APC chieftain, community leaders declare support for PDP gov candidate

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From Judex Okoro, CalabarA chieftain of Cross River All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Sam Bassey, and community leaders have declared unflinching support for the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Prof Sandy Onor, ahead of the 2023 polls.Chief Bassey and hundreds of his followers aver that the decision to back the PDP candidate, even when they are still in APC, does not in any way amount to anti-party activity because the zoning structure adopted by the state chapter of APC in the just-concluded primaries’ election is in itself anti-Akamkpa/Biase federal constituency where they hail from.In the last couple of months, APC political bigwigs in the south have been defecting to PDP in support of the PDP standard bearer. Those who have dumped APC include Bobby Ekpenyong, Domnic Kidzu, Austin Ibok, all former aides of Governor Ben Ayade.In an interview in Calabar at the weekend, Bassey, a member of the APC legacy group, said the time has come for the political class and the parties to demonstrate equity, fairness and justice in sharing political offices, pointing out that using zoning or rotation to deny or marginalise other minority segments of the state is antithetical to the spirit of brotherhood.Lashing out at proponents of back-to-south zoning arrangement, the former senatorial aspirant, maintained the agitators of rotation are mostly those who want to continually dominate the other section that makes up a zone even as he admits that every senatorial zone has credible people resources to lead the state.According to him, the back-to-south move in which both the APC governorship and senatorial candidates are from Efik and even from one local government area in exclusion of Akamkpa and Biase local government areas is an attempt to perpetually marginalise the minorities in the south.“I am vehemently opposed to this kind of arrangement where some people will remain underdogs and cannot occupy certain offices.“Against this background, I, some community leaders and hundreds of our followers in Akamkpa/Biase federal constituency have endorsed and adopted the PDP governorship candidate, Prof. Sandy Onor, ahead of 2023 polls.“I believe that Sen Onor can help us; we have discussed. He is very approachable and has a listening ear. We would try our best to mobilise for the election,” he stated.On whether his support for an open campaign for a PDP candidate does not amount to anti-party, he said: “I am still in the APC and a legacy member of the party. I have not defected, but the truth is that I am supporting the PDP because that is where the happiness of my people comes from. Besides, if my people are not happy in politics I cannot even call myself a politician.”He advised all the candidates and parties to play by the rules rather than engage in politics of propaganda and sentiments.Also speaking on behalf of some community leaders, Chief Emmanuel Ogban, also from Akamkpa/Biase federal constituency, said: “Some of us have already made up of our minds and are mobilising our people to work for PDP governorship candidate to fight marginalisation in the south. We have been neglected.“This 2023 election is not about party affairs, it is about capacity and credibility as well as who can deliver and redeem us from sufferings and economic doldrums.”



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