By Our Reporter
With barely a week to the governorship and state assembly elections now slated for March 18, youths in Ikom and Etung local government areas have openly rejected and completely distanced themselves from Sandy Onor, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and adopted Senator Prince Bassey Edet Otu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as their gubernatorial candidate.
The youths made their position known on Wednesday during a town hall meeting with the Speaker of Cross River State Youth Parliament at the Ikom Township Stadium, Ikom.
The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Gideon Mbukpa, who was on a 2-day tour of the central senatorial district to rally support for the governorship candidate of the APC, Senator Prince Bassey Otu, told the youths that it is turn of the southern part of the state to produce the next governor.
Mbukpa said that the only thing that is right for anyone to do at this critical and historic moment is to vote for the candidate of the APC who does not only hails from the south, but has also proven his competence as seen in his performance in the previous offices held in the past.
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“It is the turn of the south and young people should come out and defend their future by supporting the south to produce the next governor, so that when it is the turn of the central, the south will support one of your sons.
“Apart from the fact that it is the turn of the south, Prince Bassey Otu is a competent and sellable candidate whose track record of achievements in the previous offices he held speak for themselves. As Senator, he rolled out one of the largest and sustainable empowerment programmes in Cross River since the inception of the current democratic dispensation in 1999.
“Our support for Prince Otu is not based on sentiment. It is based on verifiable performance indices. Prince Otu has touched so many lives across the state. It is only fair that we support him so he can do more.
“Justice and equity demands that the governorship returns to the south. This is also necessary to sustain the cordial relationship amongst the three senatorial districts, and thus ensure peace and tranquility in the state as a whole,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of youths in Ikom, leader of the Youth Parliament in the local government area, Comr. Ndoma Akunobor, said there is need for justice and equity to be sustained in the state, hence, Ikom youths must play their role for posterity’s sake.
According to Akunobor, “We are heading to a very historic moment. We are heading into an election that concerns us as a state and a people. Our brother (Sandy Onor) is contesting in this election in the coming days, but because we are youths who believe in fairness, equity and justice, we’ve come out in our numbers to speak the truth to powers. We’ve come out in our numbers to take a stand that will speak for us tomorrow.
“We have deliberated extensively among ourselves and have come out now to say that the Youth Parliament and all the youths in Ikom have decided that back to south must be sacrosanct. We’ve decided that this is the turn of the south and we cannot cheat our brothers because tomorrow is pregnant. We cannot cheat our brothers because tomorrow we’ll ask for something. We cannot cheat our brothers because we stand firmly on equity, justice and fairness.”
Another prominent and influential youth leader in Ikom, Engr. Ntemoyuk Chris, warned that the central should avoid making the mistake of scheming itself out of the power equation, fearing if that happens, the youth will be the greatest loser as it will take them another generation to regain control of power in the state.
He added that the south is putting its best foot forward by presenting Senator Prince Bassey Otu, whom he described as a good man with an accommodating personality.
“He has a deputy who himself is a youth. He has a deputy who has served and has proven his capacity. As far as Ikom local government is concerned, our votes are for Prince Otu,” Ntemoyuk affirmed.
In the same vein, leader of Etung Youth Parliament, Comr. Ndifon Shedrach, said that youths in the LGA are vehemently opposed to Sandy Onor’s agenda of shortchanging the south.
Ndifon stated that come Saturday Etung youths would prove to the world that they are not in support of Onor’s self-serving interest of seeking the governorship position against sound moral argument by voting massively for Prince Bassey Otu.
The Rt. Hon. Gideon Mbukpa-led Youth Parliament delegation wrapped up the 2-day central senatorial district tour with community engagement with various youth groups in Okuni, at the Okuni town hall.