…Impossible, We’ll Rescue CR from You, Ekpo Okon Hits Back
By Magnus Effiong
Gov Ben Ayade has boasted that the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Sen John Owan Enoh, does not constitute a threat whatsoever and that he was sure of defeating the Senator hands down in the forth coming governorship election.
He said the acclaimed popularity and followership of the Senator was a mirage as everything, including the zoning arrangement embellished in the subconscious mind of the Cross River people, would work against the APC flag bearer during the main contest.
Christian Ita, Chief Press Secretary/Senior Special Assistant to Cross River State Governor who spoke in a chat with our reporter on behalf of the Governor, noted that Ayade’s performance in office, together with the zoning arrangement which favours the Governor’s senatorial district, would ensure the Obudu-born governor secures the much talked about second term in office.
“Over a hundred pressure groups across the State have endorsed His Excellency and are working assiduously to ensure he returns. Sen Owan Enoh or any other person is of no threat whatsoever.
“People speak of Sen Owan Enoh’s followership in the central and south but let me state that His Excellency has followership from all the senatorial districts based on what he has done to positively impact on Cross River people.
“By the time we do elections early next year, Sen Owan Enoh would have spent four years in the Senate, but so far, how many bill has he sponsored? Gov Ayade was in the senate for four years same as Owan Enoh and he sponsored 47 bills and was given an award as the best Senator of the 7th Senate.
“Popularity is based on your antecedent. The economy of Cross River today does not require people that have no knowledge of how to create a necessary business environment because Cross River is not Akwa Ibom and not Rivers in terms of federal allocation.
“You spoke about bad roads in Calabar but today, as we speak, the government has started massive renovation works on all road networks in Calabar. Things are gradually falling into place. Today, you go through length and breadth of the State, there are many projects scattered all over Cross River.
“A lot of works is going on in the first phase of the superhighway. We would have gone far with that project if not for the federal government and some Cross Riverians who played politics with that project. There were several petitions and even the federal government took us to court.
“Two weeks ago, the federal government steering committee and implementation committee were on ground over the Bakassi Deep Seaport project. Under three years, we have got more approval and done more work in Bakassi deep seaport than Ibaka deep sea port in Akwa Ibom which started about ten years ago.
“The political amity we are enjoying in Cross River is because we have a zoning arrangement in which every zone knows that after every eight years, the governorship must come to them but Owan Enoh came out to scuttle that understanding. Do you think those in the north, whose right he is trying to take away, would vote for him? I do not think so, and that is why we are saying that Owan Enoh does not constitute a threat to us at all.”
But the Deputy Governorship candidate of the APC in Cross River State, Ntufam Ekpo Okon, disagreed, arguing that Gov Ayade’s performance would make it impossible for the Governor to defeat the APC saying the Owan Enoh/Ekpo Okon combination was determined to rescue the State from gross incompetence.
In a chat, Okon, who defected from the PDP shortly after failing to get the party’s senatorial ticket, said many things had gone wrong with the State since the incumbent governor took over and that his team would bring Cross River from backwardness.
Asked whether his association with Sen John Owan Enoh was not scuttling the existing zoning arrangement in the State, Okon said, “In 1999 when Donald Duke contested, there was no zoning. 2003 when he went for a second term, there was no zoning, yet he won. When Liyel Imoke contested in 2001, there was no zoning, he won.
“In his second term too, there was no zoning and he also won. For the first time when we created zoning and barred everybody from everywhere, look at the crisis we have. As far as I am concerned, let us go back to Cross Riverians and find out from them what they want and that will ideally be done at the polls. If you meet their needs, they will vote for you; that is democracy.”