The Social Democratic Party (SDP) governorship candidate in Cross River State, Eyo O. Ekpo, has accepted defeat in the March 9 election in the state and promised not to go to elections tribunal.
“Nevertheless, I will not provide cannon fodder for lawyers and rumour mongers by going to an election tribunal. Instead, I will look to the future and join to pray that Governor Ben Ayade’s second tenure will be much better than the first; so that sooner rather than later, our beloved State shall be firmly placed once again on the path of steady growth and development in an atmosphere of high quality governance and well-secured, lasting peace” he said.
In a statement made available to newsmen in Calabar, the governorship candidate alleged “The events of Saturday, 9th March, in Cross River State cannot in anyway be described as an “election”
“They were in reality, an “auction”; a bidding war in which public funds were deployed not for the benefit of the citizenry but to satisfy bloated egos and inordinate political ambitions.
“Any unbiased follower of our campaign will testify that Cross Riverians appreciated and bought into our Recover And Restore programme. Our F.R.E.S.H. Manifesto was made public early on in the campaign.
“We also published our execution plan for achieving the objectives of FRESH in a document titled “Getting The Job Done. We demonstrated readiness to create value for our people out of the vast human and natural resources of our State.
“These two documents are still very relevant to Cross River State and I commend them to the Governor of our State, if indeed he is focused on serving the needs of our people.
“From Bekwarra to Bakassi, the core message of Recover And Restore resonated deeply with our people. Sadly, the popular will was intimidated, subverted and cast aside by vote buying, multiple thumb printing, violence, intimidation and enough malpractices to make a voluminous text, all with election officials looking on helplessly, or in many cases actively collaborating.
“This was compounded by some of my own Party officers, particularly the State Party Chairman, Chief Eni Ikpi Ibor, who became traitors and betrayers before and on Election Day, selling us out for such a miserable and paltry mess of pottage” Ekpo alleged.
He, however, said, “If in truth the incumbent had done all the great and good deeds ascribed to him, receiving many endorsements from across the State, what was the need to buy the conscience of citizens, SDP officers and public officials, to suppress votes, to wreak violence and commit electoral malpractices of all sorts?
“Can the result of all these be defined as a “victory”? Should the Holy Name of the Almighty be invoked in the celebration of such a travesty? I think not. Yet, we Cross Riverians are now compelled by a deluge of misapplied public funds to accept choices that we did not and still do not truly desire.
“I must express my heartfelt thanks to my resilient team in the Eyo Ekpo Campaign Organisation; my running mate and now close friend, Engr. Wofai Ewa, the various candidates and Party members who stood firm and loyal and worked tirelessly for our just cause.
“We couldn’t have had a finer team and I thank them all for their support and their service to a worthy cause. Above all, I thank you, brothers and sisters, Cross Riverians, because I know that you will continue to push for the State we truly deserve.
“I am eternally grateful for your support and pray that you never let go of our collective dream of a Cross River renaissance.
“Our State will always be richly blessed with resources, human and material, for which we must all give thanks daily. What I pray for now and always is that our State shall also be blessed with a leadership that has the love for our people and the capacity to use these resources in the right way; and that our people may find the strength to demand for such a leadership.”