2019: Ivara Esu out, Asuquo Ekpenyong in?


…Akamkpa/Biase insist on Esu, Women Want Majorie Asuquo

By Our Reporter

Governor Ben Ayade may not enter the 2019 governorship race with his Deputy, Prof Ivara Esu, as running mate if permutations and calculations from political watchers and analysts are anything to go by.

Sources in government House in Calabar are of the opinion that with the body language of those at the corridor of power, the Governor may drop Prof Esu for a more vibrant and younger person to breathe fresh life into governance.

While general opinion polls favoured Mr Asuquo Ekpenyong Jnr, Commissioner for Finance as likely running mate, most of the female respondents, however, vouch for the immediate past Chairman of Calabar South, Mrs Majorie Asuquo with the argument that apart from balancing the gender equation, Mrs Asuquo’s achievements in three years as Chairman stood her out as an accomplished politician who performed better than all her other 17 colleagues.

The Governor is said to have made up his mind on who replaces Prof Esu, either Ekpenyong or Asuquo. Hint to whether or not Esu continues was dropped by the Deputy Governor himself while addressing people of Akamkpa/Biase federal constituency during a town hall meeting to drum support for Governor Ayade’s second term bid.

Esu had frankly told his people: “I don’t believe that I should be included in this endorsement. Prof Ayade asked me to run with him for one term. I don’t want to get out of this place trying to tie the hands of the governor. We have come here to endorse Ayade for what he has done. If he decides that he still wants me to run with him, so be it.

“If he decides that I will not be his running mate, I will still campaign for him, I will still work for him, I will still be in the campaign team to deliver him and handover to him. I am so humbled that you, my people have recognised me even with my shortcomings, and wish that I should come back.”

But his people seemed to have disagreed with another person replacing Esu. Speaking, the Chairman of the Town Hall endorsement meeting, Ntufam John Okon averred:  “this endorsement is total. We are here to thank Ayade for all he is doing and we are sure that things will be better and better.

“Our own son has shown compassion. The deputy has been representing  the governor well and the relationship is one of the best in the country. There is cordiality and this endorsement is not only about Ayade, we are also saying the team should continue for the next tenure.”

Moving a motion for the endorsement, Member representing Akamkpa 1 in the State House of Assembly, Hon. Matthew Olory, had submitted: “following a resolution in this hall today, I, Hon Matthew Olory move and be it moved that Prof Ben Ayade be endorsed for 2019 election and that our son should be his running mate come 2019.”

Whether this would be acceptable to the Governor and his team of political juggernaut could not be established as at press time, but it is believed that a clearer picture  would unfold as campaign for 2019 intensifies.


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