By Chioma Onuegbu Uyo

POLITICAL groups under the aegis of Akwa Ibom Integrity Alliance and Mandate Eyes, have condemned the physical attack on the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Aniekan Bassey last week by suspected political thugs in Ibiono Ibom local government area of the state.

The groups during a joint press conference weekend in Uyo, said it was an insult for political thugs allegedly loyal to governorship aspirant’s, invaded the venue where the Speaker went to consult delegates for his Senatorial aspiration and forced him (Speaker) to leave the arena for refusing to remove his face cap bearing Pastor Umo Eno insignia.

Speaking, Chairman of Akwa Ibom Integrity Alliance, Barr. Stephen Abia, wondered if the alleged political thugs would have stripped the speaker, had he put on a pair of trousers or shirt with Eno’s insignia.

Abia expressed concern that the spate of media outbursts and campaigns for Itu/Ibiono Ibom Federal constituency governorship was re-introducing violence in Akwa Ibom politics, and called on the security agents to ensure that those fingered in the dastardly act were brought to book.

His words, “Quite regrettably, the unfortunate scenario in Akwa Ibom State, currently, is that the beautiful venture of politicking has been greatly overshadowed by series of blackmails, vindictive utterances, deliberate falsehood and physical assault by hired teams of some politicians.

“Worthy of mention is the physical attack on the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Aniekan Bassey, who was consulting delegates from Ibiono Ibom to solicit their support for his Senatorial District aspiration.

“We are indeed saddened that in the 21st century, a bunch of sane beings could constitute themselves into nuisance and go around harassing and assaulting innocent persons who do not align with their political views.

“While condemning strongly, the perpetrators of this heinous act of intolerance and violence, we commend the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly for promptly leaving the scene of the event to allow peace to reign, instead of resisting or engaging in a spat with the alleged thugs”

Barr. Abia stressed that ordinarily the outbursts of the non-existent groups would have been discarded as a venture of some meddlesome interlopers, but in the interest of unsuspecting members of the public, it became important to correct certain misinformation regarding zoning of the governorship seat.

“For example, in their publications, they claimed that the six conference districts were Ikot Ekpene, Abak, Eket, Ikot Abasi, Itu and Uyo. This conjecture is worrisome as Akwa Ibom State was not created during the colonial era with such outdated political orientations but was created under a Federal system of government” Abia asserted.

Similarly, Director of Public and Strategic Communications, Mandate Eyes, Mr. Uwemedimoh Umanah, who described the attack on the Speaker as disrespectful, reiterated that governorship in Akwa Ibom was zoned only on senatorial district basis.

Umanah frowned at what he termed fallacious arguments by certain persons that it’s the turn of Ibiono Ibom LGA to produce Governor in 2023.

“We in the Mandate Eyes can only unequivocally agree with the purveyors of this line of thought, that Ibiono Ibom LGA is qualified to join the contest- being a part of Uyo Senatorial District.

“It is not the sole preserve of Ibiono Ibom, since there has never been micro- zoning for governorship position in Akwa Ibom State. The Governorship position is therefore open to everyone in all the Local Government Areas in Uyo Senatorial District of Akwa Ibom State.

“Suffice it to say that, if zoning of the Governorship were done on the basis of LGAs or micro- zoning it would take about 36 years within Uyo alone, before it gets to the next Senatorial District.

“It is therefore morally reprehensible, unthoughtful, illogical and insensitive for any person or group to feel entitled to the seat of Governor and subject it to personal considerations against the interest of the whole state”, Umanah said

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