By Jonathan Ugbal/Elijah Ugani
Election is in the air, just about everyone is talking about it right from clergymen to the hardened criminals, whether they steal by the pen or arms and from professors in classrooms to market traders under the sun, shades and rain.
Whether the above is the reality of Aristotle’s postulation that “man is a political animal” one may not say though it often does play out that way. However, like the remaining 17 local governments in Cross River state and 773 others in the country Obudu local government area is not left out in this de javu of heightened political tensions, defacing of structures with posters, noise pollution by campaign trails and the endless promises all culminating into a rat race during the eve of the elections.
There are three major political parties operating in Obudu CrossRiverWatch can authoritatively report which are the People Democratic Party PDP, Labor Party LP and All Progressives Congress APC all fielding candidates for different public offices.
Over the past few days and following findings from CrossRiverWatch, campaigns have been intensified with political groups of various parties hitherto unknown or very dormant and passive suddenly becoming very active with some candidates even going down to the very grassroots. The political scenery in Obudu suddenly became quite interesting again been a stronghold of any serious party who will know an army of electorate numbering over fifty five thousand according to the Independent National Electoral Commission is not to be seen as expendable.
Rewind to six months back and political permutations would have been that the PDP will as usual sweep the polls but the reality on ground following investigations by CrossRiverWatch shows that the PDP will smile at their chances in the presidential and gubernatorial elections but have their hearts in their mouths in the National Assembly and House of Assembly elections.
CrossRiverWatch investigations showed that the PDP candidate for the House of Assembly, incumbent Stephen Ukpukpen’s chances against his Labor Party counterpart is quite slim as there is a massive crack in the ranks of PDP supporters and chieftains after “orders from above” allegedly coerced the party chapter to change her concord of one term rotational policy between the two imaginary constituencies of Bette and Utukalo in order to return the member who has been queit for a greater part of his time in the House. The APC candidate Finian Akpeke will fancy his chances owing to the above and might play the fox in the hole but the story on ground is Godwin Akwaji of the Labor Party.
Been the headquarters of the Obudu/Bekwarra/Obanliku federal constituency, Obudu is set to play a vital role with candidates for the position all coming from either Bekwarra or Obanliku with Legor Idagbo of the PDP from Bekwarra while Godwin Amanke of LP and Joseph Wayas Jr. of APC hail from Obanliku.
The story from LP is that the Obanliku man has enjoyed only one of the unwritten agreement of two terms with the incumbent Francis Adah been dormant and gave up chasing a second term at the first thought of it due to what his constituents call a “woeful representation”.
With Bekwarra often united it will come as a little surprise if Legor wins in his home local government but CrossRiverWatch can authoritatively report that some communities in Obudu rejected him with one issuing a communique urging its members to vote Amanke who is popularly known as Timaya, though he was later allowed to campaign in some localities after much plea from some PDP chieftains.
The APC candidate has been queit in his campaign as no news of his rally is on the lips of people and will hope his people remember his family name and vote him.
The senate race is not really a rat race as more Obudu people continue to join in the call for the PDP to come out clean on the Rose Oko debacle while Julius Okputu of the Labor Party continues his campaign alongside Awam Kanjal of APC as their gain is PDP’s loss. Various indices on ground from word of mouth to statements from major political stakeholders indicates that it will be more than just a miracle if the PDP wins this seat which the incumbent is its gubernatorial candidate.
Some political stakeholders who spoke with CrossRiverWatch say the game has changed and offered their views on several issues from internal party wranglings to just about everything concerning the elections.
“This elections will be difficult for PDP, they might win the guber polls but the rest are up for grabs, the problems are just too much and the only time you will know true PDP members is if the party loses elections” says Abu Undiaundeye a former council chairman.
“We are preparing well in terms of security and if there is anything that will cause trouble is the fact some factions in the party have refused to see that their leaders Goddy Jedy Agba and Ben Ayade are working as one and so no need to quarrel” says Spokesman Agogo, the S.A Peace and Security to the council chairman in a chat with CrossRiverWatch.
“To be very frank with you, PDP will win the guber elections but others? no f*****g way” says a youth leader who did not want his name in the report for fear of victimization.
“Our chances are bright, we are supporting a just cause, we need effective representation and that our candidates will deliver” says Udie Mike of the Labor Party.
For Godwin Undeshi “The PDP is about the grassroots and that is the major factor in elections, its PDP all the way” while Juliana Ayade says “We are targeting the youths in PDP because they can be wooed to see the good in PDP as the aged can rarely be convinced, that is the game changer”.
Wherever the pendulum swings, it is pertinent CrossRiverWatch will be on ground as always to report the political rat race as it unfolds culminating into victors rejoicing and losers sulking but the question, will it be for the better?
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