By Our Reporter
In a bid to ensure unity of purpose and uncompromising equation in the Cross River politics, the people of Upland Bloc of Bakassi local government area have unanimously elected Rt. Hon (Dr.) Ekpo Ekpo Bassey as the leader of their Bloc.
Our reporter gathered that Dr. Ekpo Ekpo’s election came after the Bakassi Upland Bloc Stakeholders resolved, in a meeting, to have a dynamic leadership structure that would provide the much needed direction to the people of the Bloc, to enable them advance the cause of their political, social and economic development.
The Ikang Ita, which is the umbrella body of the Political Wards (Communities) that provides the geographical location of which the present day Bakassi Local Government Area is situated, arrived at the above position, after they had thoroughly assessed how they fare in their union with the Riverine Bloc of the Council area.
Shortly after the election, the Bloc Stakeholders charged Dr Bassey to ensure that he gets them to work in oneness, stand in for them in every fora, protect their interest and strive for equitable distribution of all opportunities that accrue to the LGA between the Upland and Riverine Blocs.
They pledged to respect Dr. Ekpo Ekpo and support him to succeed in the task ahead, and expressed their believe that the Bloc would produce the next Council Chairman since the Riverine have taken their turn in the person of the current chairman.
In his response, Dr Bassey lauded the Upland Stakeholders for identifying him to lead them, and pledged to work for them and ensure that issues of marginalization of the Bloc in the LGA is laid to eternal rest.
He said his mandate would cut across politics and every other sector that could promote their well-being and that collectively, they would demonstrate to the world that the votes in Bakassi LGA comes from the Upland Bloc.
It could be recalled that the International Court of Justice verdict had granted the sovereignty over Bakassi Peninsula to the Republic of Cameroon but in order to accommodate the displaced people of Bakassi who still paid allegiance to Nigeria, Law Nos. 7 of 2007 was enacted by The Cross River State House of Assembly.
This Law adjusted the boundaries of the then Akpabuyo Local Government Area and created the Bakassi LGA with three wards from former Akpabuyo.
The adjustment to the boundaries had the three Ikang Wards (refered to as Ikang Ita) of then Akpabuyo LGA, divided into ten Political Wards that makes Bakassi LGA presently.
The Political Wards so created accommodated both the bonafide owners of the location (Ikang Ita) which formed the Upland Bloc and their brothers from the ceded Bakassi, which formed the Riverine Bloc.
The marriage so established was to share all opportunities open to the LGA in a 50:50 ratio, maintain the numerical numbering (Ward1-10) as the names of the Political Wards and ensure harmonious living relationship between the Upland and Riverine People.
But the Ikang Ita Stakeholders said the reverse has now become the case, alleging that the Riverine Bloc, relying on the sentiment of being the real owners of the ceded Bakassi, exploits all that accrues to the LGA.
The Stakeholders called on INEC to honour and implement the Supreme Court Judgement, which upheld Cross River State Law Nos. 7 of 2007.
They pointed out that INEC’s refusal to delineate constituencies and recognize the Wards as created by the referenced law, is not only illegal but worrisome, confusing and that it promote voter apathy and political disunity in the LGA.
According to them, INEC was still maintaining the names of the political Wards of the ceded Bakassi in running electioneering activities in the new LGA.
The leaders however appealed to INEC to respect the law and ensure that all issues regarding the use of voters card code 04 and 03 for Elections in the present day Bakassi LGA are permanently resolved.
They reiterated their unflinching support for the”Back to South” Agenda, which calls for the governorship of Cross River State to be returned to the Southern Senatorial District of the State.