A chieftain of the Young Progressives Party, Barr Alexander Asuquo has said that his decision to dump the Governorship candidate of his party in the forthcoming elections is because he is a convict and is constitutionally barred from assuming office even if he were to be elected.
In a media briefing in Uyo, Barr Asuquo said “as much as we value loyalty to the party and its ideals no matter how diluted, we cannot in good conscience vote or encourage you to vote for a candidate who would throw our dear state into a state of legal uncertainty.”
He maintained that “by deciding to swim and sink with a convict rather than taking steps to have him replaced with a credible candidate, YPP as a party has failed its supporters.
For him, “we cannot base our decision to vote for Sen. Bassey Albert on the possibility of a successful criminal appeal. The fact that he is on a post-conviction bail does not restore his presumption of innocence having already been disqualified by reason of his conviction.
“It is disappointing that YPP as a party failed to invoke the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 on substitution of candidate by substituting the convicted candidate with a credible candidate.
“What is the need of electing a governor who cannot be sworn in unless and until the Court of Appeal sets aside the judgement of the trial court?
“What is the possibility of the criminal appeal being determined within the next three to four years?
“It is unfortunate that despite our promise of a ballot revolution, we have only ended up with a convict in the ballot who cannot even address us physically at campaigns.
“At this point I can authoritatively say that any vote for YPP in the governorship election is a wasted vote. This conclusion is drawn from the fact that even if he wins, he cannot be sworn in as a Governor. His criminal appeal will take a minimum of three years to be determined.
“It makes no sense to vote for such a candidate. It is absurd to imagine that we will deliberately vote for someone who if he wins will either be governing us from the correctional facility or confined to his house pending his appeal which may or may not succeed.
He furthered that , “since bail pending appeal was granted under the exceptional circumstance of ill-health, YPP governorship candidate needs to confine himself ostensibly to receive treatment until he gets well enough to go back to the correctional center.”
“We refuse to be misled by his campaign which wants us to waste our votes on him for their own selfish ends. We refuse to exchange the future of our state with sentiment that is fed by deliberate misrepresentation.
“As lovers of this great state, we will not directly or indirectly contribute to any legal battle at the expense of the state’s resources knowing that in the unlikely event that Sen. Albert emerges the winner of the 2023 governorship election, various parties will approach the court to ensure that he is not sworn in as governor.
“His victory would amount to a pyrrhic victory for our party. A huge waste of efforts by those of you who one way or the other have demonstrated loyalty, passion and service to the party. Like all of us in the party, you have sacrificed so much already for the party. You did this because you have faith in the party. You believe in a better Akwa Ibom State where service to the people is placed first,” he concluded.