A socio-political group, Ibom Collective, has called on the gubernatorial candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) Senator Bassey Albert to withdraw from the governorship race to save the State from unnecessary ridicule.
Addressing a press conference in Uyo, the National Coordinator of the Group, Barrister Mfoniso Ukpong said the participation of the YPP governorship candidate in the race will bring Akwa Ibom State and her citizens ridicule and opprobrium.
It will be recalled that Senator Bassey Albert was last December convicted of money laundering. Justice Agatha Okeke of the Federal High Court, Uyo sentenced him to 42 years imprisonment in a case brought against the Senator by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Senator Albert was subsequently granted bail from Ikot Ekpene Correctional Centre on health grounds. He has since continued his campaign to become the Governor of Akwa Ibom State.
However the Ibom Collective thinks Senator Albert is not fit to be the Governor of Akwa Ibom State. According to Barrister Ukpong, “Section 182 (d) of the Constitution makes it impossible for any convict to become the governor and that is the Constitution of the land.”
“Even without going into legal arguments, it is unacceptable for the great State of Akwa Ibom to be governed by a convict. That is why we demand the immediate withdrawal of Senator Albert from the gubernatorial race.
“Akwa Ibom is blessed with an array of smart and intelligent men and women who can provide sterling leadership to the State and it will be unconscionable for the State to give her mandate to a convicted felon to lead the rest of us.
“What should be uppermost in the mind of our brother, Senator Bassey Albert is to clear his name of the charges of money laundering and permanently secure his freedom and not political power.
“We urge Akwa Ibom citizens to be wise in choosing a successor to Governor Udom Emmanuel and not cast their lot with someone who is tainted by corruption. We deserve more and the very best amongst us,” the group said.