Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade has debunked claims that he ordered chairmen of the 18 local government councils to lock up shops belonging to non-indigenes for voting massively for Labour Party in the February 25th Presidential and National Assembly polls.
An unsigned statement was circulated on Saturday in parts of major towns in the state, announcing that the APC leadership in the state has ordered council chairmen to lock up shops of non-indigenous traders in Cross River State.
Most of the shops ordered to be locked up include those in popular Watt Market, Marian Market, Ikom Market, as well as those in Ogoja and Obudu.
“The APC leadership blames non-indigenes in the state for the failure of Governor Ben Ayade and Ntufam Edim Inok at the polls in the just concluded election.
“We cannot continue to tolerate indigenes, especially Igbo traders in Cross River State, working against the APC. But for the ‘stranger elements’ in Calabar Municipality, especially the Igbo people, that voted overwhelmingly for Labour Party, Ntufam Edim Inok should have won the Reps seat of Odukpani/Calabar Municipality. Now, we are aware that there is another grand plot by this stranger elements to vote out APC as a form of protest against INEC for declaring Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President-elect.
“Council Chairmen are to direct all non-indigenous traders to vote APC or risk their shops being locked up,” the said statement read.
In a text message to an Igbo leader in the State who had contacted the Governor, Ayade replied that, “It’s a horrible blackmail from the pit of hell.”
Spokesman of the APC campaign council in the state, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla also said, “This is bunkum, balderdash, ludicrous, ridiculous, blatant falsehood, infantile, vile, and malicious propaganda by the fragmented and morally bankrupt PDP and its allies who are at the forefront of the agitation to divide Nigerians along sectarian lines to grab power through inferior methods.
“APC is the only national and progressive party that has as part of its manifesto the promotion of true federalism, inclusivity, and a united Nigeria.
“The above assertion is not from APC. There is nothing therein to indicate it emanated from APC. It is outrightly rejected. It is pure fiction calculated to demarket APC and should be disregarded and discounted.”