• Disgraces Moses Ekpo
Ahead of the December 2 Local Government election in the state, the flagbearer of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP for Abak Local Government Area, Sir Gabriel Etim has been dropped.
He has been substituted with Barr. Imoh Williams.
Etim was recently embroiled in a fraud scandal dating back to when he served in the Pension Board in SUBEB.
According to reports, four persons involved in the alleged pension fraud were arrested and detained by the DSS for interrogation and investigation. Sir Etim was also quizzed by the security outfit.
He is alleged to have inflated government payroll with ghost names including the names of all his children and also secretly covered those whose spouses worked as primary school teachers to keep collecting pension even when their spouses died several years ago.
Sir Gabriel Etim who retired as a director in Akwa Ibom State Universal Basic Education Board had denied all the allegations leveled against him.
Though there were pockets of protests when Etim emerged as PDP flagbearer, according to information made available to us, his substitution might not be unconnected to the scandal.
We have authoritatively gathered that Ekpo was instrumental to the emergence of Etim as the flag-bearer despite protests from other aspirants who contested for the ticket.
The number two citizen in the State was said to have argued that Etim is his only slot after he failed to produce another anointed candidate as a councillorship candidate from his ward.
It was further gathered that in the wake of the protests by the aspirants allegedly supported by elected and political appointees from Abak, PDP succumbed to the pressure and dumped the Deputy Governor’s candidate, a development said to be a slap on him.
In the place of Etim is a retired Director in SUBEB, one Barr. Imoh William has been nominated to fly the party flag. William is said to be generally accepted by other aspirants and other elders of the party including elected and appointed office holders.
Meanwhile, the last minute dumping of Etim is unconnected to the current investigation by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and other security agencies over alleged abuse of office during his time at SUBEB.
A source had told us that Etim had been under investigation since he was arrested at a point of submitting his documents at AKISIEC.