By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent Follow @NaijaJonathan
Members of the People’s Democratic Party in Calabar Municipal and Odukpani local government area have joined about seven other local government areas in the endorsement of Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The people led by Mr. Oqua Itu on Thursday sought for an additional federal legislative constituency, an additional state legislative constituency and more political offices as they pledged their support for Mr. Ayade’s reelection bid pointing out that his performance so far was creditable.
“He is a rare gift to our generation. His agro venture project, the dualization of Calabar Odukpani junction, the garment factory, the virgin city which will offer opportunities to decongest the city centre are a few of his several projects being executed in our Calabar and Odukpani Federal Constituency,” said Mr. Itu at the endorsement town hall meeting held Thursday in Calabar which he was the Chairman.
Mr. Itu continued; “The people of Odukpani and Calabar Municipal can proudly give the governor and his deputy a well deserved pass mark.”
On the request for additional political offices, he averred that: “Create additional federal constituency out of Calabar and Odukpani as well as an additional state constituency.
“We are grateful for the much you have done for us, but like Olivia Twist, may we plead, Your Excellency, that we need two more commissioners and help us address the perennial erosion menace in the city.
“No doubt, we are happy with you and surely, at the end, you will be happy with us.”
Mr. Ayade was again absent with his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu acting in dual capacity.
And, in his remarks, he commended the endorsement and announced the sum of NGN2 million to be shared among 40 final year students from both local governments as a support for their projects.
That brings to a total, NGN7.3 million shared by 145 students at NGN50,000 each including a first class graduate of law from the University of Ibadan who got NGN100,000.
And, moving the motion for endorsement, the member representing Akpabuyo in the state’s House of Assembly, Mr. Ekpenyong Akiba said that Mr. Ayade had done well and has the support of the federal constituency.
His counterpart from Calabar Municipal, Mr. Efa Esua seconded the motion.
Several other political office holders, traditional rulers and elder statesmen in both local government areas came spoke in favor of the endorsement.
Notably absent, was the Paramount Ruler of Calabar Municipal who did not send a representative.
However, speaking on behalf of the traditional council, the Clan Head of Odukpani, HRM Mr. Ekpenyong Effiok who represented the Paramount ruler of Odukpani, said that: “There is no doubt that Governor Ayade has acquitted himself in so many areas of socioeconomic spheres. He has been consistent in not only prompt but regular payment of salaries of workers. It is on this note that he needs our collective endorsement for 2019 to complete his many projects spread across the state.”
It is expected that more federal constituencies will follow suit in the coming weeks with a grand finale billed for the Obudu/Obanliku/Bekwarra federal constituency sometime in February.