—Hails Gov-elect, Prince Otu
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja
A Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Cross River State, Barrister Essien Ita, on Wednesday 29th March, said that the abysmal performance of the party in the just concluded elections was due to the refusal of the state exco to respect the zoning principle that had existed since 1999.
Barrister Ita contended that the outcome of the 2023 gubernatorial polls was a referendum by the people of Cross River State that zoning must be maintained and power must go to the South.
In what appeared to be a consensus and protest votes, the majority of the Cross River state people irrespective of party affiliation decided to pitch their tent with the APC candidate, Prince Bassey Otu, which in turn gave the party the victory.
Reacting to the development, Barrister Ita congratulated the governor-elect for the victory at the polls and also advised him on the key areas he should concentrate on in view of the poor economic status of the state in order to make an impact.
According to him, “The 2023 gubernatorial elections have come and gone and the APC candidate, Prince Bassey Otu has been declared the winner. He trounced Prof. Sandy Onoh of the PDP like a mother would do her little stubborn child and showed Sandy political superiority. Prof. Sandy says he wants to go to court, it’s within his rights to do so but he needs to know that the court will find it extremely difficult to upturn an election that he lost with such a wide margin.
“There is a Chinese saying that a farmer who plants his seeds on “sandy” soil is doomed to a poor harvest, so PDP’s defeat did not come to me as a surprise, it is actually a well-deserved defeat. The treachery in the party has finally nailed the coffin for those who sold their birthright for a bowl of porridge, they failed to understand that when you sell your brother to a stranger for a piece of silver, the stranger treats you with a lot of suspicion and disdain.
He further stated that ” the Cross River State PDP Exco also contributed to the party’s poor outing in the elections. For crumbs, they blindly supported and officially promoted Wike’s anti-party posture and refused to openly campaign or support the candidacy of Atiku Abubakar. For crumbs, they worked against the laid down zoning formula of the state which culminated in the party’s waterloo at the polls”.
He maintains that “now that the elections are over and the PDP intends to wield its stick of discipline, it should immediately invoke Articles 9.1 (d)(f)(k) and Article 21.1(c)(f)(h) of the PDP Constitution and properly discipline the rudderless state Exco for dividing the party and officially upholding an anti-party posture that led the party to defeat.”
Continuing, he said, “For Prince Otu Bassey, the governor-elect of Cross River State, I don’t envy you at all for the task ahead of you is quite enormous and daunting. The first issue you will encounter I suspect, will be shabby and untidy hand-over documents calculated to conceal discrepancies in your predecessor’s government.
The proper status of the numerous projects of your predecessor may not be known, and monies spent and profit made on projects may not be known. You have also been incapacitated by Cross River State’s inability to assess loans because of our huge debt burden and our dwindling revenue occasioned by the loss of Bakassi”.
“You must look inward and help Cross River state stand tall on its feet.
He further continued by stating that “all hopes are not lost, instead of immediately commencing new projects, please leverage on some of the industrial projects that your predecessor has put in place that are viable but not the superhighway please.
The Automated Cocoa Processing factory in Ikom, Ogoja Ultra-Modern Rice Mill, 23 Megawatt Power Plant in Calabar, Bekwarra Groundnut Mill, and Cally air are some of them”.
He noted that “the 2nd Subnational Ease of Doing Business Ranking of 2023 shows that Cross River State has dropped from 28th position to 33 positions in Ease of Doing Business, meaning the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) is dwindling. It, therefore, behoves you the governor-elect to attract investments and create enabling environments for businesses to thrive with ease in Cross River in order to ramp up the state’s IGR.
“You will also need to demand from the Federal Government an improvement and timely disbursement of the Bakassi Stabilization fund.
Ita advised that “now that President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to the Fifth Alteration Bill allowing states to generate, transmit and distribute electricity, you may need to look in this direction with a view to commencing power projects that will bring about the generation, transmission and distribution of sufficient megawatts that will help strengthen small scale businesses and boost Cross River state IGR.
He concluded by advising that ” the governor-elect should please jettison the idea of having a “food on the table” cabinet, it will not bring you or Cross River State any good. Focus on how to rejig the economy of the state and not the stomach of a few.”
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