BY UBON EKANEM, CALABAR – The people of Cross River South Senatorial District insist that party affiliations will no longer count in their choice of candidates for all future elections in the State and country.
According to them, regardless of party membership, only credible candidates with integrity and strength of character will henceforth enjoy their support and votes ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Stakeholders in the district, across political party lines, made the vow when Senator Prince Bassey Otu declared his intention to seek the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s senatorial ticket at the State Cultural Centre, Calabar.
At the gathering that had in attendance many chieftains from Nigeria’s two main parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and APC, the stakeholders confessed of learning hard lessons due to the pains of ineffective representation for the senatorial district since Prince Otu vacated the seat following the 2015 general polls.
Speaking at the occasion, an elder Statesman and one-time Minister of Works, High Chief Emmanuel Nsan praised the courage exhibited by Prince Otu in accepting the people’s calls for his return to the upper legislative chamber to provide the desired selfless representation for the Senatorial district.
Dr Nsan, who also served as Minister of Health in the eighties, said given his antecedents, Senator Otu stands out as ‘the reliable and effective voice’ the people can depend on to defend their interests and drive legislative processes on matters affecting the district’s well-being.
The elder statesman said the 2019 general elections in Cross River State would witness a new pattern of voting as party affiliation would not play any major factor, adding that credible and effective representation, irrespective of party platforms, would not be sacrificed for mediocrity.
In his remarks, Senator Prince Bassey Otu said he was humbled by the expression of love by his people and wholeheartedly accepts their call to contest the 2019 Senatorial elections.
According to him, the development is a clear testimony that the people appreciated his little contributions during the brief period he represented the Cross River South senatorial district in the National Assembly.
He appealed to the people to practicalise their show of love towards him by turning out en mass during the elections to cast their votes as such a move would truly demonstrate their desire for a change of representation at the National Assembly.
The occasion also witnessed a rendition of speech by several APC Chieftains among whom, the National vice Chairman South South Zone Prince Hiliard Etta who mocked PDP for failing to give the people effective representation at the National Assembly.
In a related development, the All Progressives Congress Party (APC) has elected Chief Clement Ebri as the Party’s leader in Cross River. The election took place during the inauguration of APC caucus led by the State Chairman, Mr Matthew Achigbe.
The APC’s National Vice Chairman, South South Zone, Prince Hiliard Etta, who made the announcement, said Chief Ebri, a former Cross River Governor, emerged by consensus among stakeholders in the State.
Prince Etta, who used the occasion to formally inaugurate the State APC Caucus, commended party members for their maturity in the choice of the former governor as the caucus leader.