2019: Obong Of Calabar insist on zoning as C'River Traditional Rulers Council Endorse Ayade

Cross River traditional rulers council at the meeting.

The 2019 re-election bid of Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade on Monday got another huge boost as the State’s traditional rulers’ council threw its weight behind him, declaring the state as wholly Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The Chairman of the council and Paramount Ruler of Bakassi Local Government Area, Etinyin Etim Okon Edet announced the decision of the council in Calabar, the State capital shortly after Governor Ayade presented certificates and staff of office to two new paramount rulers for Bekwarra and Obanliku Local Government Areas.

Etinyin Edet kick-started the process by reeling out achievements of the Governor Ayade’s administration and announced his endorsement.

Following a question by the Bakassi monarch on whether Ayade should be endorsed, there was a unanimous voice vote in affirmation from the hundreds of first and second class chiefs present.

The Obong of Calabar, His Majesty Edidem Abasi Otu V in his remarks, stressed that the order already established for the rotation of the office of governor in the state would be followed as it was binding on all Cross Riverians.

This is even as he insisted that not only has Ayade earned a second term on account of his sterling stewardship but that Cross River is purely a People's Democratic Party (PDP) state.

According to him, "This state is PDP. I am not a politician, but these other people that have defected and are going round trying to look for one thing or the other, they are all PDP members. They can bear any other name but all I know is that they are all PDP members because in this state, we have just this party and it is a family."

Continuing, the highly revered monarch said: "We have an understanding that is binding on every son and daughter of this state. We rotate political offices, we move our governorship position. The way it has been scheduled you cannot come in overnight and say I want it here. No! We are not that crop of people and we are very decisive. Unfortunately, we may be very poor but we have our integrity. We must uphold our integrity; we must not turn this state into something else. It is not where anyone can jump in from anywhere and say they want to do this and do that. That is the orderliness and we must show the world that, that is what we are and that is what we will always be and that is what I will always want to be.”

He also lauded Ayade on his foresight in seeking to build the Bakassi Deep Seaport and the superhighway.

He urged the governor to sustain the momentum of industrialization, adding, “We need forward thinking leaders like Ayade, we need to have the superhighway to open up this state or else even if you put all the industries here, where will you carry them to?”

On his part, the Obol Lopon of Ugep, Obol Ofem Ubana said: “The words of our chairman are enough and I support the position concerning the governor’s re-election in 2019. Today we ticked you right and we will do so come 2019. Cross Riverians are here, the spirits of the state are here to say you have done well for the last three and a half years.

We approve that you should go back.”
On why they decided to endorse the governor, he insisted that “when you have a good product to sell, you don’t labour to advertise it. Governor Ayade is a good product. Let me borrow the words of our chairman where he said that you are our revelation. You have revealed to Cross River State that things that we thought were impossible are possible with good thinking.”

Also, Africa’s longest serving monarch and paramount ruler of Obudu, Uti J.D Agba in his remarks pointed out that the Governor had been active in rebuilding the economy of the State and contrary to opinions held by some, “he is doing it and that is why it is enough reason for us to appreciate his effort and I am happy that there is nobody who is going to be disappointed.”

In his response, Governor Ayade commended the monarchs for living above board and explained the reason why he had expanded government while industrialising the state to create jobs for the over 6,000 Cross Riverians who graduate every year.

“It was because I came with a roadmap, I came with a direction; I knew where I was going. If you are producing 6,000 graduates every year and there is no job for them, you are inviting crime to your doorstep, you are inviting cataclysm, No matter what, in spite of your rural road problems, you have to create jobs for those younger people, we have to industrialise, the deep seaport has to work, the superhighway has to work – that is our core business.”

He charged the monarchs to look into issues of governance and support the government to ensure the delivery of democratic dividends.

“You are paramount rulers, you are the custodians of our culture and our heritage. In fact, now you are the spiritual fathers, have you asked why the superhighway is not on construction phase? Our own brothers and sister joined hands with foreigners, joined hands with other people from other parts of the country who do not want us to have this deep seaport to write petitions against the deep seaport, to write petitions against the superhighway and reduced all of these things to APC and PDP politics.

“How can you play politics with the life of a people, with the development of a people, with the future of our young men and women? How can that be politics? You as paramount rulers, you as the custodians of our culture, you are the people who hold the afro-centric philosophy of our afro-politan theory that you must always provide a shoulder for a brother to lean on and that we must aggregate and come together in the African spirit of communalism.
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