By Abasi Ita, Calabar
The Governorship Candidates of the People’s Democratic Party PDP in Cross River State ahead 2023 General Elections, Senator Sandy Onor has implored royal fathers in the state to urgently mobilize their subjects towards safeguarding the remnants of the hitherto rich forest endowments of state from ongoing massive deforestation being. perpetuated syndicates operating with alleged tacit support of government agencies.
Speaking at a Town Hall meeting convened by stakeholders from the central senatorial district to formally endorsed his candidature, Senator Sandy Onor who is also the Senator for Cross River Central said the call has become imperative in order to checkmate the nefarious activities of timber merchants which have hugely depleted the Cross River forest once regarded as the richest tropical rain forest in the world.
According to him” it’s terrible and disappointing that under the watch of Governor Ben Ayade who brandished himself as an acclaimed environmentalist, our tropical forest which harbours some unique endangered species like gorillas,chimpanzees, lions and elephants is now the commercial nerve center for illegal timber transactions. Our rare timber products are now being sewed into logs and exported with alleged full complicity of the governor’s cronies who share the loot on daily basis”
“The standard we set for the State Forestry Commission and the Task Force Units to guarantee sustainable exploration which attracted global supports have been debased. The Commission has now become an avenue for empowering Ayade boys for their loyalty and commitment in readiness for the forthcoming elections through illegal logging pastime. Our forest is now bleeding, while they erect monumental edifices or smiles to the banks.We are aware”
In his remarks, a spokesman of the royal fathers comprising village and clan heads from the six local government councils in the Central Senatorial District, His Royal Highness Ntoe Boniface Ndoma decried the humiliating and agonizing episodes meted out to them by officials of the state government under the present dispensation
Ntoe Ndoma stated “as at today, over 50 of us duly certificated by government since 2016 are yet to be payroll for the paltry monthly token of seven thousand naira being paid by the present government to us as stipends, despite numerous personnel audits exercises. This is the height of humiliation”
In the opening address, Chairman of Greater Central District Stakeholders, and convener of the Ikom Town Hall Meeting, Ntufam Gab Oji disclosed that the event was conceived to galvanize the needed synergies to effectively market the candidature of Senator Sandy Onor whom he described as the “Pride of Cross River Central”
In his words, “we applaud the leadership of the state chapter of the People’s Democratic Party for the fairest and freest governorship primaries which produced our son who is unarguably, the best in all ramifications. We hereby pledge to do the needful for his landslide victory”
Commenting, the state chairman of the PDP Barrister Vena Ikem noted that the endorsement was a right step to showcase the massive local support enjoyed by Senator Sandy which will vibrate across the state in the onerous task of reclaiming Cross River from the unveiling pathetic scenarios under the maladministration of Governor Ben Ayade
Also speaking, a former senior special assistant to Senator Ndoma Egba and the Chairman , Contact and Mobilization Committee, Lawrence Takon disclosed that the group was floated to market the most viable governorship with rare capacity,experience and intellectual acumen to salvage the state from socio economic dungeon instigated by the present administration in Cross River State.
Highpoints of the event included formal adoption of Senator Sandy Onor as the central census candidate for the governorship election, formal reception for new members led by APC Reconciliation Committee Chairman,Dr Pius Ta,wo and a city walk