…party members applaud exercise
By Abasifreke Effiong
Members of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State have called on the State leadership of the Party to emulate the template of zoning and election of Party executives practiced in the area.
Party members across the ten wards who spoke separately to journalists during the pre-ward congress held in the 79 villages which make up the Local Government said the level of zoning and participation in the selection of ward officers done in the area has deepened trust in the Party and her leadership. It would be recalled that the leadership of the PDP in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area earlier this month empowered stakeholders, executive and members of the Party to hold pre- ward congresses across the 10 wards and 79 villages ahead of the nationwide congress of the PDP.
The exercise which allowed members of the Party from each village liberty to select by themselves their ward officers was aimed at strengthening zoning as well as broaden communities and families’ participation in the election of ward officers. “The pre- ward congress was a creation of the political hegemony of the PDP in Ibesikpo Asutan led by the political leader, Prince Uwem Ita Etuk.
It aim was to institutionalise internal democracy in the Party from the family, to village and the ward level”, Barr. Comfort Etuk, a former Commissioner in the State said at the conclusion of the exercise in her ward, Ibesikpo five. Barr. Etuk explained that the exercise allowed multi-level zoning and has broaden the level of inclusion and participation of communities in Party decision making. This reporter gathered that after the leader of the Party empowered members of the Party to go back and elect their ward officers, stakeholders and executive of each ward met at their respective ward centres and zone positions to villages within the ward. After that, village heads, men, women and youths of all the villages met at the instance of the ward executive of the Party. At the meeting, positions zoned to each community were announced and indigenes of the community were directed to convene a meeting and elect persons for positions zoned to them and present same to the ward before the ward congress.
It was observed that election of nominees from each village to the ward exco was through option A4. Meanwhile, members and stakeholders of the Party who took part in the exercise have described it as “credible and Party friendly”. A former councillor from Ibesikpo ward five Mr. John Job spoke on the exercise: “This exercise is very credible, very transparent and very Party friendly.
Every member of the Party is happy that for once he or she has taken part in deciding who becomes what in the Party. It’s two weeks to the official date for the ward congress but already we’ve known those who are coming in as new executive of the Party. This is really commendable”. The ward chairman of Asutan five, Mr Ubong Jackson Ifot said the exercise has further deepened the bond and strengthen the trust of members and supporters of the Party in the leadership of Prince Uwem Ita Etuk.
A member of the Party from Afaha Udoeyop, Mr. Ubong Jonah observed that the process has allowed people at the grassroots such air of freedom and participation that was lacking in time past. “This is one thing that was lacking in time past. Before now people just emerged as ward executives without having the legitimate backing of the people they represent at the grassroots. This process is credible, it will help deepen democracy at the grassroots. With this process, power has actually returned to the people”. Jonah said the PDP would fair better in future elections if such template of election was adopted at the State level.
A member of the Party from Ikot Oku Akpan, Asutan ward five, Mr. David Effiong while explaining how the exercise was done in his village commended the leader of the Party, Prince Uwem Ita Etuk for giving Party members in the village the liberty to choose their ward officers by themselves. “Two positions, ward Secretary and Ex-officio, were zoned to my village. We met at the village and decided the families the two positions should go to and encouraged people from those families to come out and contest, in the end the entire village voted for those they wanted. This process has reduced unnecessary tension and expenses often associated with the Party’s ward congress”. “By this arrangement, Prince Uwem Ita Etuk has proven his mettle and integrity as a good leader and this honour he has done us will earn the Party more support”, Effiong added.