Home News Governorship Race: Bassey Otu Storms South, Support Base Swells

Governorship Race: Bassey Otu Storms South, Support Base Swells

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By Magnus Effiong

The support base of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Cross River State, Senator Prince Bassey Edet Otu, may have swelled following the massive reception accorded him as his campaign team stormed the southern senatorial district.

The governorship hopeful, who many Cross Riverians nickname ‘Sweet Prince,’ had earlier scaled through all legal hurdles put before him by his opponents, the latest being that of the Appeal Court, last week.

The case, which was instituted by the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Sandy Onor, and his party, had sought Senator Otu’s disqualification from the governorship race but the Appellate Court threw it out for lack of merit and awarded N500,000 against Senator Onor and his party, the PDP.

“The issue of leadership and membership of political parties is an internal affair of a  political party and the court will not interfere in it. The court, therefore, cannot be dragged into the internal issue of ‘if the 3rd defendant is a member of the 1st defendant or not.’ This therefore means that the action of the Appellants is not justiceable.

“This matter is therefore struck out for lacking in merit and a cost of N500,000 awarded against the Appellants” Justice O.F. Omoleye, who delivered the judgement on behalf Justices R.C Agbo, O.F Omoleye and B.B Aliyu, submitted.

The many victories in court may have motivated millions of Cross Riverians across party lines to pledge unflinching support to the APC candidate particularly in the southern senatorial district, where unprecedented mammoth crowd attended the electioneering campaigns rallies.

Our reporter learnt that it was a carnival of sort when the party’s campaign train berthed at Biase, Akampkpa, Bakassi, Akpabuyo and Calabar South within the past few days.

In Biase and Akamkpa local government areas of the state, Governor Ben Ayade had assured party supporters of Senator Otu’s capacity to consolidate on the gains of the current administration, including his industrialization policy, and submitted “Senator Otu is the best man for the job. He is the best Cross River needs to take over from me.”

He emphasized that in line with the Cross River governorship rotational principle, it was the turn of the Southern senatorial district, where Senator Otu hails from, to produce the next governor and therefore urged the people not to be deceived by those, he said, have vowed not to respect the rotational principle.

Assuring the governor of their support for governorship rotation to the Southern Senatorial district, the Paramount Ruler of Biase, His Royal Majesty Onun Apostle Nicholas Odum, said, “the seat is a rotational.

“We cannot be misled. We are with you. In this hall, Donald Duke handed over Liyel Imoke to us, in this same hall, Liyel handed over you (Ayade) to us, and today you have handed over Bassey Otu to us as our Governor. We will follow that”

The story was the same in Akamkpa where the Paramount Ruler, His Royal Majesty Ntufam Emayip Clement Echi-atui, who spoke through HRM Ntufam Stephen Mbey, corroborated what his counterpart in Biase said.

In Bakassi andAkpabuyo, the carnival-like crowd sang and poured encomium on Governor Ayade and his party for choosing the governorship candidate from the South, and thereby pledged to ensure victory for all the candidates of the party.

Speaking, Governor Ayade, who had been physically present in all the campaign rallies, called on the people to vote and support all APC candidates from the presidency to the State House of Assembly.

“Otu is a good man. He is qualified and ready for the job, he is competent, and he has the experience. I ask for your votes for our presidential candidate Sen. Bola Tinubu, our gubernatorial candidate, Sen. Prince Bassey Otu, our Senatorial candidate, Hon. Asuquo Ekpenyong, our House of Represetatives and all other candidates. They are eminently qualified, tried, tested and proven,” he pleaded.

Calabar South was the next local government where Prince Bassey Otu took his ‘People’s First’ campaign message to.

In a rare display of affection and in a carnival like atmosphere, admirers and supporters of  Prince Otu took over the city with assorted types of cultural dances and displays.

The Council of Traditional Rulers were not left out as they unanimously endorsed and gave their royal blessings to the team even as Gov Ayade informed all stakeholders that Prince Otu was coming to consolidate on the gains of his administration and take Cross River State to greater height. 

In his remarks, Senator Otu said, “In my years at the National Assembly, you can all attest to the impact of my representation. When I was in the Senate, I engaged the indigenes into cooperatives, we provided the mechanisms and infrastructures for small scale businesses and in two years, Calabar South became a beehive of successful small scale business owners.

“If I could achieve that level of quality representation at the National Assembly without a budget, imagine what I would accomplish as governor. In the incoming administration, we will build our own Julius Berger, that is, local contractors will be empowered, we will create 18 millionaires every month.  

“You are going to have roads; you are going to have light. I want to assure you that, together, we will build the Cross River of our dreams.”

He thumped up the Governor for his determination in ensuring power returns to the South after sixteen years.

“I would not have been here if not for one man who ignored all pressures, including financial inducement, to stop the back to south agenda. That man is Senator Professor Ben Ayade. He fought for the south and wrote his name in gold. The people of the South will never forget and we are grateful,” he told Gov Ayade.

With the level of support and acceptance of the governorship hopeful across the State, political analysts believe his opponents would have to gather extra strength in the field if they actually intend to upstage a man many see as Governor-In-Waiting.

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