By Jonathan Ugbal, Inyali Peter and Odey Ojeka
As the campaigns for the Presidential and National Assembly polls slated for February 16, 2019 winds down, more cash donations and violence had continued to trail the campaigns in Cross River.
CrossRiverWatch gathered that the Senatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for Cross River South, Mr. Gershom Bassey has been visiting polling units and making cash donations of between NGN20,000 and NGN50,000 to woo voters.
Mr. Bassey visited Calabar South yesterday and is said to have dropped at least NGN20,000 at the three polling units in the Cross River University of Technology with those registered to vote elsewhere swooping in to share the cash which an eyewitness said he got NGN100 only.
Meanwhile, the supporters of the factional Guber candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC); Niger Delta Affairs minister, Usani Usani and Senator John Owan-Enoh clashed on Tuesday in Ugep, Yakurr local government area.
Mr. Usani’s campaign team is said to have been waiting for him near the palace of the Obol Lopon of Ugep, Obol Ofem Ubana when things suspected to be loyal to Mr. Owan-Enoh arrived armed with guns, matchetes, clobs and sticks to scare them away.
Chairs were broken while the erected canopies were destroyed and shots fired into the air.
However, Mr. Usani later arrived with Obol Ubana promising to support the APC in the Presidential elections but kept mute for the Gubernatorial elections.
Usani, in his remarks, alleged that a loyalist of Mr. Owan-Enoh popularly referred to as ‘HydroCarbon’ had brought the thugs to disrupt the campaign.
“Please Obol Lopon, I just got an information that Hydro Carbon is now in Ntamkpo Ugep to launch an attack on my people.We are one, we are not in war. Please help me talk to them,” Usani said.
Confirming Mr. Usani’s allegation, one of Mr. Owan-Enoh’s supporters and member of the local campaign team (names withheld to prevent reprisals from political opponents) told CrossRiverWatch that: “Usani Usani should stop complaining. When Alex Egbonna campaign team and Owan-Enoh faction went to campaign in his community Nko, he sent his boys to destroy their chairs and canopies in the campaign, so this is a pay back time.”
And, Mr. Usani’s supporters are said to have later gone in search of the thugs which led to the vandalisation of a vehicle belonging to one supporter of Mr. Owan-Enoh known as Okoi Alhaji.
These come few days after a Senior Pastor and General Overseer of Warriors of faith Christian Center, Reverend Victor Agor told members to go out en masse on Saturday to vote any candidate of their choice.
Agor warned against vote selling and made reference to the call by President Muhammadu Buhari in Imo State during the APC Presidential campaign that his supporters should vote whoever they like. He posited that unlike other spiritual leaders, he won’t tell his members who to vote in the elections.
He emphasized that while preparing for the elections, Christians should pray to God to direct them on who to vote.
While praying for Nigeria to have a peaceful elections, he, however added that any member of his church who wants to follow his choice should contact him privately to know who he has decided to support in the elections.
According to him, “I will not tell you who to vote for, even President Muhammadu Buhari during his campaign in Imo State said the people should go out and vote for the candidates of their choice.
“If you want to vote whom I have made up my mind to vote for in the Presidential election, call me on phone and I will tell you but I won’t stand here to tell you who to vote for.
“Go out on Saturday and vote your conscience. Pray to God to give you direction on the right person to lead this great country and please, don’t sell your votes for anything”.
He added that members of the church are permitted to avoid church weekly activities to enable them travel home for the 2019 elections.