By: Israel Umoh
The Peoples Democratic Party in Akwa Ibom has cleared 70 persons for chairmanship and 684 for councillorship positions giving the prospective helmsmen another political rope to untie in heading to the October 31 local government poll.
Before now, 142 chairmanship aspirants jostled for nomination to fill 31 chairmanship positions, while 789 aspirants gunned for councillorship positions in 368 electoral wards in the state, an authoritative source in PDP told Straightnews.
Of the number, 70 got the initial chairmanship clearance leaving behind 72 and 684 got councillorship qualification leaving 105 aspirants in the cold.
Each chairmanship candidate is said to have paid N2.5 million for nomination form aside N150,000 for tax clearance certificate while a councillorship aspirant paid N500,000 for the form in addition to paying N150,000 for tax clearance certificate.
But, the party sliced down the cost from N500,000 to N250,000 form for women vying for councillorship position for the nomination form in addition to N150,000 for tax clearance certificate.
Though 13 screening committees were set up, 70 persons got chairmanship nod while 15 aspirants are returned unopposed for the top position.
In Eket Senatorial District, the chairmanship candidates are Abraham Mathias, Eastern Obolo; High Chief William Mkpa, Ibeno; Eyo Asukwo Effiong, Mbo; Paul Joshua Affia, Ikot Abasi and Anieompong Eno Ekpo of Mkpat Enin.
In Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, the unopposed chairmanship contenders are Mr Afia Imeh Paul, Etim Ekpo; Mrs Agnes Cosmos Udoenwenwen, Obot Akara; Mr Unyime Okon Etim for Ikot Ekpene; Mr Okoibu Uwemedimo Nyakno, Ikono and Mr. Malachy Ukpe, Ika.
From Uyo Senatorial District, electorates in five local government areas already know the chairmanship hopefuls in the next administration. They are Johnnie Ndukeobong, Uyo; Sur. Iniobong Effiong Ekpenyong, Uruan; Mrs Emem Ibanga, Nsit Atai; Arc. from Nsit Ubium, Iniobong Aloysius Orok and Bar. Etetim Onuk from Itu.
For councillorship position, 684 positions are cleared with Ourk Anam having 40, while Ibsikpo Asutan- 33; Ibiono Ibom – 32, and Eket- 32.
However, there will be fierce contest in some local government areas. Eket has eight chairmanship to run. In Udung Uko LGA, four candiates are given a clean bill of health.
In Urueffong/Oruko, five contenders are slugging out for a ticket. In Ukanafun, four candidates are in the line; three are in Essien Udim, four were cleared for Abak LGA; Etinan has three screened and cleared cndidates as well as Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area has three candidates will contest the poll.
To encourage women to participate in politics, Governor Udom Emmanuel is angling for at least one female to head local government council in each of the 10 Federal Constituencies in the state. It is expected that 10 women would be elected as council Chairmen after the nomination and poll by AKISIEC.
From all indications, PDP is leading the pack in the number of chairmen and councillors that would come out from its loin. All Progressives Congress, APC, a leading opposition party in the state had earlier announced its intention to withdraw from the race but to sue the state government and AKISIEC for the creation of 39 new electoral wards.
Meanwhile, the Ward Congress is slated to hold on Thursday, August 20, 2020 while date for the Local Government Congress will be announced soonest.