December 4, 2022

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How Prince Otu Will Become Next C’River Governor -Ekpenyong

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Ekpenyong Akiba Ekpenyong, media aide to Senator Prince Bassey Otu, the gubernatorial candidate of the APC in Cross River State, believes that his party has better chances of winning next year’s election. He told GODWIN AJOM in this interview that the back to south mantra of the party was adopted for the sake of equity and justice.

 

Excerpts:

The APC has not started campaigns in our state. Why?
I am aware that the leadership of APC in Cross River State is currently composing a campaign council membership and after that, they will be formally inaugurated and after that they will be a publicly known timetable when our campaign activities will begin in earnest. But as we speak, we are campaigning because this election in 2023 will signify one-man, one-vote.

 

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The APC has been talking about back to south for a very long time now, especially for the governorship election. The focus has been on power shift to the south. What are you people afraid of?
Governance requires a peaceful atmosphere. Don’t forget that politics is a game of numbers and requires a majority. And in this situation, there are some senatorial districts that would never produce a governor for ever, the moment two senatorial districts permanently align against it, they would never do. All that we need to do is to unite in one purpose against a senatorial district and that would be unstable for our democracy.

 

 

Transition would be shaken and won’t be seamless, it won’t be peaceful. I am not speaking doom, but where there is no equitable representation by way of leadership, you have to expect instability. The present uprising in the south-eastern part of Nigeria is a question of representative leadership. That’s how it began, it’s a question of giving to us what we deserve, and the moment you don’t allow fairness to thrive even in political positions, you are sitting on a time bomb. If rotational politics was nothing to care about, why do we now have the PDP that has murdered zoning, presenting its deputy governorship candidate from the south? They would have settled for a deputy governor still in central, if rotational politics was nothing to bother about. But the confirmation that rotational politics is sacrosanct made them come back south, having stolen the mandate of the south and betrayed the south, made them to come back to south for recovery. So the dangers of uncertainty, disunity and enmity and separation and lack of confidence in the state polity are presented by the refusal of power rotation. Even in the country today, Governor Nyesom Wike is not allowing PDP to sleep because PDP has murdered sleep by intending to retain power in the north, when we are currently having a northern president. That is why PDP is already failing before the Election Day in the country. So in Cross River State, we have won this election ahead of the election.

 

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Do you think that with the current hardship attributed to the APC across the country, APC will still retain power in Cross River State in 2023?
We must agree that political parties are not living beings; they don’t talk like we are talking, neither do they eat nor breath. So, until we separate political parties from what we are, we will continue to believe that political parties are the reasons for hardship, hunger, insecurity and unemployment. We must separate what a political party is and what we are because if I take you on that, Atiku was in ACN but today he is in PDP. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu today is in APC, yesterday he was in ACN. There was a time when Tinubu was in AD. Even Peter Obi today who is in the Labour Party, is that what he was yesterday? No. I can go on and on. So, political parties are mere vehicles. People are beginning to understand that the problem we have today is not the political party, it has to do with the persons at the helm of affairs. I don’t accept that the problem of this country is a child given birth to by APC. Nigeria requires a total overhaul, and that has to be a collective responsibility beyond ethnic, tribal, religious and political dichotomy; it will be a collective responsibility. What we are facing today is global. Don’t isolate it today to Cross River or Nigeria, or even Africa alone. In the entire world this is the first time we have experienced Covid-19. It has never been there. Covid-19 also confronted governance globally. As much as APC has the question of what has been delivered governmentally in the past seven years, we the people must also set aside individuals, taking into consideration that this APC today contains both those who were in the party that led us into this mess and those who weren’t. We shouldn’t take all the blame, we should share the blame. This administration in the country has made significant progress in infrastructural development. Our interest should be on what individuals have to offer, irrespective of their parties. Senator Bassey Otu has been a representative in the House of Representatives, where he headed committees including the committee on petroleum upstream, power, water and so much more and later the Senate where he was chairman Senate committee on finance, banking and other financial institutions.

 

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Why do you think the North and Central will support Prince Otu?
Because of the desire to get things right. The present generation of young people and the elders from the central and the north are saying that they will not be running against the tide. So those circumstances and issues and arguments stand in favour of Prince’s ambition which is that the northern people, having enjoyed reasonable support from the south, with all amount of humility, the governor was able to go for a second term because of the support from the south who insisted on fairness. And that they are ready to do so by the ballot. So for me, the northern Cross River is a strong hold for Prince Otu. Don’t forget that the sitting governor is from the north, the party state chairman is from the north. They are ready to deliver our mandate and we have a youthful deputy governorship candidate, Peter Odey from the same north. So the north will not fail to support the south. The central is a very conscious senatorial district as far as politics in Cross River state is concerned. And in the central, they have confirmed that they had their eight years through Senator Liyel Imoke, so that by way of succession they will take over from the south after eight years. Those are the dynamics that will give us victory in the north and central. We have a crop of young people who are ready to secure their future, because the moment they betray the rotation of power, it will eat into the future generation, who are the younger generation who will now have to wait for another 32 years because when you fail to maintain this rotational politics, from 1999 to today is 23 years; if you make any mistake and add 16 plus 16 again, then we are heading to extinction. So what will frustrate the PDP’s agenda in Cross River state is the younger generation, who are determined to ensure that rotational politics will give room for peaceful transition and generational succession, without any disappointment.

 

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What do you think Cross River state needs now to move forward?
First, we must do our best to populate the value chain of this administration. People are not celebrating Ayade as they ought to celebrate him, in my opinion. But in the coming years, by the time we invest, by the time we add to the industrial foundation he has laid in Cross River ensuring that those Industries function maximally, our young people will be employed and we begin to deal with trade and investments, nationally and internationally. We must deliberately do our best, to ensure that projects by this government, having invested so much in them, must be completed, must begin to function, because that is tax payers’ money, ensure completion of all existing projects so that we will be able to tackle unemployment as a state. We have to encourage and prioritize skills acquisition and development, sports, rural infrastructure development and position our young people to begin to earn a living.

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