By Kelvin Obambon
A political support group, the Prince Otu/Odey Support Organization (POOSO), has decried what it calls the dangerous infusion of ethnicity and violence into the political campaigns of Peoples Democratic Party’s governorship candidate, Senator Sandy Onor.
It noted with dismay that the peace and stability Cross River has been enjoying over the years is now under threat as the divisive narrative engraved in Onor’s Ejagham chauvinism is tearing apart the fabric that binds the state together.
POOSO, whose position was articulated at a press conference in Calabar Tuesday, maintained that historically, Ejagham and Efik have coexisted peaceful and that none of their politicians has ever exploited ethic gaps for political advantage, but rather politics in the state has always been played at the senatorial district level, especially with regards to the governorship seat.
By this understanding, the group affirmed in a position paper read by its Secretary, Chief Edwin Usang, that the back to south was devoid of ethnic inclination, stating that advocacy at such level is in the interest of the southern senatorial district as a whole.
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“The PDP Governorship Candidate, Sen. Sandy Onor, his focus has been to initiate and project desperate measures to the campaigns. He was first in the court to see how to bring Sen. Prince Otu down over spurious claims.
“Having failed in that attempt, he now resorts to playing the ethnic card and recently the violence option, as the last straw to cling on for his existence in the Governorship race. Thankfully, while this lasted, the popularity index of Sen. Prince Bassey Otu surges.
“Prof. Sandy Onor was quoted as saying somewhere for instance, that the Southern Senatorial District has produced all the Vice Chancellors in the University of Calabar. But he forgets that two of those VCs are/were of Ejagham extractions; that is Late Prof. Charles Effiong and Late Prof. Bassey Asuquo, just as Prof. Kelvin Etta from the Central Senatorial District is also of Ejagham.
“Seeds of discord and hatred which Sen. Onor’s style of politics portrays have never led any society to sustainable peace and development but of backwardness, underdevelopment and the attendant disintegration.
“Historically speaking, until Sen. Onor’s emergence as PDP Governorship Candidate and his campaign activities in the state, the Ejagham and the Efik people have had no conscious consideration of tribal or ethnic divide between them. They live together as brothers and sisters and have close affinity with one another. In fact, they agree socially and culturally through marriages, traditions etc.
“What Sen. Onor’s campaign has attempted to achieve is to distort this long sense of history of unity, brotherliness and affinity between brothers through a jaundice political consideration. Truly, Prof. Sandy Onor only attempts to foist on Cross Riverians an awareness from a failed and an unacceptable academic thesis or presentation. This too has crashed,” POOSO said.
The group therefore called on Cross Riverians to turn out en masse on Saturday 18 March and vote for Senator Prince Bassey Otu who is the best candidate the south has put forward to take Cross River to greater heights.
It also urged the people to resist the introduction of ethnicity and violence into the body politics of the state, which Senator Sandy Onor is currently propagating.