The House Leader, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Udo Kierian Akpan has been fingered in a thuggery scandal.
Udo Kierian is a third-term Member, Oruk Anam State Constituency in the State Assembly.
In the PDP councillorship primaries conducted on Thursday, August 20, 2020, 18 suspected thugs were allegedly arrested by security operatives, while conveying in a bus owned by the House Leader.
Udo Kierian’s Driver, Umaro Robinson was said to have been the driver of the white Hilux bus with registration number: 56A-04AK.
Sources told a team of journalists that the suspects were taken to Ikot Akpan Abia where they allegedly confessed of having been on their way to Oruk Anam.
We learnt their mission was to scuttle the PDP councillorship primary in Ward 11, formerly Ward 9 of the area so as to stop the emergence of the main contender and two-term councillor, Hon. Festus Sunday who is said to have left the good books of the House Leader.
Ward 11 is the ward of the PDP Senatorial Vice Chairman, Akwa Ibom Northwest Senatorial (Ikot Ekpene) District, Pastor Cletus Eshiet.
Pastor Cletus who is named as one of those in the journey, had allegedly escaped being arrested with 18 others, having jumped out of the vehicle, while they were intercepted by the police.
Sources told reporters that it was a conspiracy against Festus Sunday whom they described as being unsupportive of the forth term bid of Mr Udo Kierian.
Accordingly, Udo Kierian Akpan is said to have begun putting things on ground to work towards returning to the House of Assembly in 2023.
Kierian is said to have told his kinsmen that he needs to return to the House in 2023 so as to succeed as the next Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
Their preferred aspirant, we learnt, was Mr Uyobong Michael Unanam who is believed to be a relative of Pastor Cletus Eshiet.
Udo is said to have learnt a helping hand to ensure that Eshiet’s preferred aspirant succeeded at the councillorship primary.
But as his people were arrested in Uyo, it became difficult for the plot to manifest as Festus Sunday led the poll with over 700 votes, while Uyobong scored a little above 300.
In Udo’s Ward 12, formerly Ward 10, the councillorship aspirant emerged unopposed as all other contenders were screened out.
Meanwhile, sources have said the lawmaker had paid so much to ensure the operatives do away with evidence of those who were arrested.
Contacted for his side of the story, Rt. Hon. Udo Kierian admitted that his driver was actually among those being arrested.
Contacted, the Leader of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Udo Kieran noted that although his driver was arrested over issues of alleged thuggery during the councillorship primary, he was not involved in the scandal.
He said, “My driver has a brother who is a sitting councillor now and he contested election. If my driver goes to help his brother, what should I do?
“Yes, my driver was arrested in Uyo. He was with his brother going to his Ward in Oruk Anam. They said he was with thugs. I don’t understand what that means. I am yet to get into that matter.”
Udo Kieran who insisted that Councillorship election does not merit much interest from him to the extend of importing thugs, said that he has never been linked to thuggery throughout his three time contest as House member.
When asked what he has done after his driver was arrested as a thuggery suspect, the lawmaker said, “What should I do? I have told you my position. I have my reason to release my driver to go for his brother’s election. His brother was contesting. So he was leading thugs to his brother election to go and do what? People should not use my name in those kind of issues please.”
Meanwhile, the Police Public Relations Officer, Akwa Ibom State Command, DSP Frederick N’Nudam has denied knowledge of the development.
He said he would call relevant offices of the police command to ascertain the facts of the matter.