Cross River Southern Senatorial Candidates attend Interactive Session, pledge to make themselves accessible to constituents

The Cross River Movement (TCRM), has held another series of the interactive session with senatorial candidates from the southern Senatorial district of Cross River state with the conspicuous absence of the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate, Honorable Asuquo Ekpenyong Jnr.

The event took place on Sunday, November 20, 2022, and was a joint session on zoom with all the senatorial candidates expected to be in attendance; unfortunately, the session was held with just three senatorial candidates and without the presence of the APC candidate. 

Other candidates who were present at this session included; Mr. Newton Edet Bassey of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Mr. Ukpong Chuwang Daniel of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), and Ntufam Ekpo Okon of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The session began with an introductory comment from Pastor Sunny Enebi of the African Leadership Group (ALG), who expressed optimum expectations from the candidates. “The lack of good governance and accountability are part of the problems we have identified in the leadership recruitment process, from the parties and their candidates. And TCRM is one of those groups that is holding candidates to account for what they want to do, as well as the why and how they intend to do those things.  We are excited about this because it will deepen our democracy,” he commented.

The candidates further took turns to explain their value addition to their senatorial district if elected beginning from their understanding of who a senator or legislator is: The candidate for the APGA, Mr. Daniel Ukpong, first posited that he is primarily coming to sponsor bills that will kick-off the deep sea port and the free trade zone. He further explained the primary functions of a legislator saying that they are elected to make laws and attract constituency projects to the people. On the issue of accessibility and availability to the people, he explained that he will establish liaison offices, and deploy technology to communicate with his prospective constituents at ward levels, using toll-free calls, if elected.

Also, The Social Democratic Party (SDP) Candidate, Mr. Newton Bassey Edet who is an indigene of Bakassi Local Government Area, affirmed that the role of a lawmaker is to sponsor and ensure the passing into law of relevant Bills that will benefit the constituents. He further expressed dissatisfaction about the Bakassi issue not being defined and addressed by the law. He, however, assured that he will look critically into the problems of his immediate constituency, the Bakassi people. He also mentioned that the Akamkpa Local Government Area with large mineral and natural resources needs laws that will harness such resources for the betterment of his constituents. He made clear his availability to his constituents and further committed to organizing periodic constituency needs and wants assessment through constituency assemblies.

Similarly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Ntufam Ekpo Okon, said lawmaking is critical for the sustenance of an organized society. He emphasized that a Senator must be attuned to the needs of the people, must understand the type of laws that would raise the standard of the people, and must be available to the people being represented. He describes himself as the man in the neighborhood

The candidate identified the major challenge of the legislators nationwide as being high expectations and responsibility. He said while some lawmakers may be on the floor of the national assembly, their constituents may be judging him or them on the grounds of infrastructure provision and project execution which may not be the primary constitutional functions of the legislative Officer. On his affirmation of service and availability, he promises to set up liaison offices at the seven local governments that make up his constituency, where he will receive complaints and first-hand information and complaints from his constituents as well as host town hall meetings on a timely basis.

The session was brought to a close after interactions for over an hour plus. It was Co-anchored by Mr. David Etim of the Calabar Chambers of Commerce, and Mr. Iso Bassey, the founder of The Cross River Movement (TCRM).

Click here to watch the Interactive Session with Candidates of the Cross River Southern Senatorial District.