By Magnus Effiong, Calabar
Against the backdrop of a viral petition alleging that a frontline governorship hopeful of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Prince Bassey Edet Otu was an ex-convict, the Senator, who once represented Cross River South in the Senate, has said he never, in all his life, stood trial in any court of law to defend either his action or character.
Recall that the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Cross River had last week declared Senator Otu as the party consensus candidate, and few days later, the anonymous petition surfaced.
However, in a press conference in Calabar, Senator Otu, who his admirers and supporters nicknamed ‘Sweet Prince,’ said security agencies were on a lookout for the petitioners to ascertain how they came by such unfounded allegation.
He said: “Law enforcement agencies are on a lookout for those behind that petition but there is no trace yet. I have never, at any time, defrauded either anybody or employers, rather I have letters of encomiums and promotion.
“I served Mercantile Bank meritoriously. I do not know who fabricated that issue. Somebody brought it up some years ago as a rumour and I was asked questions during a screening. By the time I presented my papers, the people themselves were ashame of even mentioning such issue.
“Let me say here that such a thing never happened. I have never been taken to court on any issue; I have never appeared in court to answer questions about my character or action. I have lived above board right from my school days in all the institution I attended.”
Otu promised to revisit ceding of Cross River’s 76 oil well to Akwa Ibom, saying, “I am aware of the loss of Bakassi to Cameroon, I am aware of the taking away of our 76 oil wells. The Bakassi matter has not ended and I also believe the matter of the 76 oil wells has not closed. We shall revisit the case.
“I say again that up till date the issue of Bakassi has not been settled and the amount of money that France and other nations are making from our Bakassi is something that we cannot continue to fold our arms and watch.
“I believe that we’ll revisit the Green Tree Agreement and we’ll follow up that case. I also believe that even in the oil well issue we will need a second hearing. We understand the pains that Cross Riverians are going through because most of the commitments that were done by the earlier governments were done on the fact that we had revenue streams that were coming from these 76 oil wells.
“And when those things were taken away, of course the carpet was pulled off our feet. Because of that the state has been burden by most of the debts that we face today.”
He also said he would “build on the human capital development which governor Ayade has started,” adding “I personally don’t want anybody in Cross River State to go asleep hungry. We want to build strong citizens that can compete and contest anywhere.”
The press conference came shortly after the governorship hopeful was received by his teeming supporters.
The reception was few days after the leadership of the APC, in a stakeholders meeting in Abuja, declared him the party’s consensus candidate. Chief Chris Agara and Sen John Owan Enoh have, however, rejected the outcome of the Abuja meeting