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Party faithful describe Kwankwaso’s visit to C/River as symbolic, unequalled

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By Ehigimetor Igbaugba

The New Nigerian People Party (NNPP) faithful on Saturday described the visit by Presidential candidate, Rabiu Kwankwaso to Cross River as symbolic and unparalleled.The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kwankwoso inaugurated five campaign offices in Cross River amidst fanfare.The campaign offices inaugurated include that of Dr Sam Eno Senatorial Campaign Office Ugep, Yakuur Local Government and Wilfred Bonse Campaign Organisation, Cross River Central Senatorial Zone Headquarters, Ikom.Others are the Dr Yakubu Shandam Campaign Headquarters, Boki Ikom Federal Constituency Ikom, Caroline Williams Senatorial Campaign Headquarters, Ogoja, Cross River Northern Senetorial Zone and Yakubu Shandam Campaign Office Okondi, Boki Local Government/ BenClay Campaign Office, Okondi Boki 1 State Constituency.

A cross section of party members and candidates who spoke to NAN after the inauguration noted that his love for grassroots development has further enhanced the party’s acceptance in the state.

Mr Buba Galadima, the Secretary, Board of Trustees of the party, said that the visit was one-of- a-kind and a home coming for him, adding that the presidential team were very warmly received by the good people of Cross River.

“This is indeed a reunion. The last I set foot on places like Ikom, Ogoja and the rest of the other places was in 1972 when I was a student at the university.

“Cross River has changed tremendously because when I last visited, when you drive every 10km, you’ll see canopies of trees and you cannot even see the sun.

“But today, the environment has been bastardised and what you find now is open fields which hitherto did not exist.

“But I am glad to report that the people are still very friendly as they have always been

“Thirdly, I want to place on record that even in the South, Cross River State is being regarded as Northern Nigeria because we have this long standing relationship.

“That is why you find alot of arewa people at least in this part of the country. Ugep, Ikom, Ogoja and several other places, including Calabar itself.

“So, whenever I am here, I feel like I am at home. I regard Cross River as my second home,” he said.

Galadima who noted that the state also had a strong political bond with Northern Nigeria, added that NNPP had a wide acceptance by the people in Cross River.

“Politically, we have always tagged together and it seems like this bond has not been broken.

“This is why whatever that happens in Northern Nigeria is also happening in all of Cross River State.

“In a nutshell, this is what informed the kind of reception that we have received.

“This is why our party has got wide acceptance and is being received by the people of this state as their own political party.

“I assure you that with the kind of reception we have received in various areas since we arrived here in the morning we are assured that the NNPP will take Cross River State,” he said

Also speaking, Amb. Wilfred Bonse, the NNPP gubernatorial candidate in the state, said the visit of Kwankwaso was the beginning of better things to come for the state and added that NNPP was the fastest-ever growing political party in the country.

“I will say we’ve been off to a very good start.

“Thankfully you’ve been with us from the morning and it’s almost midnight now but everyone is still full of constructive activity.

“That’s the vibe that has been missing in the polity. The lethargic youth kind of sleep over the belief that the polity was unchangeable has suddenly taken a U -turn as new hope is infused into the consciousness of the people by the viable choice that we provide and you can see it for yourself.

“So, I am ecstatic and my feel about it is that this is a good start and just the beginning,” he said.

Bonse further added that the visit which was simply meant for the inauguration of the party campaign offices across the Central and Northern Senetorial districts of the State, turned into rallies which is an unplanned bonus.

“The NNPP has been opening its campaign offices in chapters, wards and so on.

“You will think that such a front-runner presidential candidate as Sen. Kwankwaso will not bother to visit Zonal and Local government headquarters as Ugep, Ikom and Ogoja.

“But he not only did that but further broke all electoral history records by also going to a village “Okondi” in Boki LGA to commission a party secretariat.

“This is unprecedented and if you remember correctly, the Obolopon of Ugep noted that the last time a person of that pedigree visited Ugep was when Shehu Shagari came to visit.

“So, this is the real grassroot development strategy for sensitising the people, meeting them right where they are.

“Also understanding their pain as well as connecting with them in a way that you can’t connect with them just on either social media or just talking at them from any distant platform,” he said.

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