Ben Ayade

In Cross River, Ayade Takes Centre Stage

bennSenator Ben Ayade’s governorship bid appears to be the talk of the town in Cross River, writes Shola Oyeyipo
Either by accident or design, Senator Ben Ayade, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) aspirant for the 2015 Cross River State governorship election seems to be having a good time. This is because apart from the favourable ratings he is enjoying across the various geopolitical zones of the state, he has continued to excite not only his party, but several groups and associations in the state.

From the moment his aspiration was made public some weeks ago, the political equation in the state has changed significantly and became more boisterous with hundreds of socio-political groups throwing their weight behind his aspiration. Indeed, it is worth researching how the senator representing the Northern Senatorial Zone comprising Bekwarra, Obanliku Obudu, Ogoja and Yala has continued to charm the party, thus becoming the toast of many stakeholders in the state.

However, for many, especially his followers and political associates, it is not surprising that he has become an issue on the turf. For them, he has the gravitas to wield as much influence and curry an equally intimidating support base.

With such virtues and qualities as credibility, trustworthiness, vision, progressivism, resourcefulness, transparency and humanity, which many say are emblematic of Ayade, they have perhaps continued to smooth his path and galvanize his supporters ahead of the November 29 governorship primaries and beyond.

It was not shocking therefore that a coalition of over 40 socio-political groups and non-governmental organisations from the seven local government areas of the Southern Senatorial Zone, last week, under the aegis of Southern Peoples Coalition (SPC) affirmed their support for his aspiration.

“Having taken a closer look and having done a proper check on all the governorship aspirants, Senator Ben Ayade remains the best material to step into the big shoes of Governor Liyel Imoke in 2015,” the coalition stated.
The group, in its estimation, thought Ayade was the most credible, trustworthy, visionary, progressive, resourceful, transparent and most people-oriented personality.

While vouching their total commitment to the ‘Ayade for 2015 Project’, another coalition of youth and women groups, drawn from the Southern and Central senatorial zones said Ayade stood out from the pack, given his intellect, ideas, experience as an entrepreneur and his vast local and international contacts.

The coalition, which claimed to have begun consultations to ensure Ayade’s emergence as candidate of the PDP, he was the only the senator that possessed the resume and the clout that fits the state’s profile.

“Having watched the tireless effort of Governor Imoke and his infrastructural legacies, only the best epitomised by Ayade is good enough to further the developmental strides of Governor Imoke. He will be an easy choice for the party,” they noted.

A source close to Ayade’s Northern senatorial zone caucus disclosed that having come to terms with what he (Ayade) is capable of offering the state, there have been a momentum to ensure his (Ayade) emergence as the party’s candidate at the November primaries.

Although the claim could not be independently verified, a new wave of momentum which has witnessed the emergence of so many groups rooting for Ayade however lent credence to the claim.

At the various meetings of groups within the North, since Ayade’s declaration, for instance, there have been reported efforts being intensified to market his aspiration to other two senatorial zones of the state. Effort at marketing Ayade to the two zones is not aimed at dismissing or whittling down the chances of other aspirants, it is believed that the choice of the senator is seen rather as a better prospect as far as the future of Cross River is concerned.

As such, various groups are reportedly being formed within the Northern Zone to interface with both the South and the Central on the desirability of Ayade as the PDP candidate in November. The declaration of support by the Southern Peoples Coalition (SPC) is said to be a fillip to moves for Ayade’s emergence as the governorship candidate.

Interestingly, for a man who has the youth factor on his side, many of the groups and associations rooting for him seem to agree that he is a young man whose many accomplishments will sure turn the state around.

Several groups that want to see Ayade in the saddle in 2015 are of the opinion that the state needs a young and dynamic person as governor, given the tempo of development currently going on under the Imoke administration, adding that no one offers such mouthwatering prospect than Ayade whose governorship will help to further the developmental momentum of Imoke.

They claim they are desirous of a leader who possesses the capacity, pragmatism and resourcefulness to harness the industrialisation drive and tourism potential of the state, improve the spread and quality of education, boost agricultural productivity and agro-investment as well as improve healthcare delivery.

The groups’ excitement about Ayade’s aspiration is however palpable, just as the clamour of support for him continues to burgeon each passing day. And across the state, there appears to be a consensus that with his qualities and achievements, Ayade fits.

Women for Ayade Group, a coalition of women from the Central senatorial zone are said to have implored their caucus leaders to throw their weight behind Ayade in their choice of who emerges candidate in November.

After their inaugural meeting at Ikom, last week, the women said the senator even though is not from the zone, has touched their lives in so many ways. They specifically mentioned his subsidised transport system (Ayade Motors) which they have been enjoying over the years.

It is their belief that there is so much to be enjoyed if he becomes governor in 2015 and that the only way to bring about his victory at the poll is to maximally support him all the way. And the support already coming his way, his campaign team is general upbeat about the outlook for the state with Ayade as Cross River State PDP candidate in the November primaries.

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Posted by on Jan 15 2015. Filed under Groups. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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