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2023: Obi’s Burgeoning Popularity, Support Base, in Cross River Rankle PDP, APC


2023: Obi’s Burgeoning Popularity, Support Base, in Cross River Rankle PDP, APC

By Stanley Ekpenyong,  (South South Bureau Chief)

Emerging picture of the voting pattern among Cross River electorates indicates they will vote individual candidates on conviction and not along party lines in the Presidential election.

Consequently, while tenaciously still supporting their preferred governorship and National Assembly candidates in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the All Progressives Congressive APC, a broad spectrum of supporters of the two parties in the state are fanatically rooting for Peter Obi, the Presidentisl candidate of the Labour Party in next year’s presidential election.

The “OO” Concept- Otu For Governor, Obi For President

A hybrid sort of informal campaign, even among the appointees of government and APC stalwart, is now the order of the day in Cross River.

It is not unusual to see or hear party stalwarts and government official profess undying support for the APC governorship candidate Prince( Senator ) Bassey Edet Otu and at the same time proclaim Peter Obi as their choice presidential candidate.

Recently at a busy night sit out along the popular Marian Road, Calabar, amid a plate of barbecued chicken and a bottle of chilled beer, a government official who pleaded anonymity told the magazine: “Here we do the OO Concept;  that is, Otu for Governor, Obi for President. We are not playing anti-party, we simply want the best for our state and country. We will vote Sweet Prince for Governor and Obi for President; this coming election is not about party but about salvaging this country and looking at the pack, Peter Obi stands out”

Notedly, a campaign banner bearing Obi and Senator Otu’s pictures with Labour party and APC Logos recently mounted by an APC/ Otu support group at Calabar Municipality aptly sums up the prevailing political mood in the state.

Obi, a Pain in Our Necks- PDP, APC

Several members of the State Executives of PDP and APC who pleaded anonymity for the fear of being accused of anti-party activities admitted to the magazine separately that the Obi fever is is a rapidly catching many people in the state and that it is a source of worry to them.

“Even among our ranks, there are “Obidients” ( as Obi supporters call themselves).Some of them no longer hide it.

“While our chieftains and supporters across the state are irrevocably committed to victories of our governorship candidate Professor ( Senator) Sandy Onor and our National/ State Assembly candidates, many of them have openly stated that Obi is their candidate for the presidency.

“It is a very tricky situation here, Obi is a pain in our neck” says a member of the state executive of the PDP”

For his APC counterpart,  “the truth of the matter is that we are worried by the upsurge in support for Obi in this state, particularly among our members.

“Many of them no longer care about their open preference for Obi and we are constrained about invoking the anti-party penalty to avoid exposing our cracked walls.

“I admit that APC as a ruling party in Cross River is worried about Obi’s popularity here. We are even more worried that many of our members across the state are openly supporting him”

How Obi Sentiment Almost Ruined Tinubu/ Shettima Gathering

Members of a Tinubu/ Shettima support group could could not believe their eyes last week when an event they organised at Mayne Avenue, Calabar South local government area to seek support for their candidate almost become a rally for Obi.

No sooner had the event kicked off than the shout of “We are Obidients” rented the air.

Bewildered by the suden turn of events, the compere tried to calm the situation by chanting “on Asiwaju’s mandate we stand” but this elicited a louder “We are Obidients”.

At end of the event, one of the organisers were heard complaining bitterly about the “growing influence and support base of these Obidients in Calabar”

Grouse Against Tinubu, Atiku

Virtually all the people in Cross River rooting for Obi and kicking against Tinubu accuse the APC presidential candidate of being part and parcel of the catastrophic Buhari’s government.

They also insist that Tinubu is evidently in a fragile health and lacks the mental and physical ability to steer the ship of a complex country like Nigeria as President.

Atiku Abubakar and Bola Tinubu
Atiku: It is immoral to contest. Tinubu: Asked to step down for Obi.

According to Syvester Effiom, a Calabar- Bakassi bus operator at IBB Way by Etta Agbor Roundabout, “Tinubu was the major engineer of the Buhari Presidency and now we all suffering the catastrophy that Buhari and his government have become.

“Tinubu was part and parcel of the failed APC promises; in 2015 and 2019 he marketed Buhari and APC so vigorously as if his life depended on the two, so, he is responsible for the suffering Nigerians are now experiencing, the 29 years old graduate of University of Calabar who took to bus driving after fruitless search for job said amid frowning.

For 35 old Faith (surname withheld) a staff of the state’s civil service, “Tinubu is hiding his real age and his health status but you can’t hide a pregnancy.

“Looking at Tinubu, it’s obvious that he is being ravaged by sicknesses associated with old age.

I can’t vote for a sick old man who, if elected, will turn western hospitals his abode while his proxies call the shots.

“The Yar’Adua and Buhari experiences are still fresh in our minds. Obi is preferable, he is the fresh breath and fresh air Nigeria needs at this time, so Tinubu and Atiku should step down for him”

And as far as Emma Adie, a resident of Ogoja in Northern Cross River, is concerned, it would be immoral for another Northerner and Fulani to replace Buhari.

“How can another Northerner and another Fulani become president after Buhari’s eight years as President? It is  immoral for Atiku to contest; the Presidency must come to the South, so between Tinubu and Obi, I choose Obi, he is the lesser evil; almost every one here in Northern Cross River is Obidient, Adie who claims to be a former banker but now operates Tricycle, said.

Mathias Bisong, a native of Boki in the Central Senatorial district of the state shares Adie’s sentiment.

According to Mathias, a small-scale business owner in Ikom, “all we want is Peter Obi. Atiku should go and rest. Buhari has done the turn of the North.

“Obasanjo has done the turn of the Southwest, so Tinubu is not supposed to contest. Jonathan has done our South-south turn, so it is the turn of South East and Obi is our choice”

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