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2023:C’River PDP to get protest vote over anti-zoning stance

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By Our Reporter

If agitation for power to return to Cross River Southern senatorial district is not addressed, the State chapter of the People Democratic Party (PDP) may suffer protest vote in 2023, leaders and stakeholders of the party have threatened.

The PDP stalwarts were reacting to the emergence of Senator Bassey Otu of the APC from the south and a recent statement by the State Chairman of the PDP, Mr. Venatius Ikem, that the 2023 governorship race should not be zoned to any specific senatorial zone of the state.

Item was quoted to have said, “I still stand by zoning by elimination because it is what we have practised before. I don’t know why people are making a big deal out of it”

But speaking in Calabar, Wednesday, over the vexatious issue, former member representing Abi\Yakurr Federal House of Representatives, Mr. Bassey Ewa, said “in 1999 after Donald Duke, Liyel Imoke, after Liyel Imoke, Ben Ayade.

“As a party, it is agreed it should go back to the South. Courtesy demands that we go back to the south and start from where we started the first time. You use the importance of the past to understand the present and then predict the future.

“You and I were here in Cross River State in 1999; Donald Duke was an unpopular candidate. The people of the Southern Senatorial district had in mind then Prof. Eyo Etim Nyong. He was a household name. Even in PDP, we were afraid of him because he is a name that is already a household name.

“Donald just came. Nobody knew him. But it took just one mistake and what was that? They took away the ticket APP from Eyo Etim Nyong and gave it to somebody who was not from the South.

“It didn’t take one week for everything to change and of course by the providence of Almighty God, Donald won. That is what I see playing out again. Unfortunately, it is those that should advise us well that is even making the mistake.”

The former lawmaker and most of those who spoke believed that Senator Gershom Bassey can match Sen Bassey Otu of the APC in all respect.

Also speaking, a one-time member of the Federal House of Representative for Calabar South/Akpabuyo/Bakassi, Dr Patrick Ene Okon, said “there will be a very big undoing by the party (PDP) to take a candidate outside the southern senatorial district.

“Remember what happened in 1999 when the APP dumped its candidate from the south and went for a candidate from the north. We in the south, including myself, carried out a protest vote and worked for PDP which Donald Duke was the flag bearer.

“We won in all the LGAs in the south apart from Biase. In Akpabuyo which I hold sway, Donald had 59,000 votes while our APP candidate Mark Ukpo had a little over a thousand votes, and if PDP makes that mistake, that is exactly what will happen in 2023”.

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