Ntufam John Achort Okon, Cross River State chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has swiftly reacted to statements made by the CRS chairman of the Labour Party, Austin Ibok, regarding the recent attack by gunmen on the PDP candidate for CR Southern Senatorial District, Gershom Bassey. Ibok yesterday, Friday 27, 2015, addressed a press conference where he insisted that the attack on Gershom Bassey was masterminded by the PDP to score “cheap political points”, adding that the PDP should stop pointing accusing fingers the way of the LP’s senatorial candidate for the CR Southern Senatorial District, Bassey Edet Otu, among other submissions.
In an exclusive interview granted www.calitown.com, the PDP chairman stated that contrary to the submissions of the LP, “our party has not directly accused anybody but has condemned the attack in very strong terms and will work with security agencies to get to the root of this ugly situation”. He further stated that “the PDP is not threatened by the LP in CRS neither are we in competition. You must realise that those who have flooded the LP are numerous members of our party who could not secure nomination in PDP and decided to leave to a party that has no political structures on the ground. While we have vigorously campaigned from Obanliku to Bakassi, the same cannot be said of the LP. Don’t also forget that our party has demonstrated leadership and functionally delivered. As we speak, our efforts in rural and urban infrastructure development is something that several groups and individuals have applauded, considering what has been done and the meagre resources at our disposal. We will sell this to the electorate and not all this little talk that a less busy Labour Party is peddling”.
On the statement made by Ibok that since the PDP can use explosives to blow up parts of its secretariat (referring to the explosion that rocked the CR PDP secretariat during the party’s primaries), it can also send gunmen to attack Gershom Bassey, Okon was emphatic that “those who planted the explosives are the same disgruntled people who lost primaries and wanted to intimidate Cross Riverians. Were we not attacked at the Cultural Centre, Calabar, during the primaries? Who were those who attacked us supporting? These are questions that have very clear answers. Gershom Bassey is our candidate, he is an energetic and politically grounded person who has been there from the PDP’s inception and all what these people are doing is struggle to discredit a candidate who they are sure they will lose to. As a party, we are focused on the elections and working to ensure that all our candidates across the state will win because you cannot contest the performance our party has delivered all these years, this is what LP does not have and cannot show”.
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