By Magnus Effiong
A socio-political youth group, Fusion 196, has warned former governor Donald Duke to desiste forthwith from vitriolic verbal attack on Gov Ben Ayade.
The group said it would have no option than to drag the former governor to court if such attack continues.
The group, which cuts across all the 196 political wards of the State and aims at mobilising support for the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Prince Bassey Edet Otu, said this in Calabar during a press conference.
Reading from a prepared text, Fusion 196 Secretary, Apostle Christopher Ben, described Duke’s alleged attack on Ayade and his support to the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party PDP as unfortunate.
“As a failed national politician, he is playing an egocentric politics if not why has he seen Sen. Ayade in a bad light just at this moment when he earlier eulogized his industrial revolution and innovation?” the group asked rhetorically.
Fusion 196 described Mr. Duke’s speech as “very undignifying,” saying such utterances were capable of inciting violence in the state that could lead to a breakdown of law and order.
The group pledged unalloyed support to Gov Ben Ayade and commended him for standing stoutly for the Back to South agitation of most Cross River people.
“In profound solidarity, we stand with the governor who is the real unifying figure in Cross River State having braced all odds to ensure equity prevails for Southern Senatorial District.
“We also want to use this press conference to encourage the youths to rise up, stand strong and be counted in moments of furry against Senator Prof. Benedict Ayade who has come to open up opportunities for youths against the establishment,” the statement read in part.
In his reactions, Barr Ekoenyong Akiba, media aide to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the State, said their interest in the matter was based on the fact that the alleged verbal vituperation was an attack on the seat of the Governor of Cross River State and not on Gov Ayade as a person.
“If this campaign of calumny, I mean this attack which borders on character assassination continues, Cross River youths would have no option than to approach the court of law. A stitch in time, they say, saves nine. Former Gov Duke should call himself to order,” Barrister Akiba warned.
Barr Akiba explained further that the Back to South agenda, with Prince Otu as the flag bearer of the party, is a non-negotiable agitation for fairness and equity for the good of the State.