The stage is almost set for this year’s governorship election in Cross River State on Saturday between two of the strongest political parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate/incumbent governor, Prof. Senator Benedict Ayade and the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Senator John Owan-Enoh.
Both candidate possesses the capability to pilot the affairs of the state, however, only one person will be elected by the people in Cross River with their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) on Saturday.
The talking point has shifted from their usually political campaign rallies to the main stage where the mighty shall know their fate from the moment the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) set the ball rolling on Saturday by 8am to 2pm when the whole process would have been concluded.
It’s not a matter of who has the highest party members or followers but the choice of the people to decide who should lead them in the next four years.
There is no doubt that governor Ayade has transform Cross River State with his developmental policies, which could be seen from the rapid growth of things in the state within the three and half years that he has spent in the helm of affairs.
But Prof. Ben Ayade has said that no one has the clout to defeat him, claiming that he has done well since he came on board. To him, all the on-going capital projects with numerous appointments given to youths will speak volume for him when the time for reckoning comes. The governor said he was not worried about his re-election in 2019, adding that the issue of his re-election a for second term was a done deal. Ayade stated that: “If you ask me if I’m worried about my re-election, I will tell you I all.”
Using the power of intellect, Governor Ayade within the last three and half years has put Cross River on a path of sustainable growth. The 260 km dual-carriage Calabar-Katsina-Ala superhighway, the biggest road project to be conceived and commenced in that section of the country is one of the signature projects of the Ayade Administration. The purposefulness of the superhighway was not lost on President Muhammadu Buhari who did not mind political differences to give his endorsement to the project. The $3.5 billion highway will be by far Nigeria’s most sophisticated road with speed cameras and Wi-Fi internet connectivity.
The Calabar Garment Factory reputed as the largest garment factory in the world by floor size.
Gov Ayade’s on a familiar terrain and will do everything possible to ensure that he remain in the mantle of authority for another four years.
On the other hand, the APC governorship candidate, Owan-Enoh, who was once a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before defecting to his present party, also understand the trend and terrain when it comes to governance, having represented Cross River Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly as a senator.
Within his two years in the senate, he had done 44 water projects, 12 roads and culverts, attracted employment opportunities to so many youths of the constituents and so far 4,023 have benefited from his education support intervention scheme across the 66 wards of his senatorial districts.
One key thing that might work in Owan-Enoh’s favour would be the presence of the ‘powers that be’ in Nigeria’s politics, which has been reflected in some of the Governorship elections that has been conducted in 2018 in states such as Ekiti and Osun State respectively.
Owan-Enoh is also expected to have that financial backup from some of the key players in the party such as the National leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President Muhammadu Buhari, National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole to mention a few.
Meanwhile, Owan Enoh disclosed that zoning will not save Ayade. He said the zoning formula which the incumbent governor claimed to hinge upon will not help his re-election bid for second term.
“I am running this election to win and to change the narrative in our dear state. I have traversed the state and what I can say is that the people are ready for a change in leadership in the state.
“The unprecedented reception I have received from the people of the northern senatorial district is a demonstration of the fact that the people are tired with the present administration.
“The present administration has not made impact since elected into office in 2015. We have lost order and leadership in the state between 2015 till date.
“Together as a party, we will rescue the state and restore its glory; that is why our campaign is tagged “Better Days are Possible again in Cross River,’’ he said.
It is yet to be seen who would eventually win the mandate of the people after Saturday’s governorship election, however, the coming days would unravel the next governor that will pilot the affairs of Cross River State.