By Magnus Effiong
Leaders and people of Akpabuyo and Bakassi local government areas have risen in support of a frontline aspirant for the southern senatorial district seat, Chief Victor Efiom Ekpo, who is contesting under the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in next year’s polls.
Our reporter, who monitored unfolding political events in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, reported that the aspirant had, last week, formally consulted the APC leaders at the State level to make his intention known.
Chief Ekpo also consulted party leaders from Akpabuyo and Bakassi on Monday in what turned out to be a carnival of sort with mammoth crowd welcoming the Transformation Campaign Train of the aspirant to their area, affirming their unalloyed support.
Addressing Bakassi leaders who had the Council Chairman, Hon Iyadim Iyadim and member representing the area in the House of Assembly, Rt Hon Ekpo Ekpo Bassey, in attendance, Chief Efiom said, “I came here to identify with Bakassi people who had suffered so much due to the ceding of the peninsular.
“Bakassi matter will be one of my cardinal focuses and it is an agenda which I will pursue with everything in me when I get to the Senate. I am determined to seek ways of laying the ghost of the ceding of our cherished peninsular to rest properly. We will sit together and discuss Bakassi deeply and sincerely.”
At Akpabuyo, the crowd, which filled to the brim the APC Secretariat in the area, sang praises of the aspirant and described him as their own. They pledged their support but said there were challenges they would want the aspirant to handle when he finally arrives the Abuja Red Chamber.
Speaking, Chief Ekpo said “ I am not here today to seek for delegates but to thank those who have suffered so much for APC. I came here to see the entire APC supporters and members in Akpabuyo and to let them know of our intention to represent them in Abuja.
“I have capacity to represent you well and so please do not make mistakes and do not allow anyone to intimidate you with empty promises.”
Earlier, the Chairman of the Victor Efiom Ekpo Transformation Campaign Council, Chief Ntete Bassey Duke, who is also an indigene of the area, assured the people of the ability of the aspirant to deliver.
“Those who know me know that I do not identify with people anyhow, I do not talk anyhow, but for me to accept heading Chief Victor’s Campaign team is a statement that we have a good material that will do us proud at the Senate.
“I would never bring to you a bad product, please do not put me to shame. Vote enmass for Chief Victor Efiom Ekpo,” Chief Ntete Duke pleaded.
In her remarks, Commissioner for local government affairs and wife of the celebrated aspirant, Hon Stella Odey-Ekpo, described her husband as ‘principled, accountable and hospitality personified” with compassion for the down-trodden.
“My husband is the Mesiah we need in this dispension as far as southern senatorial district is concerned. He has the energy to deliver and is not new to the National Assembly,” Mrs Efiom Ekpo stated.
The Chairman of Akpabuyo Council, Hon. Emmanuel Offiong Bassey, who also spoke, said “I know it is not yet time for actual campaign but when you get the ticket, we shall enumerate our challenges to you.
“One of the challenges is that during elections conducted by INEC, the votes from the former three wards of Akpabuyo, which are now in Bakassi, are still counted for Akpabuyo.
“The only way to solve that problem is at the National Assembly and we hereby plead that when you get there, please, let this ambiguity be removed. With Chief Ntete Duke as your campaign manager, you have already taken Akpabuyo.”