There are more plans drawn up for Senator Albert Akpan’s planned maiden constituency briefing and empowerment programme slated for next month, April, than would be listed on the programme of the event.
A member of the event’s planning committee who did not want to be named alleged that Senator Bassey Albert has adopted a plot to mobilise students indiscriminately from tertiary institutions across the State to the event to serve as claquers to awe the Governor into his second term gambit.
The source claimed that the Senator wants to use the hired crowd to stampede the Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel and State leadership of the PDP into rescinding their earlier decision to apply themselves strictly to zoning in the next general election.
“The senator has given us a marching order to ensure that the stadium is filled up no matter what it takes. As we speak, the committee has settled for mobilising students from tertiary institutions to the stadium”.
“He wants to show the Governor that he has a support base, so that the Governor and the party may rethink the decision to abide by zoning”, the source added.
The source further alleged that Bassey Albert has authorised mobilisation and funding of youth groups mostly from Uyo federal constituency to produce campaign materials endorsing his second term bid.
The people of Uyo federal constituency have claimed it is their turn to produce senator in 2019.
Our reporter gathered that Senator Albert has lobbied and won the State Chairman of his PDP, Obong Paul Ekpo, to his side on his second term bid, and is banking on the party chairman to persuade the Governor to endorse him at the April 14 event.
It was reported earlier this year that Senator Bassey Albert had promised to support Obong Paul Ekpo, to succeed him if Ekpo manipulates the party processes to facilitate his return to the senate in 2019. None of them has denied this claim.
Investigation also reveals that Senator Bassey Albert has mobilised leadership and principal officers of the Senate for the event for the purpose of joining the claquers that will fill the Uyo township stadium, proposed venue for the event, to entreat the Governor to adopt him for a second term.
“It is true that some high profile politicians have been arranged to speak in support of the senator’s second term bid”, a member of the planning committee admitted.
Our reporter gathered that Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki is expected to commission and unveil Senator Albert’s empowerment items which include mini-buses, cars, work tools, and grants.
Senator Bassey Albert’s planned second term has been vehemently protested by stakeholders and members of his party across the senatorial district.
However, the people of Uyo federal constituency, who say Senator Bassey Albert would be running against the zoning arrangement of the senatorial seat have been the most vociferous in the protest.
Political leader of the federal constituency and immediate past state chairman of the PDP, Prince Uwem Ita Etuk said it would be “too risky” to field Senator Bassey Albert for a second term.
Etuk had said his party would not have a clean sweep in the coming election if it does not field a candidate from Uyo federal constituency for the Uyo senatorial seat for the 2019 election.
Stakeholders of the PDP in Uyo Federal Constituency had warned on a February 21, 2018 meeting that the federal constituency will not concede the Uyo senatorial seat to any federal constituency in 2019.
The stakeholders emphasised that their stand on the senate seat was “non-negotiable, [and] if PDP should not give the senatorial ticket to someone from Uyo federal constituency, voters in the federal constituency will give support to anyone from their root” irrespective of the party in the senatorial election.
The leaders of the federal constituency stressed that going by extant zoning of the seat among the three federal constituencies in the senatorial district, it is the turn of Uyo federal constituency in 2019.
Governor Udom Emmanuel had said on Wednesday March 14, 2018 during a meeting with the people of Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo local government areas that zoning would be upheld in the party primaries.
“I will follow zoning to the latter. If you know zoning does not favour you, please don’t bother spending money, don’t later tell me that you sold your house and other properties to contest election. I am saying it now very loud and clear, so that you don’t say you did not hear”.
Earlier this year, the State caucus of the PDP rising from a meeting held on Saturday January 20, 2018 at Government House Uyo, directed all organs of the party to fully implement zoning in their respective constituencies.
“The caucus reaffirmed the Party’s belief and need to strictly enforce the zoning/rotation principle of the Party on all elective positions and direct all the organs and leadership of the Party to implement it fully in all constituencies”, the caucus resolved.
Senator Bassey Albert, a former Commissioner for Finance in Akwa Ibom State and one time governorship aspirant is reportedly under by the Special Fraud Office (SFO) of the UK over “unexplained wealth”.
He is being investigated for properties owned in the UK.
Senator Albert has also been linked in an on going $1.6billion oil fraud involving Jide Omokore.
On Thursday March 1, 2018, a fifth prosecution witness, Oloyede Olawale, in a $1.6billion fraud trial involving Jide Omokore, an ally of former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison Madueke, before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja, named Bassey Albert among those who were given cars from money of stolen crude oil fund.
The witness further told the court that several exotic cars were supplied to individuals on the order of Omokore.
Sonni Daniels of Vanguard newspaper quoted the witness to have said, ‘We supplied 23 cars to Adamu Muazu, among them were 5 Land Cruiser Jeeps.
We also supplied 25 cars to Prince Uche Secondus by order of Omokore and we also supplied 9 vehicles to Albert Bassey’, the Vanguard reported on March 1.