By Jonathan Ugbal
The chairman of the Senate committee on finance and gubernatorial aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River State, John Owan-Enoh has denied allegations that he said he does not need the votes of a particular ethnic group in the state to become governor.
Mr. Owan-Enoh made this known in a statement signed by him and made available to CrossRiverWatch where he condemned the purveyors of the information and maintained that he respects all ethnic groups in the state.
“I have read with utmost consternation the unconscionable falsehood, unfounded rumors, shameless propaganda and pathological lies being peddled against my person in the social media and other online news portals. The narrative which is laced with political undertone is indicative of a premeditated plan to pitch me against one of the most highly revered ethnic groups in Nigeria, the Efiks,” Owan-Enoh said adding that: “I need the entire votes from the Efiks. It goes without saying therefore that, such tissues of satanic lies and unwarranted tantrums should be confined to the garbage dump where they belong.”
In the statement titled: “Re: I Don’t Need Efik Votes To Become Governor,” the legislator claimed that: “Cross Riverians who know me will attest to the fact that I am quite economical with words and I convey a deep dose of respect for everyone regardless of ethnic origin. Therefore to credit me with such brazen falsehood and pedestrian innuendos should be seen as the height of crass irresponsibility and extreme naivety on the part of the faceless proponents of such stories and their paymasters. This clearly exposes the rotten underbelly of some people whose brand of politics is encapsulated in the bizarre and bitter streak of smear campaign and character assassination of their opponents. I am well known for tolerance and robust accommodation of criticism. But on this issue, I would seek to place history in the right perspective and put the records straight for posterity.”
He further said that: “I understand that the customs, traditions and history of all ethnic groups across the State are inextricably interlinked. I believe that our State can rapidly flourish and prosper if we break the ranks of our individual ethnic prejudices and biases. Besides, I have had a longstanding relationship with the Efiks and I’ve maintained a good bond of friendship with so many Efik sons and daughters for more than 30 years. At the moment, I have some prominent Efik men and women in my campaign. So, how could I have made such a statement? The statement in itself is as needless as it is reckless, to say the least. I cannot condescend to such a low, petty, puerile and infantile level of juvenile vituperation for any conceivable reason.
“Again, those who are propagating this cowardly act of mischief to score very cheap political point are senselessly wallowing in sheer oblivion of the sterner stuff the Efiks are made up of which I am well aware. The Efiks are too sophisticated and highly cerebral with a very rich history of excellence and pacesetting in different spheres of human endeavors in Nigeria and Africa. Our Efik brothers and sisters are exceptionally discerning to be hoodwinked by the empty ranting of some jittery political jobbers whose stock in trade at this time is to engage in wicked blackmail and concocting of humongous lies. The Efiks and indeed the entire Cross Riverians at different stations and strata of life are too intelligent and a lot more informed to succumb to their evil machinations.
“Apparently, my aspiration to lead Cross River State out of the present jigsaw puzzle has become a colossal nightmare to them. I have always made conscious efforts as a gentleman to maintain a high standard of decency and decorum with very conservative choice of words. Under no circumstance will I lower my guards to make such a gaffe. I will never contemplate any outrageous comment that would offend the sensibilities of any ethnic group in the State. Since I started my public service career as a lecturer in the Department of Sociology, University of Calabar and my subsequent foray into partisan politics, I have never been involved in any form of chauvinism. It is not in my character.
“As a politician, I have been long enough in the political turf of the State to know the monumental influence, impact and capacity of the Efiks. So I need them with all the other ethnic groups to enable me clinch the governorship of our dear State and offer the much desired service and loyalty to our people.
“In the light of the foregoing, I am appealing to the entire Efik nation and indeed all Cross Riverians to disregard the ongoing mudslinging and outright mischief against my person. There is no iota of truth in the current vicious campaign of calumny against me. I hold the Efiks and the other ethnic groups in Cross River State in very high esteem.”
Owan-Enoh who first served as a state lawmaker representing Etung constituency in the House of Assembly, also served as the federal lawmaker representing the Obubra/Etung federal constituency for three terms from 2003 till 2015 when he became a Senator representing the central senatorial district of Cross River State.
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