By Tayo Joseph Lagos
It was a sea of human heads yesterday at the grounds of Calabar Municipal Council as the people of Cross River South under the aegis of 7-Alive adopted the state Governor, Professor Ben Ayade for 2019 elections.
Leaders, youths and women from the senatorial district declared their total support for the Governor, saying he has surpassed their expectations in less than 3 years in office amidst dwindling federal allocations and heavy debt burden.
The Chairman of the extremely Influential socio-political pressure group, Chief Asuquo Ekpenyong and other top political leaders from the district affirmed that they will support governor Ayade to complete his eight year term based on his excellent performance and the existing zoning arrangement in the state.
The 7-Alive Local Governments of the South asserted that besides the fact that Ayade is the man they trust to return power to the South by 2023, his administration has been good to the region with the appointment of nine of their sons and daughters as members of
the State Executive Council, with most of them holding key portfolios such as Finance, Health, Petroleum, Gas, Information and Transport.
They also cited projects completed and ongoing that are located in the South to include the ongoing dualization of Calabar/Odukpani junction highway to end the torture that commuters have been enduring on the single lane federal road which is the gateway into a rapidly developing city like Calabar;
The completion of design, debushing and commencement of earth works on the 275 km super highway.
The completion of design, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), on the super highway and
commencement of pre-construction and reclamation works at the Bakassi Deep seaport.
Other projects that were named include the completion of the garment factory, pharmaceutical factory, agro-industrial park, rice seeds and seedlings factory, construction of Ayade referral hospital in Odukpani, completion of design of Teachers Continuous Training College TCTC, Biase.
Governor Ayade who made a brief stop at the event announced automatic employment for 3000 young people.
The governor said: “Today, look at the statistics, voluntary payment of school fees, house rent payment, medical bills payment, Cross River has noticed a significant improvement, you will notice that more flights are coming into Calabar today.
“You are realizing that the menace of Skolombo boys is over, you are realizing that we are having a finer class of society. We may not have eliminated crime in totality, but there is progress. There is homeland security taking care of that.”
“It is against that strength that I am here before you. But, I know very very well that normally in traditional societies where there is always focus on the bottom line which is money, governments don’t focus on people; they focus on projects and things that will get them reelected.
“But I have focused on the stomach, I have focused on the intellect and the future that you have got that I know is bigger than even mine; that I feel that this intercourse that we are having will bring a better tomorrow for you,” he said.
The crowd under the aegis of ‘Seven Alive’ led by business mogul, Mr. Asuquo Ekpenyong kept singing customized tunes urging Mr. Ayade and his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu to seek another term in office in 2019.
And, after several speeches from different leaders, a motion for the endorsement of Mr. Ayade and his deputy was moved by the Deputy Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Mr. Joseph Bassey (PDP, Calabar South 1) and seconded by Mr. Ogban Ogban.
Mr. Bassey said the motion was borne out of a careful evaluation of Mr. Ayade’s performance and other factors. He said that: “On behalf of the people of southern senatorial district, seven alive; after carefully evaluating, crystallizing all the activities and projects of our governor, we the people of southern senatorial district hereby move and be moved that Senator Professor Ben Ayade should be adopted as a consensus candidate in the 2019 elections.”