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2020 LG Election: Boki Youths Protest Alleged Imposition

From Bong Aniekan, Calabar



Ahead of next year’s local government elections in Cross River State, hundreds of placard-carrying youths of Boki local government area blocked the Governor’s office gate in Calabar.

The youths were protesting against several issues, one of which is the alleged imposition of candidates in the forthcoming local government election in Cross River State.

Some of the placards read, ‘Our voices must be heard’, ‘We say no to over age leaders’, ‘Boki youths say no to cultism, drug abuse’, ‘We say no bad leaders’, ‘Ayade come to our aid’, among others.

The youths also said they were opposed to recycling of politicians from Boki who have been in power since 1999 to date.

Speaking with journalists, one of the youth leaders and chairmanship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, Kidze Leo, said “In our hearts we have a lot of worries. We are saying no to imposition of one person against the opinion of many people. There have been a lot of killings in Boki which leaders have not come out to react to. They are only interested in their political ambition.

“Someone who has been nominated and confirmed as commissioner at that level will go as low as causing confusion. It is a big disappointment. I am a businessman and politician, an aspirant (chairmanship) for that matter. If I don’t come out to speak, who will talk for millions of these people? We have come to join forces to produce a vibrant chairman during the election.

“The leaders causing confusion have been in power for a very long time. They don’t want anybody to rise to their level or even above them. They are intimidated by young people coming up in politics. When they see a rising star they gang up and bring you down. They brainwash the other youths who are hungry, who cannot fend for themselves and use them against the other fellow youths. But this time, the majority of the people who want to see this transformation are on this side. So, we will definitely conquer.”

Another chairmanship aspirant also on the PDP platform, Jonathan Osang, said “they should allow us to go freely into the election. The problem of Boki is not the youths. The problem of Boki is the leaders. They have been in power since 1999 to date. They were there when they were youths. Now they don’t want the youths to grow. We have a digital governor. We need a digital youth as chairman. The problem of Boki can never finish if we don’t have a youth as chairman.”

He said the youths were very angry because the people that died during the recent crisis “were our brothers, they were our friends. They were our relatives.”

The Permanent Secretary in charge of security in the Governor’s office, Sir Alfred Mboto, addressed the youths and promised to take their matter to the governor.

The state has been without elected council chairmen in the 18 local government areas since the expiration of the tenure of the previous elected chairmen in 2015.

The state electoral commission recently issued a notice of elections in February 2020 and this has led to a flurry of activities at the local level.

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