By Magnus Effiong
Barr Ekpenyong Akiba, Media Aide to the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River state, Senator (Prince) Bassey Otu, has debunked reports alleging that the Senator had withdrawn from the race.
Recall that a withdrawal letter, dated, May 11, 2022 had gone viral, indicating the APC candidate had tendered his withdrawal letter to the party leadership even before the May 26 governorship primary, a development Barr Akiba said was false.
Throwing light on the matter, late Thursday, Barr Akiba described the said letter as a mischievous handwork of the drowning cartel, noting that the said document was attached to nomination and expression of interest forms of all aspirants for House of Assembly, governorship and presidential positions by party leadership.
He explained that all those who bought governorship forms across the country filled, signed and submitted the mandatory withdrawal form, together with other forms, to the party national secretariat and that the mandatory withdrawal form was probably attached as precursor to the consensus arrangement which was in the pipeline.
The media aide said the mandatory withdrawal form was dated May 11, while the primary through which Prince Bassey Otu emerged as candidate took place on May 26, and wondered why mischief makers could be so naïve to spread such falsehood even with dates visible.
To confirm his postulation, Akiba showed our reporter an online version of a photocopy of Senator John Owan Enoh’s withdrawal form filled, signed and submitted by the Senator himself during that period, and therefore called on Cross River state people to disregard any information regarding Sen Otu’s purported withdrawal.
He insisted that “Prince Otu is still in the race and by the grace of God will become the next governor of Cross River state.”
His word: “The letter of withdrawal is a mandatory form accompanied with the nomination and interest form for all APC aspirants. This is in light of the proposed consensus arrangement in fulfilment of the Electoral Act as amended.
“All Aspirants, from President to State House of Assembly, filled and submitted the mandatory withdrawal form alongside the nomination and interest form. It is therefore shocking that mischievous social media agents decided to make it viral to imply that Sen. Bassey Otu has withdrawn from the guber race.”