Electioneering as Incubator to High Cost of Governance

No form of government can be considered cheap to operate wherever and so long as corruption thrives in the polity. therefore, the expensive nature of the Presidential system of government Nigeria adopted in the Second Republic after experimenting with the Parliamentary system in the First, does not justify why government and governance is expensive However, apart from the many loopholes and various drainpipes that corrupt and wicked operators of government and their foot soldiers might have created with intent to ambush funds, single handedly or conspiratorially, election and electioneering constitutes another veritable incubator for hiking the cost of government and governance. Whereas one of the roles of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is the monitoring of how campaign funds are sourced or raised and spent, the electoral umpire’s lack of capacity or unwillingness to carry out that mandate, compounds the fight against corruption and related abuses.

In the face of the observed failure or lacuna, funds meant for executing projects for that would have enhanced the lives of the citizenry or moneys traceable to illegal sources such as gun-running, drug and similar criminal syndicates, including foreign or mercenary collaboration, are deployed to undo rival candidates and/or good causes. Such loot and accruals, often laundered of the Nigerian financial systems or mostly converted into hard foreign currencies, are often stashed away in unusual containers in private farms, garages, store rooms, water tanks and toilet rooms. Fear of Treasury Single Account (TSA), you would say. As would be expected, because one successful deal leads to another and since backs must be rubbed, the benefactors most often lie low and wait for the slightest opportunity to recover their questionable investment in quantum and in excess through similar illegal, covert and dirty means. this puts a wedge to the implementation or completion of major public infrastructure and various development projects, thus constituting a huge cost to the state and nation.

Even when discoveries are made or suspicions are rife, probing becomes a much bigger issue which could eventually gulp huge state funds or the allegations are simply swept under the  carpet. Ahead of every general election, unclassified sub-heads emerge as questionable funds are pumped into the system to foster both good and bad causes which produce a mixture of fortunes for politicians of all hues and cry. A President, several State Governors and hundreds of legislator at the state and national levels seeking second term or additional tenures or fresh higher mandates, (for the parliamentarians) or seeking to support favored candidates in their steads or as contemporaries, take advantage of their incumbency to dip into the “improbable” security vote or whole constituency projects or partially saved of such funds (after empowering a handful of their constituents). With these invaluable sources, all sorts of patronage, contracts and consultancies to facilitate a successful electioneering and elections are doled out. this could extend to post-poll largess depending on the level of success attained or appreciation the principals and their core aides intend to express.

All these constitute costs to government and governance. During periods like this, we observe exodus of people across the country, states, LGA, council wards, cities, towns, villages and constituencies, polling units and collation centers within a short time span to campaign or vote for (a) particular candidate(s). Year 2015 witnessed the most rampant when antiex- President Goodluck Jonathan Northern elements literally imported their indigenes and adherents from their places of residency, work, business and/or school all over Nigeria to return home to vote and help their own to realise his ambition of transforming from General (retired) to President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB).

In the past, movements like these frequently happened across the borders especially at the nation’s Northern Tanks where illegal immigrants from Niger, Chad and Sudan reportedly crossed to vote for those they considered their Nigerian brothers or blood relatives. Not surprising that the Jonathan presidency tried to curtail this aberration and he met his nemesis in the conspiracy of his own party men that ousted him. So why is ‘crowd renting’ during electioneering sounding like a new entry into the nation’s political lexicon? the coinage has been there and still is with all the big political parties, irrespective of their support base or the followership they seem to enjoy, engage in renting crowds. Many participants at rallies would hardly attend them if they were not sponsored or ferried from their bases. In fact, some of those attending do so just to survive on patronage and may not be valid voters or may be without Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) or even the temporary ones and may end up not voting.

Many are involved only because they are angling for political positions rather than to catch votes for their political idols or principals. that is why the size of crowds may not be an indicator of potential success at the polls. Yet, the cost of feeding and transporting both the campaign organizers, and “As leaders, it is their duty consultation with, us the led, guidebooks, to find a way around escalating poll-and-governance phenomenon to save the ship from wrecking.” the “boys and girls”, and sharing pocket money to them remains a waste of resources that the candidate would desire to recoup once he assumes the position or returns to power. About anytime a set of elections was held throughout the country or in a state of the federation, man hours and huge resources are lost to avoidable embargoes and restrictions as well as over-mobilization of security forces and various agencies as if these (polls) constituted an emergency.

While it is understandable for those involved in polling duties to be tied down the specific task, what can one say of those whose only duty is to exercise their franchise – cast their all-important vote? the real value of elections is the power to do the needful by enthroning the desirable and undoing the undesirable a la “when the righteous rule, the people rejoice…” However, here lies the greatest damage/ danger of being apathetic or failing to carry out one’s civic duty either because of frustration of being shut out, impatience due to long hours of accreditation, not having faith in the process or not caring a hoot who participates or emerges or not therefrom. Personal or societal indiscipline, lack of patriotism or religious bigotry could only be the reasons for refusal by citizens to exercise their rights. To every aspect of the malaise, there is a cost attached – to the individual citizen, citizenry and the state/ nation. Logistics is another huge consumer of other resources and accumulator of debts and deaths (waste of lives) during electioneering and elections.

Convoys and vehicular escorts of workers in essential electoral duties and party agents, as well as conveyors of sensitive and other election materials are common features of polling duties and movements. Chauffeur/self-driven vehicles of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and those drawn from the pools of these establishments are normally deployed to related duties but in spite of the huge resources often released to fuel, repair, service and maintain these indispensable instruments of mobility, the wear-and-tear of many years does not normally equate the damage often inflicted on them during the polls period. Occasionally, the moving engines and machines get involved in avoidable accidents because of over-speeding or caught up in dastardly ambushes by hired thugs, supporters or sympathizers of opposing factions, parties or candidates resulting in mayhem, death or grievous
injuries though the electoral umpire and governments of the day enjoin the citizens generally to eschew violence and other unpatriotic acts, it is unfortunate that hired thugs and cult groups have capitalized or relied on the suspicions, scorn, hard drug abuse, emotional outbursts and violent clashes heading to or arising from electoral disputes in the field and collation centers to cause psychological traumas and other health hazards.

As with violence prior to, during and after polling, celebration of electoral victories is sometimes also known to come with some cost to the nation. the mass destruction of billboards and tearing of posters which some pro- Buhari fans had inflicted on ex-President Jonathan’s campaign in Bauchi State and a few other Northern Nigeria towns surfaced in Cross River as an unsavoury trend which has gone beyond the misdemeanor of miscreants to an interparty face-off between the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and All-Progressives  Congress (APC). Campaign materials come with a cost and ought to be allowed
to serve their purpose of advertising the parties, candidates and their programs.

All sorts of malpractices amidst cheating, betrayals, double-crossing, extortion and short-changing are
dishonest behaviors that nurture poverty among people, dog-eat-dog syndrome, corruption and
under-development indices. the false presences, fast guy, smart dude psyche/mentality of latter generation are costing the nation much in the Human development index such that even where there is work to do, many youths are jettisoning the burning the midnight oil preferring the short cut to
wealth and fame. the conspiracies of the parties in charging outrageous intent and nomination fees hardly accounted for by the same party leaders the short-changed aspirants and candidates regard as
crooks. To skin aspirants or contestants for various public offices of more cash, party officials threaten the former with a gale of disqualification and tantalize them with re-qualification. the same chieftains almost always have their way holding the successful candidates/new set of leaders to ransom for supposedly festering their ambitions. this victimization has thrown up a situation where former victims have turned round to prey on fellow party members as seen in both major the parties – PDP and APC. Some have learnt to be hijackers of resources dropped by the high-hill candidates relying on them as former aspirants to deliver to a cross section of party members through various support groups.

They have rather ripped of both the big-spending candidates including their opponents who defeated
them in the primaries and denied some of the support groups of any form of material support as if out to avenge their defeats. Yet, if by any stroke of luck those they have ripped off turn out winners and form an emerging government they would hold them to ransom in their misplaced desire to be settled for the key roles they pretend to have played in securing the electoral victory(ies) akin to what some politicians term as “servicing of loyalty”. At the end of the day, electoral tasks are but herculean as the victories are expensive or at times Pyrrhic!  is is because in the field, as level or circumventing as it may be, contenders, pretenders, reputation or attention seekers and vote (PVC) traders (sellers and buyers), jokers and political comedians/clowns abound. Imagine the new craze about fielding presidential and governorship candidates but ending up throwing in the towel only to ironically float their paper weight behind an incumbent or more solid colleague! Others resort to brow-beating by seeking party tickets from the courts of law in the guise of being the authentic “owners” of the party whereas the space is said to be wide enough to accommodate as many would desire. If not, why not found one anew?

Just when you thought the elections had been won and lost and the victors sworn in or inaugurated and
assumed/resumed duties, you would discover “you aint seen nothing yet!” the election tribunals are
a certainty for the losers to try their luck. Here, in spite of glaring evidences or the lack of any regarding the peaceful, free, fair and credible conduct of the polls or otherwise, the electoral process is subjected to ridiculous inconsistencies while the comics, comedy of errors and tragi-comedy come to play! At the end of the day, tax payers lose in millions and billions, much of the funds they thought they had tried to saved voting the right man woman for the job while some hapless litigants are drained of their hard-earned cash pursuing delayed and denied justice.

Howbeit, as in life generally where the kingdoms of light and darkness, to wit, good and evil contest to undo or outdo each other, high electioneering and election cost under our stage of development, appears both unavoidable and a necessity. Many who are accumulating their ostentatious living further feather their nests while others are battling for a living to survive the strait economy. Consultants of different shades, transporters, printers, food vendors and other traders and their agents or other middle men and women who offer various goods and services, whether genuine or qualitative and even their fake or poor versions, take something out of the system irrespective of who they offer to or who uses these goods and services.

So one way or the other, you and I, politician, political office holder or their aides or agents as well as the white or blue collar worker, traditional ruler, community or opinion leader, even the innocent commoners, are beneficiaries of this preliminary huge cost. However, the leaders and those who seek our mandate instigate it thus incubating the resultant government and governance cost. therefore, as leaders, it is their duty in consultation with, us the led, and the guidebooks, to find a way around the escalating poll-and-governance cost phenomenon to save the ship of state from wrecking.

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GUBER 2019 POLLS: Ayade deserving of 2nd term – NULGE

The Cross River State Chapter of Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), has reaffirmed its support for the re-election of the state Governor, Senator Ben Ayade. the union made the
declaration in a statement issued at the weekend by its state chairman, Mr. Godwin Ayendi. While describing Ayade as the most-Labour friendly in Nigeria, the union express appreciation to the governor for fulfilling his promise of donating a 17-seater Innoson bus (IVM 6540) to the union. “the Union thanks His Excellency for fulfilling the pledge he made early last year. the vehicle will greatly aid the Union’s general mobilization activities. the gesture underscores his status as the most labour-friendly Governor in Nigeria. “Labour is pleased with His Excellency for prompt payment of salaries, a feat he has maintained from day one in office and fostering harmony.

He promoted local government workers and has also redeemed his pledge by releasing the sum of N500 million for soft Agric loans to local government workers.“Governor Ayade is also on the verge of signing the amendment to the Cross River State Local Government Law consolidating the position of Head of Local Government Administration (HOLGA). For Local Government Employees, Senator Benedict Ayade is deserving of a second tenure and more.”

Earlier, Governor Ayade described NULGE as a critical ally in driving his dreams for the state and it is important for the state government to support and encourage their activities for the general good and industrial harmony in the state. the Governor reiterated the fact that the civil service remains the engine room of any Government and sustained effort must be mobilized for the development of the State Government workers.

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Obanliku Shuts Down for Ayade, as Thousands Throng Campaign Ground

An unprecedented crowd recently over crowed the Sankwala Cenotaph venue of Governor Ben Ayade’s campaign rally in Obanliku local government area of the state. the motley crowd of artisans, okada
riders and market women lined up all roads leading to the venue to cheer Ayade as his campaign train made its way. The enthusiastic supporters danced and sang the Governor’s praises as they pledged to cast their votes for him and all PDP candidates in the coming elections. When Prof Ayade mounted the rostrum to speak, a deafening chant of “Ayade is a goal” rented the air, with the jubilant crowd surging forward to physically touch the governor and pledge their support for his re-election. It took spirited efforts of security agents to keep the ecstatic crowd at bay. Speaking later, the evidently elated governor told the people of the council area that Obanliku was strategic to the state as the LGA housing the famous Obudu ranch resort.

He promised speedy completion of the 147-kilometre Mfom-Okuku-Obudu ranch road project linking the five local government areas of Cross River North senatorial zone. As a demonstration of the importance he attaches to the ranch, the governor disclosed that the Obudu/Obanliku axis of the road has already been asphalted in order to aid easy access to the facility. the Cross River State chief executive
also pledged rapid urbanization of the council area by transforming it into a modern town complete with modern infrastructures. Said Prof Ayade: “l want to assure you all that as a proud son of the (CR) North,
l won’t fail you. Be rest assured that l am very committed to the welfare of our people and all the developmental projects we have started in the north will be completed in our quest to develop our zone in line with others.”

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Cross River APC Scribe, 1,000 Others Defect to PDP, Campaign for Ayade

The mass exodus of members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River state continued at the weekend when the assistant secretary of the party, Mr. Sunday Omang, led over one thousand of his supporters to defect to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) during Governor Ben Ayade’s campaign
rally in Bekwarra local government area of the state. Until his defection, Omang was also a member of President Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organization in the state. Addressing thousands of cheering PDP supporters at the rally, the erstwhile APC scribe, flanked by his co-defectors said no sensible Cross Riverian will remain in the APC after seeing Governor Ayade’s massive industrialization drive and infrastructural development of the state just within three and half years in office.

Omang said:” my decision to join the PDP was never influenced in anyway by anybody. Rather, I took the
decision alongside my supporters to join PDP because of the good works Governor Ayade is doing to transform Cross River.” According to him, “we are very impressed with development under Ayade, hence
our decision to join the PDP train in support of our northern brother to move the state forward. And l want to assure you that we would work for your victory and we appeal, we should be fully integrated and
accepted in the party.” Also at the rally, the northern zone of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) declared their unalloyed support for the governor in his re-election bid. They predicated their support for Ayade in office on his achievements including the ongoing dualization
of the 147km Mfom- Okuku-Obudu dual carriage highway which cuts across the five local government areas of the north.

The Governor was also adopted by 50-member strong okada riders’ association in Bekwarra who pledged their total support. In his response, Governor Ayade said his government has already acquired machines to set up a groundnut shelling factories in four locations of the local government. He also announced plans by his administration to set up a vegetable oil factory in Bekwarra. Ayade also told the cheering
crowd that Bekwarra will be the biggest beneficiary of the ongoing 270 kilometers super highway when
it is completed linking Cross River state with the northern part of the county. Earlier, the Governor was overwhelmingly endorsed by the Paramount ruler, clan heads and all the chiefs of Bekwarra.

The Paramount ruler, HRM, Linus Ogbeche Odey, informed the Governor that Bekwarra has over seventy thousand voting strength, assuring the governor that 100 percent of the votes will be cast for him.

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‘Atiku Angels’ Group Mobilizes Support for Atiku, Ayade

A political support group totally dedicated to the electoral victory of the PDP Presidential candidate,
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the forthcoming elections has in Obanliku mobilized support for the former Vice President and Governor Ben Ayade. the coordinator of the group and Secretary to the Cross River Government (SSG), Barr. Tina Banku Agbor, who was at the Cross River State PDP rally held at
Sankwala, Obanliku, garnered massive support for Atiku and Ayade at the campaign.

In a campaign rally of an unprecedented crowd of Obanliku people drawn from all parts of the LGA, equally saw the ‘Atiku Angels’ featured prominently, chanting and singing songs in praises of Atiku and
Ayade. Speaking during the rally, the coordinator of the support group, Barr. Agbor said that the Atiku Angels was totally committed to ensuring that the PDP Presidential candidate and Governor Ayade secured clean victories come February 16 and March 2, 2019.

“We in Atiku Angels support group are fully devoted towards ensuring that His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar achieved a landslide victory in the Presidential elections and our dear governor, Senator Ben Ayade secured his second term. Our members from all the 18 LGAs of the state were mobilized to come for the campaign rally that commenced on Tuesday in Yala and Ogoja and had moved to Obanliku the following day. You can see the mammoth crowd and my support group chanting solidarity songs for Atiku and Ayade. In Obudu and Bekwarra on  ursday and in Boki my own LGA on Friday, we will
equally mobilize our members and other Atiku and Ayade people until victory is achieved”, the Coordinator said.

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42 Political Parties Queue Behind Ayade

42 political parties have pledged to deploy their structures and support base in support of the re-election bid of the incumbent Governor of the State, Prof. Ben Ayade in the March 2, 2019 election. they also announced plans to formally adopt the governor as their candidate on January 26, 2019. Led by the State Chairman of Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), Mr. Michael Sunday and his Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) counterpart, Mr. Paddy Ally, the parties said the governor deserves their support on the strength of what he has achieve in office. Sunday, who is also the gubernatorial candidate of Independent Democrats (ID), commended Ayade on his industrialization drive as well as prompt payment of salaries to civil/public servants.

His words: “Your Excellency, before you are chairmen of 42 political parties in Cross River State. When the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) opened the window for political activities to begin, many people including you, resolved to buy forms to contest for the governorship seat of the state. “But as time went on, we called ourselves together and said the incumbent Governor has not done badly. We began to take stock. We looked at the by-pass, a place that was kind of swampy, today that place has become an industrial hub; and this was done in three years.” Justifying their decision, he maintained, “Often times, when we hear people say you have not done this nor that, they forget to also mention what you have done. I tell people that if somebody comes into power and has built road, the next person should focus on doing something else, and that is what Ayade has done by industrialising the state and that is why we have decided that we are going to drop our ambitions and support you.” Continuing, he said by adopting the Governor, the parties were “adopting industrialization, prompt payment of salaries, economic growth and a good man with a good heart.”

Speaking in a similar vein, he assured the Governor that “forty thousand members of our group would gather on the 26th of January to support you. “We have come en masse to adopt you as the governor of this state, and we are going to demonstrate the same on the 26 as I said earlier.” Responding, Governor Ayade expressed appreciation to the parties for finding him worthy of their support and assured them that he would not disappoint them and the people of the state. He added
that his love for the state overrides every other consideration.

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Environmentalist, Odey Oyama Backs Ayade’s Re-election …Lauds Industrialization Drive

The Chief Executive Officer, Rainforest Research and Development Centre (RRDC), Odey Oyama, has pushed for the re-election of Cross River State Governor,Senator Ben Ayade, citing his industrialization drive as being among some of the feats that should earn him a second term. the renowned environmentalist and social critic also reappraised his earlier contrary stance on the construction of the
superhighway and the deep seaport, insisting now that they are necessary for the economy of the state.
Oyama, who made his position known to newsmen after an on-the-spot visit to the Ayade industrial park, maintained that his earlier position against the projects, especially the superhighway was from a
misinformed narrative.

“the superhighway and deep seaport are all interwoven because if you remove them, these things may not work fine. If we are going to do export, it will not work if we exclude these two projects. If you want to hit the market in the north without a good road network, these projects will not work, so, we need to work them out,” the environmentalist enthused. While voicing his support for Governor Ayade, Oyama stated: “ e present administration led by Prof Ben Ayade has surpassed others since 1999. “We all need to be involved in encouraging the governor to make all these projects work. What is lacking is information as people don’t have the correct information, this is what we need to work on.” Continuing, the civil society advocate who hitherto had a contrary position with regard to the superhighway, pointed out that “we need to connect with the people to understand what is going on here because when they don’t understand, they pass on wrong information.” Recalling the negative perspective to Ayade’s
industrialization efforts, Oyama said: “I was told that machines were just kept here in the factory (rice seedlings) for the president to come and see and after which they took them back to their owners. Today, I have seen them myself, they are still here. I have also seen the factories, they are being built, it is interesting that even when the factories are yet to be completed, the machines are on ground.”

Commending Ayade for his industrialisation drive, the environmentalist disclosed: “I have been to Calapharm and Garment factory where I saw about 3,000 workers, that is much. I can’t remember any government here employing 3,000 workers in three years, let’s face the fact. I have also seen the rice, I saw it on WhatsApp and Facebook, I thought it was artificial, so I say I must come and touch it myself and take photographs here.” An entrepreneur, Blessing Egbara, who was on the entourage said of Ayade:
“I have carried out a lot of research on these factories and I must say the governor has done a lot. I am an entrepreneur; the governor is not just a governor but knows how to create jobs for his people and he has done more added to what I saw before now.” Continuing, Egbara intimated that “we are here to see more, take shots and tell the world what he has done because information is key,” adding that, “we will put these on social media to educate our people on the need to support our governor to come back and do more; this is industrial revolution.

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Ayade Receives Ex-AG, Nella Back to PDP, Says Power Returns to South in 2023

A former Attorney- General of Cross River State and deputy governorship candidate of the Labor Party in the 2015 general elections, Mrs. Nella Andem Rabana on Wednesday returned to the People’s Democratic Party with a pledge to work for the reelection of Governor Ben Ayade. Explaining her reason
for returning to the PDP, Rabana said she has always been an advocate of the interest of her constituents
and having seen the performance of the Governor, it was only fitting that she returned and support his
reelection bid. “I was not enticed out of PDP, it was a decision that I made and why did I make that
decision? I felt that the interests of the people and the community that I belonged was not served and I left. “I moved to Labour, but at the same time, I have always said and will continue to say, my state comes first. It is above and should be above all other interests.

As a result, when the announcement happened, I said it is God who enthroned and if He has enthroned someone, that is who I will recognize, full stop and who was it? Professor Ben Ayade.” She disclosed that her departure from the PDP had accorded her the opportunity to view things in a holistic manner and after her first meeting with Ayade she became convinced that the governor had a “heart of gold. “I have engaged the Professor, our governor, not as PDP but as another party and sometimes for you to have objectivity, you need to be standing outside and looking in. I have had the opportunity of standing and I have seen what is outside and I have decided to come back because this is a family,” she said. Continuing, she disclosed: “There was something about PDP, there was camaraderie, there was friendship, there was brotherhood, you felt you are a family, you knew everybody and everybody knew
you and you looked out for each other. things happened, yes, but generally there was camaraderie and that is what I missed and I say I missed.

“Now, it is a good thing and I thank God for the opportunity to have sojourned a little bit outside. It gave me an opportunity to compare because I believe that when you make a comment, it should be based on something; that is why I love statistics, I like numbers, if I don’t have a number, I will keep quiet; so I have compared and I say where we are in Nigeria today, in our interest, we had better go back to PDP,” she added.”On the reelection of the governor, she said: “I came to fight, to make sure and I will fight with others. the point is, we cannot be disjointed,” adding: “We will not be afflicted with injustice, we will not be afflicted with undue semantics.” the state chairman of PDP, Mr. Inok Edim, while presenting Rabana with a membership card from her ward said: “From today, on behalf of the PDP family in Cross River State, on behalf of the leadership and by the powers conferred on me as the chairman of Cross River State PDP, I hereby welcome you back to the party and promise you that all your rights will be restored.”

Governor Ayade, in his remarks, explained that the next elections would be more about the peace of the state, even as he wondered why some politicians were taking actions that were inimical to the states socio-polity. “From your house, from your own family, from your own local government, the people come out, everybody comes and says no, we don’t want you this is our son, what he is trying to do is not good. We have given him opportunity for 20 years and we cannot see what he has done. He has always taken it all to himself and from your own family, they choose to go back and support another person.
“They did not stop at that; they say it is turn by turn. the south had it for eight years, the central for eight
years and I have just done only three years plus. If you are in haste to collect it, that is why even if you want to do it for only one term, you will be in haste to hold it back,” he said. Promising that power will return to the southern Cross River in 2023, the Governor averred: “Any man who says that he will take
another man’s turn is not a good person.

It is the turn of the north and for you from the south, you know that in four years’ time, you are the one to produce the governor; if you allow it to go to the central, it means that you are extending your stay out of office for another 20 years because you have been out for almost 16 as it were, if you add my total tenure. “So, it is for your own good to know that what SAN said today that she returned because for her it is an existential battle, it is about a good governor who has done so well.” Ayade who promised that residents of Calabar South Local Government Area will enjoy stable power supply before the presidential polls added: “Today, I am telling you it is not about politics of PDP and APC, it is about the peace of Cross River State; turn by turn.

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Ayade Enjoys State-wide Acceptance in Cross River – CoS

Chief of Staff to Cross River State Governor, Hon. Martin Orim has described the massive and enthusiastic crowd that thronged PDP campaign arena at Wanakon, Ukele in Yala local government area of the state recently as the manifestation of state-wide acceptance Governor Ayade enjoys in the state.
According to the Chief of Staff, the governor’s signature projects cited across the state are undeniable evidences of the governor’s determination to reinvent the state and put it on the path of economic growth hence the overwhelming support he enjoys.

Hon. Orim praised Ukele people for keeping faith with the Ayade administration and urged them to speak with their voters’ cards during the elections by voting PDP candidates, including the governor. The PDP rally at Ukele was the flag off of the party’s campaign for the forthcoming elections.

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Rousing Welcome, Endorsements Overwhelm Ayade in Northern CRS

At every juncture, tens of thousands of cheering supporters, defying the scorching sun, went into a
frenzy at the sight of him. Security personnel were helpless. they had tough time fending of the ecstatic
crowd from their principal. But how do you prevent a people from delivering to their son just three harmless but weighty messages:  that “he is a goal”, that he has done well and that they will vote to
retain him in power?  Of course, it was quite impossible and so, the more the security personnel tried to
maintain order, the more the crowd burgeoned, increasing in length and breadth, frantically surging forward to have physical contact with him, showering praises on him and pledging total support for
his re-election. though tagged campaign rallies, but at every stop, it was practically more of re endorsements and reaffirmation of love and trust in a son in whom they are well pleased. Essentially, between Tuesday, January 22, 2019 and Thursday, the 25th, the entire landscape of Northern Cross
River, with its breath-takings greenery, hilly scenery and beckoning rainforest stood head erect and shoulder high in an unapologetic obeisance and adulation of one of its own,

Governor Ben Ayade whom they say is a worthy son who has proven his mettle in the arduous task of piloting the affairs of the South South state in the last three and half years. Northern Cross River is made
up of five local governments; namely Obudu, Obanliku, Bekwarra, Ogoja and Yala. At each of these councils, Ayade received a heroic welcome, overwhelmed by a monster crowd of jubilant supporters.
Upon arriving each of the local government areas, the governor first held a meeting with the paramount rulers and the Traditional Rulers’ Council, explaining to them his quest for a second term. After listening attentively, the monarchs gave their royal blessings and endorsements. Ayade’s campaign message was
clear and succinct: That he has performed credibly in his first term to deserve a re-election, citing his government’s massive industrialization drive and socio-economic and infrastructural development of the state aimed at creating jobs and decoupling Cross River from over dependence on monthly federal allocation.

Besides, the governor argued that the unwritten Cross River charter of equity be respected in the sense that Northern Cross River should be allowed to complete eight years in office akin to how Southern and Central Cross River represented by former governors Donald Duke and Liyel Imoke respectively held
the governorship position for eight years each. The campaign tour of Yala kicked off at Ukelle, a border
town with Benue and Ebonyi states. the intimidating crowd at Ukelle roared with deafening cheers when the governor announced his government’s determination to speedily complete the Ukele-Katsina Ala road and plans to build a mobile Police Barracks in the border with Ebonyi state to curb incessant clashes with Ebonyi communities over a piece of disputed land.

Chants of “Ayade is a goal”, “Ayade is our own”, “na Ayade we go follow” filled the breezy Ukelle air as the campaign train departed the rustic community and made its way to Okpoma, headquarters of Yala LGA, where the banner and placard-waving crowd went gaga on sighting the governor. Ayade had a hectic time wadding through the thick human traffic to get to the podium as a sea of heads formed a ring at both thanks of the open field where the rally took place. An admixture of Ayade songs and waist-tasking dance steps – all eulogizing the governor – combined to give the campaign rally a carnival’s
flavor. And then, the field became electrified when he mounted the podium! A more eye-popping crowd, dramatic and electrifying scenes were also to confront the governor at Bekwarra, Obanliku and
Obudu, his home local government area. For example, at Obanliku, undulating roads of the hilly town were seized by the residents who massed on both sides singing and dancing.

Obanliku hosts a large Fulani community and members of this community utilized the opportunity the campaign tour provided to show their “Cross Riverness” and love for Ayade as many of them lined
the roads too and cheered the governor endlessly in the local Obanliku dialect, pledging their votes for him. At Sankwala, headquarters of Obanliku where the rally took place proper, an overwhelming crowd made up of artisans, okada riders and market women lined up all roads leading to the venue to cheer Ayade as his campaign train made its way. A certain pregnant woman, no longer able to contain her
joy in having Ayade in town, loudly declared that she was going to name her unborn baby Benedict, after the governor (if she bore a boy) or Linda, after the First Lady (if a girl). the enthusiastic supporters danced and sang the governor’s praises as they  pledged to cast their votes for him and all PDP candidates in the coming elections.

When Ayade mounted the rostrum to speak, a deafening chant of “Ayade is a goal” rent the air, with the jubilant crowd surging forward to physically touch the governor and pledge their support for his re-election. It took the spirited efforts of security agents to keep the ecstatic crowd at bay when the governor mounted the rostrum and started addressing the people in impeccable Obanliku dialect. Hearing the governor speak in their tongue so effortlessly increased the tempo of the agitation of the frenzy crowd to have physical contact with him. Speaking later in English, the evidently elated governor told the people of the council that Obanliku was strategic to the state as the council housing the famous Obudu Ranch Resort. He promised speedy completion of the 147 Mfom-Okuku-Obudu ranch road project linking the five local government areas of Cross River Northern Senatorial Zone. As a demonstration of the importance he attaches to the ranch, the governor disclosed that the Obudu/ Obanliku axis of the road has already been asphalted in order to aid easy access to the facility the state chief executive also pledged rapid urbanization of the council by transforming it into a modern town complete with modern infrastructure Said Prof Ayade:

“l want to assure you all that as a proud son of the North, l won’t fail you. Be rest assured that l am very committed to the welfare of our people and all the developmental projects we have started in the north will be completed in our quest to develop our zone in line with others. Campaign tour at Bekwarra provided a fertile ground for APC defectors as the Assistant Secretary of the party in the state, Sunday Omang led more than 1,000 members to announce their cross-carpeting to the PDP at the rally. Standing beside Governor Ayade, Omang told the massive crowd that no fair-minded Cross Riverian will still be opposed to the governor after seeing his trail blazing achievements in three and a half years. Obudu, Ayade’s home local government area witnessed the mother of all crowds. the mini stadium venue of the rally swarmed with thousands of excited supporters. thousands more took over the recently asphalted Obudu axis of Mfon-Okuku-Obudu ranch road, drumming and singing. Accessing the rostrum was an uphill task for the governor. It took his security details over an hour to meander through the crowd to get him to the rostrum. It was solidarity songs and pledges of support all the way amidst intermittent burst of “He is our son”, “Ayade carry go”, “Four more years”. Reacting to the mammoth crowd that thronged the governor’s re-election rallies in Northern Cross River, his Chief of Staff, Mr. Martin Orim said:

“It is only a governor who has completely captured the minds and hearts of the people with life-changing socioeconomic and infrastructural projects in just three and a half years of assumption of office that can record the kind of heroic reception His Excellency got in the north where an overwhelming crowd of supporters in the five local government areas of zone locked down the councils to register their total support and determination to vote him back into office” the Chief of Staff further said: “His Excellency is a worthy son of Cross River, he is a worthy son of Northern Cross who has done his people proud by
piloting the affairs of the state admirably. His impressive report card has made the north proud. the north, just like the southern and central zones, is proud of this governor whose achievements in office in his first term remain unequaled. the massive and ecstatic crowds that trailed his re-election campaigns are metaphors for a pat on the back for a job well done”.

A retired headmaster and an Obanliku indigene who said he campaigned vigorously for the governor during his quest for the senate and in 2015 during his first term governorship campaign, is of the view that the massive love and support Ayade enjoys across the state is not just because of his achievements in office but also because of his humble, unassuming nature. His words: “This is a governor, who has
no airs and exudes none; who is accessible to all Cross Riverians irrespective of status. I don’t know of any governor in Nigeria today who is still maintaining his old mobile lines, who personally picks his
calls and replies text messages; but Ayade does.” the retired teacher further said: “Ayade’s compassion for Cross Riverians knows no bounds.

Here, we have a governor who stops his convoy to greet and interact with Cross Riverians wherever and whenever he sees them in a gathering. It is not a surprise therefore that a sea of heads emptied into the
ranch and lined up from there to Utanga to show love and support for him. It is not also surprising that our ‘Digital Governor’ came down from his convoy to personally greet them.”

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