The governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, in Cross River State, Barr Eyo Ekpo has congratulated former governor Donald Duke on his emergence as the presidential candidate of the SDP in a keenly contested party primary.
In a press statement made available to our reporter Monday, Ekpo said “Donald has the temperament, political maturity and exposure to lead our country. His Excellency,
Donald Duke’s victory at the primaries is a testament to the wonderful work he did while he served Nigerians as Governor of Cross River State.
“Cross Riverians, and indeed Nigerians, see Donald- the only Presidential candidate for the 2019 elections whose blueprint for governance is already out in the open for engagement- as a trustworthy alternative to the misrule that the APC and PDP represent.
“Donald, when he held sway in our state, raised it from the backwaters of economic negligence to become the envy of observers, both within and outside the country. Anyone who had been to Nigeria but did not visit Cross River was said to have missed out on a very uplifting experience, as he developed Cross River into a true people’s paradise.
“His effort to emancipate the state from dependence on the central government oil economy was evident in his pro-tourism agenda: introduction of the Calabar Carnival; the restoration of the Obudu Mountain Resort; introduction of Obudu Mountain Race; and the facelift given to all the major tourist sites, including the creation of access roads to these facilities. His efforts are indelible in the hearts of Cross Riverians, and indeed, the nation.
“Donald also started a developmental revolution in agriculture, housing, environment, urban development, civil service, to mention a few. His overwhelming success in these sectors left a legacy that has survived the disasters that followed after he bowed out.
“As someone who spent his primary school years in Lagos, attended Federal Government colleges in Ilorin and Sokoto, University years in Zaria and Philadelphia, USA, and then cut his teeth politically as a successful Governor in one of Nigeria’s most ethnically and geographically diverse states, I am convinced that Donald has the temperament, political maturity, and the exposure to lead our country onward and upwards.
“I plead with Donald’s fellow contestants on the SDP platform to see his victory as theirs, as a stepping stone on the way to the redemption of our nation, which is what the party has advocated for since its formation. I ask that they join forces with him in the rescue of our great nation, for the battle is just about to commence.
“We in the state pledge our unalloyed support to the aspirations of Donald Duke, knowing that at the end only victory awaits us.”
Meanwhile, the governorship candidate has received the Certificate of Returns at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja. to validate his candidacy
Ekpo was handed the certificate on Monday, October 8, 2018, by the National Secretary of the party, Dr. Shehu Gabam. His supporters say this has validates his candidacy to contest for the governorship seat in February, 2019.
A statement by the Eyo Ekpo Campaign Organization indicates that the presentation of the certificate of return to the SDP governorship candidate has put to rest insinuations of purported ban on the party to contest next year’s election.
The statement further said Mr. Ekpo reaffirmed his commitment to reposition Cross River State for greatness, noting “this is another milestone in our determination to oust Ben Ayade from Government House and install a government that truly feels the heartbeat of the people”.
“Our people have been yearning for a Governor, who understands what they are going through, a governor that has the heart to bring forth policies, which will guarantee them real economic prosperity. This is the beginning of our mission to recover and restore Cross River State.”
However, the former Cross River Attorney General has described as untrue reports in some quarters that a court order had purportedly restrained SDP from participating in the 2019 election.
“There was no court order restraining the SDP from conducting its legitimate affairs as a major political party in the State. I have said this before and repeating it again, we have conducted our primaries in Cross River State with the full representation of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and without any fuse.
“SDP has presented itself to Cross Riverians as a credible alternative to the disastrous governance that has plagued our State for too long. We have elected a slate of youthful, committed and capable individuals for governorship and legislative offices for which elections will be held in February 2019. We will not be distracted by anyone from our chosen task of winning the support of the majority of the electorate and being voted into office come May 29, 2019”, the Governorship Candidate added.