Wednesday, 20 March 2019

2023: Venatius Ikem contradicted himself —Stanley Nsemo, Ayade's aide argues

L-R: Mr Vena Ikem and Stanley Nsemo 
Nyok|20 March 2019

Mr Stanley Livingstone Nsemo the incumbent Director General of Cross River State Signage and Advertising Agency, CRISSA, Tuesday via a phone interview, faulted a People's Democratic Party, PDP chieftain who recently asserted that Calabar, Cross River's capital city was a ghost town during the 2019 general elections because Nigerians resident in the capital city returned in their droves to their respective senatorial districts away from the southern senatorial district NEGROIDHAVEN can report authoritatively. Nsemo totally disagrees with the position that Nigerians resident in Calabar returned to Cross River North and Central to cast their votes during general elections. 

According to DG Nsemo, Ikem's submission negates the substance of his original argument in that, logically, the latter could not initially observe that citizens whose voter's card read Calabar would then proceed to other location say northern and southern senatorial districts to cast their votes.

His exact words, 'His point negates the foundation of his argument; let me take this one at a time:  the first thing he said is that our brothers from the Central and the North left to vote in their respective senatorial districts and that made Calabar Municipality and Calabar South a ghost town. Now, how then where they able to register a hundred and sixty thousand people? Are you saying those hundred and sixty thousand people registered in Calabar Municipality and Calabar South and left? Are you saying that they registered and have their voter's register in the south and left for the North? What where they going to do in the North when their voter's registration is in the south? 

'So, that thing of itself negates that argument. The foundation of that argument is not solid, it will not stand, it cannot not stand. Because you cannot say that this number of people registered here and then there was a ghost town. 

Nsemo further explained that the reason for the seeming ghost town Ikem said about the state capital is the involvement of the military and voter apathy. He said that, 'The reason why there will always be a ghost town in Calabar Municipality and Calabar South is because the concentration of military and police personnel is highest in the state during any elections. It's a given. The security apparatus in the state is highest in those places, because they are the metropolitan area. 

'There was a large voters apathy in this election... I know what I am talking about, I was on the street, I canvassed for His Excellency, I was front and centre in this election. There was a huge voter's apathy. Because people came out two weeks earlier and casted their votes, and they found out that their votes did not count! So, to their minds, why should I come out and cast my votes again; in the first instance it did not count.'

He further added that Calabar is a melting point for numerous ethnicities resident in Nigeria like the Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa and the list continues and not just the Efik, Efut and Qua. So, being a city embodying such rich diversity would necessarily in a sense affect the voting population if that were to be given consideration. 

However, while observing that the clamour for 2023 is premature, he advised that for the time being the fulfilment of the 2019 campaign promises should be the priority for now: 'All these conversations about 2023 to my mind is too early, right now, we should be focused with helping His Excellency deliver on the campaign promises he made to Cross Riverians'.

In his recent article titled, 'Changing Elections Demographics in Cross River State and the Imperative of New Engagement', Ikem made the following submissions in passing, 'In addition to this is the often ignored preponderance of the "atam" contribution to the registration figures of the South, especially Calabar South and Municipal councils. A friend remarked while discussing this situation yesterday that Calabar looked like a ghost town last Saturday, election day, because most of the "atam" people traveled home for elections!' 

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