Cross River State lawmakers in both National and state House of Assemblies have endorsed Governor Ben Ayade’s governorship form to return as the party standard bearer.
Performing the endorsement at the office of Team Ayade support group in Calabar were Senator Rose Oko, Hon. Daniel Asuquo, Hon. Mike Etaba, How. Legor Idagbo, Hon. Essien Ayi, Hon. Eta Mbora and Hon. Jarigbe Agom.
The Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. John-Gaul Lebo led his colleagues lawmakers to also pen their endorsement of Governor Ayade.
Others were commissioners, Special Advisers and Senior Special Advisers.
Displaying the form before the mammoth crowd of party supporters, as well as other support groups who came to show solidarity, the Chief of Staff to Governor Ayade, Mr. Martin Orim said the massive support from the federal and state legislators was an affirmation of the Governor’s popularity and acceptability.
It would be recalled that some federal and state lawmakers had threatened legal action against the governor if he failed to seek a second term with a promise to purchase the PDP nomination form for him.
“Today, Team Ayade has made the form available with endorsement from lawmakers urging him to continue his good work beyond 2019 on the PDP platform.
“We recall that the day the governor was here to commission this office, the Team Ayade group had told him that he had done so well, even as they urged him to run for another term. They went further to tell him that if he failed to do that, they would initiate a legal action against him, compelling him to run,” Orim said.
He continued: “When we heard that they had started selling forms in Abuja, we made a few calls to our stakeholders and put together money which was given to me and I led a team to Abuja to purchase the governorship form for our principal. This is very symbolic because it shows that we still stand by what we said to him.”
Aside the lawmakers and appointees, hundreds of supporters also thronged the office seeking to sign the endorsement columns.
The Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Lebo who led members of the House of Assembly to sign said the twenty five constituencies that make up the house have since endorsed the governor with his foot soldiers needing to focus on certain grey areas to ensure his victory at the polls in 2019.
The Speaker further stated that “Beyond endorsements we need to go back to the field and work. We need to identify our low hanging fruits and we need to complete a lot of those low hanging fruits. We have achieved a lot in the high hanging fruits.”
Continuing, he said: “I want to assure you that across the 25 state constituencies, the governor will go round, attend town hall meetings, listen to the people, look at what they identify as low hanging fruits, complete them and win their confidence.”
Earlier, the acting Director General of the campaign group, Mr. George O’ben-Etchi had said there were many reasons why Governor Ayade needed to return for a second term in office.
He said: “If you have an idea about the debt profile of Cross River State, unless you are a feeble minded person, your heart will drop because over the years, we have had to take loans to be able to provide infrastructure and do other things otherwise we will not have survived as a state. Ben Ayade came at a time when we had lost our oil wells, we had lost Bakassi long before he came and so on. So, operating became difficult.
But the man came with an ideology that we must build industries. And how do you build industries when you have no money? Cross River State being a civil service state, he was able to ensure that to hold the civil service and make sure that there were no grumbling at that aspect. Ben Ayade has been at least, the first Governor in Nigeria not to owe the salaries of civil servants.”
Also, a former Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party in the state, Ntufam John Achort Okon said: “We all support His Excellency, we know what he is to us in the state and we are hoping that by God’s grace he will win his election and continue what he has been doing. So, it is our great support for him and it is total from what you can see from all over the state.”
The unveiling of the form came on the heels of the gale of endorsement by over 350 political support groups, associations, unions and individuals urging the governor to continue beyond 2019.