|Eyo Ekpo Esq|
16 September 2018
“No Opposition can beat me” remains Governor Ben Ayade’s response to the thickening plot to unseat him as the state’s chief executive. He was quoted saying the aforementioned on return from one of his numerous holidays to Abuja, confident in his preparation to give his detractors a good fight at the polls.
As Governor Ben Ayade’s first term draws to a close in 2019, he has predictably indicated his desire to exercise his constitutional right to seek re-election for a second and final four-year term. The governor insists he has executed many people-oriented projects in the state and he deserves an automatic ticket from his party (PDP) for 2019.
Continuing, the governor said “My many projects such as the Calabar garment factory, Rice Seeds and Seedlings factory, Cocoa Processing plant as well as the Ogoja Rice Processing Mill which have already created jobs for several thousand speak volumes for me.”
“The very prompt payment of salaries to workers speaks much for me. Whether Cross River has money or not, payment of salaries to its workers is a law and must ensure the fulfillment of this obligation every month.”
“These are what speak for me (sic). To return for second term is God’s reserve”
Conversely, Bishop Josef Bassey, general overseer of God’s Heritage Center briefed newsmen “During the inauguration of the new government in 2015, he made promises whereby we felt we should support him to do all those things, but unfortunately, that has not been so. In my opinion, there’s nothing on ground and it has never been this bad.”
Bishop Bassey further dismissed Governor Ben Ayade’s first term at the helm saying “for we owe the church, our generations and the government, because our commitment to Cross River State is irrevocable. Let the government hear your voice, have your PVCs at hand and have a better alternative.”
Even his own party and political platform, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) is reluctant to support the continuation of his government. PDP dignitaries said none of the governor’s projects, which they described as high-sounding such as the mechanical rice farms, superhighway, Bakassi deep sea port, etc. were for the betterment of the people but only self-serving.
Rev. Eyo Okpo-Ene, a PDP stakeholder and former government official expressed his concern: “We have resolved to ensure that Ayade is dislodged as governor of our state which he has destroyed. We are in serious engagements to bring out another candidate from the PDP from whichever part of the state. It will be anyone but Ayade. Already, we have penciled some names down.”
“Our state is completely destroyed by Governor Ayade. We, the elders and stakeholders, are working from all fronts to get him out.”
With a significant amount of opposition from his own party, the opposition APC has preemptively closed the door to the ailing governor in the event that he chooses to change platform. In a bid to quell suspicious rioting youths at the APC secretariat in Abuja, party spokesman Sankara Unung reassured party faithful: “Ayade is a man with grand scale skimming techniques. APC does not have any space for him and his ilk”.
“For a man whose party has roundly and unprecedentedly rejected him for his very poor and abysmal performance, APC cannot be and should never be his safe haven.”
With mounting turmoil on every side, perhaps the professor governor should heed the advice of his beloved wife, Dr. Linda Ayade, who has asked him severally to abandon his re-election bid. Governor Ayade said his wife was worried about the unwholesome politics being played in the state and feared it would endanger him or dent his hard earned “reputation”.
Or maybe it is time to make some more promises, especially since it’s been three years since the first tranche of weirdly concocted pledges were made and shoved down the electorate’s throats. The new improved promises should help Cross Riverians forget the old and broken ones.
However, that is unlikely to work. Increasingly, it looks like Ayade’s time is up, and the question now becomes who will replace him in Diamond Hill on May 29, 2019.
Andre writes from Nigeria