Being the text of a world press conference by distinguished Senator John Owan Enoh, the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Cross River State for the 2019 general election.
Fellow Cross Riverians, gentlemen of the press, ladies and gentlemen, I consider it a great honour to address you today. It is on record that Last Friday 28th December, 2018, I received the flag of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the South-South Zonal rally of the Presidential Campaign in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. This symbolic but highly significant gesture by the national leadership of our party led by His Excellency, Comrade Adams Oshiomole is a mark of faith and confidence in me as the standard bearer of our party in the next year's governorship election in our state. Suffice it to say that the task that lies ahead would require our collective commitment and utmost dedication. The goal is to rescue our dear state from the claws and phalanges of the unbridled maladministration of the past three and half years evidence by the numerous failed and flippant promises. I wish to therefore appeal to those who are aggrieved in our party to bury the hatchet in the interest of our state and come and let us work together on this rescue mission.
My arms are wide open as I extend the desired olive branch to everyone to come together for the redemption of our state. APC in Cross River State is one big family and I believe that our individual grievances and reservations can be well resolved within the party. I call on all my brothers, sisters, friends and fellow compatriots within the APC family in the state to come together and join hands with me to change the ugly narrative in our state at this time. Our state is tittering on the brink of imminent collapse on all fronts and the masses of our people have reposed great trust in us to take on the gauntlet of salvaging them from the current ruinous administration. We cannot afford to fail. All hands must be on deck within our party, driven by unity of purpose and a sense of urgency to restore the lost glory of our dear state. I therefore call on all men and women of goodwill across party lines in the state to join me on this mission. To take our state out of the woods would require an all inclusive engagement with a broad spectrum of our political landscape.
Today, we are faced with a very strange phenomenon where the Paris Club refund and the Federal Government bailout funds meant for developmental purposes and the payment of the backlog of pensions of our retirees are being used to share among our people to buy their votes. May I used this medium to alert Cross Riverians that the current administration in the state has deployed a retinue of its political appointees to engage in this nefarious act of buying their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) to warehouse against the forthcoming election. Our people must be mindful of this undemocratic disposition and should not allow their consciences to be bought with money that rightfully belong to them.
It is vital to note that the 2019 governorship election shall be a referendum on the future of our state. We cannot jeopardise our future on the altar of something akin to the biblical red pottage or immediate gratification. As a people, we must rise above such puerile and infantile politics being orchestrated by people who could barely fund their elections in 2015 but today they are mindlessly dipping their hands in the public tilt in an attempt to buy the consciences of our people with filthy lucre. We cannot afford to compromise the development of our state in exchange for short term gains. If we must collect money from them, let us do so without mortgaging our consciences and with an avowed commitment to vote them out. And we must refuse to sell our PVCs to be warehoused by them. Our people must demonstrate a strong resistance against this ill-will and the resolve to effect the desired change in the 2019 governorship elections.
After several unsuccessful attempts to infiltrate our party with disaffection as well as fan the embers of disunity, the current PDP administration in the state has elevated its petty styled politics to an unprecedented shameful height by engaging some disgruntled elements to destroy our billboards. In some cases, the administration is making up flimsy and unattainable excuses on why our billboards should not be erected in some locations around Calabar metropolis and other places across the state. This is bad and outdated politics to say the least. The All Progressives Congress in Cross River State is herein drawing the attention of the world to the incivility of the current PDP administration in the state and the spirited efforts to stifle the major opposition party. This is flagrant disregard to our fledgling democracy and a terrible injury to well known democratic norms. Under no circumstance should this act of cowardice and unconscionable brigandage be allowed to continue.
We must state in very clear terms that from Wednesday 2nd January, 2019, our advertising agency that have been paid to mount our billboards across Calabar metropolis will be out there to mount them at the lawfully designated locations. We must warn that any attempt to destroy our billboards again will be strongly resisted and the APC in the will stage a state-wide protest against this act of intimidation and injustice. We are therefore calling on all heads of security agencies in the state to brace up to their constitutional responsibilities in maintaining peace and order throughout these electioneering campaigns in the state.
It is worthy of note that the pretentious PDP government in the state seems to be creating the impression that it has a good working relationship with the APC led Federal Government, yet it is up in arms against the same APC at the state level. Nothing can be more deceitful than the idea of inviting Mr President to perform groundbreaking ceremony of a phantom Superhighway project in 2016 and to commission the unworkable rice seedling factory this year, 2018. We are therefore calling on the PDP administration in Cross River State to maintain its clear coloration as an opposition party to the government at the federal level and stop the childish deception. The partisan delineation should be clearly seen and the habit of stocking fire against the opposition in the state and pretending to be hobnobbing with the ruling party at the centre must stop.
The current PDP administration must stop the intimidation and victimization of the genuine supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari. Those who attended the occasion of my declaration to contest for the governorship of the state on 5th September, 2019 at the Federal Government College, Ikom would recall the sad events of that day where agents of the PDP led government fired teargas canisters in their bid to disrupt the event. On this note, we are calling the PDP State Government to quickly learn to play by the rules and stop the threats on opposition, particularly the APC in the state.
We also recall with a deep sense of grieve, the loss of life of a young undergraduate student in Obudu when I embarked on a state-wide consultation as part of the events leading up to my declaration to run for the governorsip of our dear state. The PDP led government in the state had deployed their thugs to stop me and my entourage from entering Obudu. After we left Obudu to Bekwarra, the violent agitation of the PDP thugs resulted in the death of the said undergraduate student. We are calling on the incumbent State Governor who is the chief security officer of the state to desist from sponsoring violence against the major opposition party in the state in his desperate attempt to cling unto power at all cost.
We are calling on the PDP led State Government to urgently check the increasing spate of kidnapping and hostage taking in the state. Recently, a Pastor who had spoken against the current maladministration in the state was kidnapped by suspected agents of the State Government. The Governor must know that the world is watching and he must come out clean on this.
When the people entrust their sacred mandate to anyone, at the end of the term, the individual must as a matter of necessity seek re-election on the basis of his or her performance. The ethnic cards being played around at this time to retain power is a grave insult on the psyche and intelligence of Cross Riverians. In the previous democratic administrations in the state, it can be said unequivocally that no one rose to power on the back of ethnic sentiments. The abysmal performance of the current PDP administration in the state is an attestation to the fact that we simply embarked on a journey that never worked and we cannot continue the same way. On this note, our people must understand that where an individual comes from is not as important as his deliverables to the people. Government is a social contract where the people must get their due. Unfortunately, the current PDP administration has failed woefully to deliver the goods. Cross Riverians have always been at one with themselves. Our diversity is the source of our strength and we will remain one indivisible state, irrespective of the disparity in language and tribe. No one should be allowed to add ethnic coloration to our body polity at this time. Our people must rise above such bizarre and primordial sentiments.
The crux of the matter at this time should not be so much about where an individual comes from more than his vision for the state and his track record and capacity to deliver on his promises. The fundamental issue is the soul of our state and what we actually represent as a people in the comity of states in Nigeria. Cross River State is a place where so much is expected of us. We've made great impact in the past and our people are well known for excellence and sterling performance. Unfortunately, our progress is being retarded at this time and we are obviously wallowing in retrogression in all indices of human development.
In closing, I must reiterate the fact that Cross River State belongs to all of us and the democratic space must be open for all to aspire to serve without intimidation and oppressive tendencies.
Thanks so much and God bless Cross River State.