*PDP, YPP candidates absent
By Chioma Onuegbu Uyo
A total of nine governorship candidates of political parties in Akwa Ibom state yesterday signed a Peace accord before the state Council of Elders, ahead of the forthcoming general elections.
They signed the peace accord yesterday shortly after discussing their programme of action for the state and why they want to be elected as governor, as well as interacting with the Council of Elders, at the main auditorium of the E-library, IBB Way, Uyo, the venue of the event.
Those who signed the peace Accord were Mr Iboro Otu of the African Action Congress (AAC ) Arc. Ezekiel Nya-etok of African Democratic Congress (ADC), Ekere Essien of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) and Obong Ita Ekpo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Others were Senator John James Akpanudoedehe of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Mr, Akan Ekpeyong of the Boot Party (BP) Ime Koffi of Accord Party (AP) and Nsikak Thomas of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), and candidate of Allied People’s Movement (APM).
The candidates in the accord entered into pledged to ensure that election in the state shall be devoid of violence, and that their members and supporters including the youths shall conduct campaigns, rallies and meetings in accordance with the provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act and other extant Laws.
They also accepted, as leaders of their respective parties to eschew the use of foul and provocative language, hate speech that may provoke violent reactions and emotion during their campaigns and meetings.
They further assured that in the event of any violence occasioned by their parties, candidates or members, or any breach of the Accord they should be held responsible and account for such violence or breach to security agencies in the state, among few others pledges.
Surprisingly, notable candidates, Pastor Umo Eno of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Senator Bassey Akpan of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), were among the absentee candidates during the interactive meeting
The duo including Mr Uko Okon of the Labour Party, Emem Udoh of Social Democratic Party,(SDP), and The People’s Redemption Party(PRP), however, did not communicate any reason for being absent at the meeting.
In his remarks, Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Council of Elders, Obong Victor Attah, explained that the interactive meeting was put in place to give all the contestants opportunity to tell Akwa Ibom people why they want to be the next governor.
Obong Attah who expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the interaction, noted that the elders also want a situation where when one of the contestants win the 2023 election, all of them will come together and work as a team.
Fielding questions from newsmen at the end of the event, the elder statesman described absence of notable governorship candidate in the state, Umo Eno as regretable.
“It is just regretable that he is not here. I really don’t know why. I thank those of you that honoured the invitation of the Council. However this peace accord is binding even on those that are absent” Attah asserted.
Asked whether the interaction with the candidates met his expectation Attah responded: I believe the meeting is really wonderful. And it is regrettable that people either gave a wrong interpretation or high suspicion and therefore stayed away.
“Those that have come have seen the benefits of coming. I believe that next time they will be better informed and that they will come. And Akwa Ibom people are now better enlightened about their candidates”.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, Secretary of the Council, Elder Moses Essien said the gathering could not have come at a better time than now when the people are yearning for a visionary, Dynamic, patriotic and result oriented leadership with the capacity to build and transform the state.
Giving a vote of thanks, Vice Chairman of the Council , and former Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Chief Nduese Essien appreciated Obong Attah for putting the meeting in place.
He also appreciated members of the Council as well as the candidates for being in attendance, adding: “I am impressed with the seriousness which you all have shown and I believe you have benefitted from this meeting”