By Magnus Effiong
Former Attorney General in Cross River state and governorship aspirant under the platform of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Barr Eyo O. Ekpo, has warned that vote buying was giving politicians undue powers to treat their constituents with highest degree of impunity and precipitate unnecessary economic recklessness to the detriment of the electorate.
In a chat with Journalists in Calabar, weekend, the guber aspirant lamented that the issue of vote buying has unconsciously be allowed into Nigeria’s political space with the danger of severely jeopardizing the political fortunes of the country if the trend is not brought to a stop immediately.
“It is an unfortunate situation that Nigerians now sell their votes for peanuts. If for instance, one is given N5000. Multiply that money by four years and you will discover that one has sold his future and that of his children for only N1250 for one full year. This is degrading to us as a people.
“Vote buying gives the politician additional powers he should ordinarily not have. There is nothing as evil as giving powers without responsibility. Let the future of children of those who sell their votes be paramount in their mind. As sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, people who sell their votes will cry one day,” he had said.
When asked why he preferred SDP to actualize his ambition of governing the State, the former Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, stalwart said “the PDP of Chief Solomon Lar, Alex Ekwueme and other notable founding fathers is not what we have today. PDP of 1999 is dead, it is gone and 70 percent of those in APC are PDP members.
“SDP presents credible alternative. I believe that it’s on SDP platform that challenge of getting us out of the valley of political despair and uncertainty would be actualized. I left PDP because I feel there should be a contest. It is SDP which provides that platform. I set out to be governor of Cross River state so as to bring the State from economic collapse.
“What Gov Ben Ayade’s administration has so far achieved is to force everyone to be dependent on government for survival. The entire fund accruable to the State is just to pay salaries of civil servants and thousands of appointees. There are no allowances, no imprest and no pension and gratuity. The private sector has been emasculated and many businesses are relocating to other States.”
Ekpo blamed the State House of Assembly for purportedly refusing to exercise their constitutional right to ask questions about what he saw as outright decay in governance, but noted that his administration would provide a glaring departure from what Cross River people were having from Gov Ayade-led administration.
On the huge debt profile of the State, the former Team Leader of Presidential Task Force on Power, Regulatory and Transaction Monitoring, submitted that the State was struggling because no investor has been attracted to the State, and noted that facilities on ground and natural resources the State is blessed with could help provide the State with twenty four hour electricity supply if properly harnessed and utilized.