a would-be Council Chairman cannot read and even communicate in simple English? As it is, I think Ibiono Ibom PDP would not be blamed for voting a candidate irrespective of party affiliation. It is so shameful and disappointing that what you witnessed today would definitely reflect during the December election.
The body that organized this presentation, IWADU, is a respected organization. It was founded in 1932. As you could see, we have great and educated people. We have lecturers, Engineers, captains of industries and what have you. So to me, this is a great lesson for political parties in the state”.
Another respondent who gave his name simply as Eng Akpan while fielding questions from reporters at the Pavilion, said he was surprised at the turn of events. He said: “I want to thank the organizers of this event. It is an eye-opener and a good initiative that should be maintained”.
While responding to questions on the performances of the candidates, he said: “Well, I am only surprised that one of them came so unprepared and was so disorganized throughout the presentation. And as it played out, the one who came prepared was applauded. This would influence the thinking of the Ibiono electorate, especially those who are here and those who are not here will be told…”
In the meantime, the President-General of IWADU, Dr. Ephraim Inyang, has called on sons and daughters of Ibiono Ibom to ensure proper conduct during the forthcoming council polls. Dr. Inyang who stated this at the Ikpa Pavilion, advised all stakeholders to ensure that equal playing field is accorded all the political parties in the election.
Others who attended the event included the representatives of the Paramount Ruler of Ibiono Ibom and chapter chairman of APC, among others.