By Chidiebere Onyemaizu
The controversial suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Hon.Justice Walter Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari re-echoed Friday, February 8, 2019, in Calabar, the Cross River state capital, as tens of thousands of cheering Cross Riverians locked down the city, lined the streets and swarmed like bees in the U.J Esuene stadium to welcome PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and his campaign train.
Many of the enthusiastic crowd vowed to vote for all PDP candidates in the coming elections, as punishment for the APC and Buhari for suspending from office, one of their own, Justice Onnoghen. The embattled CJN hails from Biase local government area of the state.
Biase is next door to Yakurr local government in the Cross River central senatorial zone, the zone where the APC factional governorship candidates, Senator Owan Enoh and Minister for Niger Delta, Pastor Uguru Usani hail from. Presidential Aide, Godwin Obla as well as Chief of Naval Staff, Real Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas also hail from the same zone.
“We will talk with our votes, we will flog APC with our votes; they cannot suspend our son from office and still want us to vote for them. It is not possible. We are going to punish them with our votes, we are voting Atiku and the PDP”, said a young man in his mid 20s who was among those that carried mock coffins with the inscription, “RIP APC” round the stadium.
Just outside the stadium, adjacent the Murtala Muhammed High way, a group of party supporters numbering over 300, decked in Atiku/Obi campaign vest completely took over a portion of the road singing Atiku/ Obi and Ayade praises and dancing their hearts out.They told this magazine that PDP has never lost election in Cross River and will therefore not loose now.”Our state is a PDP state and has remained so since 1999.PDP will retain this state and Atiku will win landslide here”, one of them who identified himself as Effiom, said.
Flanked by his Anambra born wife, Barr.(Dr) Jennifer Atiku and top PDP bigwigs, including Senate President, Dr.Bukola Saraki, PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, former Cross River state governor, Senator Liyel Imoke among others, Atiku, resplendent in Efik traditional attire, said he was overwhelmed by the show of support and promised to reciprocate. He pledged to partner with governor Ayade, when elected President, to ensure that the state becomes an industrial hub.