Members of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) from Eket Senatorial District have raised the alarm over what they termed as recalcitrant conduct bordering on hoarding of electoral forms, corruption and bribery by the incumbent chairman of the union, Comrade Etim Ukpong.
In an interview with newsmen, the First Vice Chairman of the Union, Eket Branch, Mr Itauma Bassey Umen, alleged that Mr Etim Ukpong who is also the State Chairman of NLC, is perverting the electoral processes which are clearly contradictions to the provisions of the law.
According Mr Itauma, “There was a zoning arrangement signed by elders and leaders of that union that Uyo Senatorial District, having completed two terms of chairmanship position in April 2017, would handover to Eket Senatorial District to produce the next chairman of the Akwa Ibom State chapter of NUT.
But that arrangement has been flouted by the incumbent chairman, Comrade Etim Ukpong, who wants to go for second term against the wishes of the people and agreement.
“On behalf of Eket Senatorial District, we really feel aggrieved and marginalised. We will not fold our arms to watch the right of Eket Senatorial District being taken away by other people. That forms the basis of this protest.
“Mr Etim Ukpong is there for his personal interest and not for the benefit of the rest of the teachers in other senatorial districts. Based on this, the agreement that was signed by all the leaders and elders of NUT, it is the wish of Eket Senatorial District that the agreement be respected to the later.”
On the performance of the chairman in the last four years, the Vice Chairman said: “His performance in the last four years is nothing to write home about based on the reaction of the teachers in the whole state. There have been series of complaints that he is not protecting the interest of the teachers as expected.”
“If he is allowed to perpetuate his second term ambition, it will cause chaos in the country. We will let the world know about what is going on here because NUT is an international body and not a personal interest.”
Some of the areas they need a resolve include restoring the legacies of the founding fathers of the union which is Truth, Justice, Fair play and Equity; checkmating the attempt by Etim Ukpong to ridicule the integrity of the elders of the union in Akwa Ibom State by negating the well-thought out MoU drawn in order to maintain the peace and cohesiveness in the state council.
They are also demanding that teaches be granted access to electoral forms. “Teachers were supposed to have access to the forms so that whoever wants to contest can pick up the form. Inability to purchase the form renders you ineligible to contest. Right now, Comrade Etim Ukpong is hoarding the forms. Also, having enriched himself illegally, he has bribed some elders of the union state wide in order to have his way.
“Most of the allowances and entitlements that should be paid to the branches which is statutory have not been made for more than two years now. The election is scheduled for 26 April and up till now, no panel has been set up to that effect. Some teachers attempted to pick up the form but were denied access.”
The union however, commended the Executive Governor of the State, His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel, for his performance most especially for the teachers, noting that “We hold him in high esteem the performance of the Governor in the short period he has spent in office especially the teachers. Teachers are paid as at when due.”