Election to select a new governor is on Saturday and the APC flag-bearer, Usani Uguru Usani, says he will restore the green economy for which the state was known. He said this is part of a 9-point agenda. A green economy may mean an economy that aims at reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities, and that aims for sustainable development without degrading the environment. It is closely related with ecological economics, but has a more politically applied focus
Addressing journalists on Thursday in Calabar tagged “My bond with Cross River community” in his country home, Usani said he is coming at this time largely because the process that produced a candidate in the APC was protracted through litigation.
He said he would promote safe and secure environment for all residents, give priority to teacher education, review the health sector with emphasis on primary education, and create basic infrastructure, review tax policies and a virile youth policy.
“In my recent portfolio as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, in less than two years, the ministry has demonstrated a great deal in infrastructural facilities development with identifiable landmarks in virtually all Local Government Areas of the State”
“In terms of human development, a minimum of 500 Cross Riverians have been trained in skills for occupational choices and empowered with sums raging from 350,000 to 1m for start offs among other projects across the state”.
“I hereby convey this expression to members of Cross River Community, both indigenes and non-indigenes, it is my delight to consolidate my resolve to contest for the seat of the Governor of Cross River State”.
… But elders, others insist on zoning, back Ayade
Leaders of the seven local government areas of the Central Senatorial District of Cross River have insisted on retaining the existing zoning arrangement in the state and have thrown their backing for the re-election of Senator Ben Ayade on Saturday’s governorship election.
Asuquo Ekpenyong, leader of the 7-Alive Southern Senatorial Forum said the district is billed to produce the next governor of the state in 2023 after Ayade and therefore their support is to enable the governor complete his eight years tenure and hand over to the district.
“We have supported this government from the start and we cannot abandon it now and with the southern district set to produce the next governor in 2023, we have to do our best to make the transition is hitch free”.
Ekpenyong called on the leaders in the district to mobilise voters to vote en-masse for the governor and other contestants without fear as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) would win without much struggle.
“There is no fear of federal might because we are in charge and nobody can intimidate us; It is only when you do not have support that federal might can work but we have massive support so we have no fear of anybody”.
He said the zoning of the governorship slot is to the entire seven local government areas in the south not only to Efiks and called on people to discountenance any claims that only Efikss will contest in 2023.
The banker turned politician said Senator Ben Ayade has done so much for the district by siting industries like the deep sea port, garment factory, rice seedling plant and others in the area which shows his love for the south and should therefore be supported.
… SDP, Labour Party, also adopt Ayade
Ben Ayade’s support has also base received a boost with his endorsement by the leaderships of Social Democratic Party, SDP and Labour Party (LP) in the state.
The two parties said their action was predicated on his record in office in the last three and a half years.
At a meeting with the state’s number one citizen at the governor’s office in Calabar, chapter chairmen of the two opposition parties from the 18 council areas in the state pledged to join forces with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to deliver him for a second term.
Chairman of Forum of Chairmen of SDP, Clement Ene, told Governor Ayade that his signature projects speak for him. “After a critical assessment of your giant strides, especially your industrialization efforts across the state, including the 275 km super highway, we have come to join forces with you in the interest of the state to move it to higher heights,” Ene stated.
On his part, state chairman of the Labour Party, Baron Eyo, assured that Ayade’s re-election was a fait accompli. “Other candidates have not shown any act of seriousness which is why we are here to support you, we will do everything within our capacity to mobilize support for the PDP and the governor to succeed, ” Eyo said.
Director-General of the PDP campaign council in the state and the immediate past deputy governor, Barrister Effiom Cobham, commended the courage of the two opposition parties to stand firm on the side of truth and history.
Reacting to his adoption by the parties, Governor Ayade described the action as a manifestation of common love for Cross River.
“Our brothers and sisters in the Labour Party and the SDP have come together to say, let’s have peace, let’s keep the catalytic political balance that has created Cross River as a unique state where power migrates from South to central, North and then returns to south,” the governor said.
Ayade said he accepted his adoption and thanked leadership of the SDP and Labour Party, describing the action as “a celebration of civilization and purity of our people.”
He maintained that upon the completion of his second term in office in 2023, power, in line with the rotational principle in the state, will shift to Cross River Southern Senatorial zone.