By Magnus Effiong
The All Progressives Congress, APC, has officially flagged off its campaign in Ogoja, Cross River North with a mammoth crowd of supporters, party leaders and government functionaries in attendance.
Speaking at the event, Governor Ben Ayade called on Cross River people to vote for all the candidates of the party and assured of better deal in the next dispensation.
He boasted that of all the three presidential candidates slugging it out in next month’s polls, only the APC’s Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has capacity to move Nigeria forward.
The governor, who is the APC senatorial candidate for Cross River North, argued that justice, equity, competence and capacity to deliver demanded that Tinubu and Otu become president and governor respectively.
He said, “Tinubu can fix Nigeria. Tinubu is an experiential architect with eyes-on and hands-on. He is a man who has got capacity; he has been invited at this time to do all he can to see to the growth of Nigeria.
“I, therefore, ask every person here to vote for Tinubu and also ask everyone here to please, tell every Nigerian to vote for Tinubu. It is the turn of Southern Nigeria to produce a president.
“Nigeria must remain one and the indivisibility of Nigeria is based on the principle of justice. It is also based on that sense of justice that I ask you to vote Distinguished Senator (Prince Otu) as the next Governor of Cross River state.
“Tinubu has said he was going to ensure that the Bakassi Deep Seaport was completed under his first term. If he does that, with a dual carriage road and the superhighway, Cross River will be the next Lagos.
“So supporting Tinubu is total because if he could fix a populous Lagos with calmness and decency, moving to the 5th biggest economy in Africa, then he can fix Nigeria.
“Let’s support Tinubu to become president of Nigeria so that the Bakassi Deep Seaport can be constructed.
“It is the turn of Southern Cross River to produce governor, North and central having produced theirs. Prince Otu has the capacity, he has the intellect, he has integrity, he has content, he has every single element that qualifies one to be governor.”
On reasons his constituents should send him back to the Senate, the Governor enumerated his achievements adding, “For instance, I built the first Vitaminized Rice Mill in Ogoja. For the first time, a state polytechnic is coming to Ogoja. For the first time, Ogoja has four Commissioners. Ogoja is my home.”
On his part, the governorship candidate of the party, Senator Otu, appealed to the people to vote for him and his running mate, Hon. Peter Odey who is an indigene of the area, promising to consolidate on the gains of the Ayade administration.
High point was the endorsement of Ayade’s ambition by Ogoja monarchs and chiefs who vehemently gave their blessings to the Governor, Prince Otu and other candidates of the party.
The Paramount Ruler of Ogoja and chairman of Ogoja Traditional Rulers Council, Mathias Odey Abua, who spoke for his colleagues said they were not only endorsing the governor but also all candidates of the party from top to bottom.
Describing Ayade as the “God we are seeing with our eyes right now”, the monarch expressed gratitude to the governor for what his administration has done for Ogoja.
” Your Excellency, you are the God we have seen with our eyes right now. You are the father of Cross River state and on behalf of my chiefs, I wish to thank you and tell you that you are there already.
“We endorse you and your party; we also endorse all the candidates too.”
The carnival-like event had in attendant the state Deputy Governor, Professor Evara Esu, Cross River state APC gubernatorial candidate, Senator Bassey Otu, his running mate, Hon. Peter Odey, State APC chairman, Barrister Alphonsus Eba among other party chieftains and government functionaries