Leaders, women and youths in the South Senatorial district yesterday adopted Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade for second term.
They did the endorsement on the platform of the Seven-Alive group, saying that Ayade had surpassed their expectations in less than three years in office despite dwindling federal allocation and a heavy debt burden.
Chairman of the socio-political pressure group Chief Asuquo Ekpenyong and other top political leaders from the district affirmed that they would support Ayade for second term based on his excellent performance and the existing zoning arrangement in the state.
The seven-Alive Local Governments of the South asserted that besides Ayade’s performance, they were looking forward to power returning to the South by 2023.
It said that the region had been favoured with key appointments of nine of their sons and daughters as members of the State Executive Council – holding key portfolios such as Finance, Health, Petroleum, Gas, Information and Transport.
They also listed projects completed and ongoing that are located in the South to include the ongoing dualisation of the Calabar/Odukpani junction highway to end the torture that commuters endure on the single lane federal road which is the gateway into a rapidly developing city like Calabar; the completion of design and commencement of work on the 275 kilometre Super highway and 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.
Ayade, who made a brief stop at the event, announced automatic employment for 3,000 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.
After the speeches, a motion for Ayade’s endorsement was moved by Deputy Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly Joseph Bassey (PDP, Calabar South 1) and seconded by Mr. Ogban Ogban.