DON Etiebet, a permanent member of the Board of Trustee of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has joined prominent citizens of Akwa Ibom State to raise the alarm over politically motivated killings in the state ahead of 2015 general elections.
In a petition to the Inspector General of Police, IGP, titled: “Political Brigandage in Akwa Ibom State-the coincidences are too close for comfort,” Etiebet said the political situation was tensed, culminating in a very terrible security atmosphere. The five-page petition said in part: “Everyone seems afraid for their lives, especially those allegedly opposed to the governor’s politics of succession imposition and senatorial ambition.”
The PDP leader recalled how Albert Ukpana, a 67-year-old prominent politician, from Ukanafun/Oruk Anam federal constituency was hacked to death in his house in the urban city of Abak local government area, on March 12, 2014, by yet to be arrested persons. The deceased, he said, was known to be against Governor Godswill Akpabio’s plan to go to the Senate in 2015 and was the campaign coordinator for Nsima Ekere, for deputy governor, in his gubernatorial ambition.
Etiebet alleged that since he made his position known on the zoning of the governorship ticket to the Eket senatorial district and other resolutions by the state executive of the PDP in the state, all hell had been let loose on him, as faceless writers and others unleashed odious vituperations and abuse on him.
The PDP BoT member said on May 6, when he left the state for Lagos, he was informed that assassins went to kill Soni Udom, director-general of the Umana Okon Umana gubernatorial campaign organisation, but missed him because he was not in the office. Udom, a 63-year-old and seasoned politician in the state had been a council chairman, a federal lawmaker, was the chairman of the Akwa Ibom State Property Investment Company Ltd., APICO, until he was sacked by the government for supporting Umana’s gubernatorial ambition.
“These incidents are setting the whole state on the edge of security breakdown and it is scary. Threats to the lives and property of perceived opponents of the governor’s political interest have turned the once very peaceful state to a very tensed environment where people live in fear. I am personally scared and worried because since I differed with some of the resolutions in the communique issued by the State Executive Council, SEC, of the party in the state, I have been branded an enemy of the government with all sorts of people, some faceless, but known to be workers in the government, raining all sorts of abuses on my person,” Etiebet said.
What scared him most, he said, was on May 4, 2014 when the governor himself used other peoples’ phones to call him to shout at him, saying all kinds of unprintable things that he had allowed himself to be used against him (governor). “These close coincidences are the reasons why I am sending this letter to you to keep you abreast with the state of insecurity, political brigand and threats to human life and property in my state, prelude to the forthcoming party primaries in the state with the sole motive of scaring people away from participating in free, fair and open congresses and primaries,” he said.
Etiebet, therefore, appealed to the IGP to do everything possible to prevent a breakdown of law and order in the state and to ensure that violence-free party congresses and primaries in the state. The petition dated May13, 2014 was sent to the president, the PDP national chairman, chairman of the PDP BoT, the National Security Adviser, NSA, and the director-general, State Security Service.
ECOWAS Leaders Meet over Security Situations in Nigeria, Mali
ECOWAS leaders met in extraordinary session on Friday, May 30, in Accra, Ghana, to discuss issues of mutual and urgent concern in the region, especially the security situations in Nigeria and Mali. The one-day summit, the first to be hosted by President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana since his election in February 2014 as chairman of the authority of heads of state and government of the community, followed the latest clashes between rebel groups in Kidal, northern Mali and government forces which resulted in the loss of lives while thousands of people were displaced.
The regional leaders discussed the security situation in parts of northern Nigeria where Boko Haram, a militant group, has been waging a terror campaign that has left many people dead, wanton destruction of property and kidnappings including of more than 200 school girls. Mahama addressed the summit while Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, president of the ECOWAS Commission, presented memoranda on the security situations in the two member countries.
Hitches in INEC Voters’ Registration
THE ongoing fresh voters’ registration exercise embarked upon by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to address the sudden disappearance of 621 polling units in Enugu State on Thursday, May 29, witnessed serious hitches. Names of notable stakeholders including the state Governor Sullivan Chime, Eugene Odoh, speaker of the State House of Assembly; Vita Abba, state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had disappeared from the INEC register as a result of what INEC described as human and machine error.
But, residents of Enugu who trooped out to take part in the fresh registration exercise in the state were disappointed as the INEC machines deployed for the exercise failed to work in most of the centres. Most of the machines were said to have problems with their batteries, cords or thumb-printing process, thereby forcing officials of the INEC manning the machines to frequently shot down which made the process slow.
For instance, Afam Okereke, chairman of Nkanu West Local Government Area, had to battle to fix some of the challenges as he mobilised staff of the council to provide computer accessories to assist the INEC officials. Okereke noted that from all indications, the INEC was unprepared for the exercise. “I suspect sabotage because there’s no other reason why the commission should deceive us in this manner. They told us they were ready for the registration but from what we have seen, there’s nothing like that. The commission should simply call off the exercise and conduct it when they are ready,” Okereke said.
Speaking in the same vein, Abba, state of the PDP, said: “What happened in our zone, Nsukka, on Wednesday was very distressing. The facilities were not functioning across the six local government areas. In very few instances where they functioned, some of the INEC personnel did not seem to be in tune with the machines. But having said that I must commend the INEC staff for their readiness and promptness to respond to distress call.”
Fayemi to Clear Pension Arrears
GOVERNOR Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, apparently fearing a backlash from pensioners’ unpaid month pension arrears, has promised to pay soon. The pension arrears owed to retired primary school teachers was incurred between January and September 2002.
But Fayemi who is seeking a re-election, assured that his government would clear the N181 million debt. The governor who made the pledge during a meeting with pensioners in Ado- Ekiti, capital of Ekiti State, also disclosed that government had this month (May) earmarked N150 million to pay gratuity despite the recent shortfalls in the federal allocations to the state.
Fayemi stated that the burden of gratuity owed the retirees was not unrelated to the fact that all the workers employed during the creation of the old Ondo State in 1976 had retired in the last three years thereby increasing the financial responsibility of government towards the retirees. He added that arrangement was also ongoing to off-set the gratuity owed some people who retired in 2013.
— Jun. 9, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT