by crossriverwatch admin
As contestants to the post of governor of Cross River State, which has been zoned to the north by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, begin to dust their shoes in readiness for the combat ahead, it is necessary to beam the search light on those who seemingly by their body language are likely to throw their hats into the ring and run for the exalted post.
In retrospect, on the 14th of August, 2013, highly respected Dr. Matthias Offorboche, erstwhile deputy governor of the state during the era of Dr. Clement Isong convened a meeting at the Ogoja Council Hall to address the issue and chart the course for the search of candidates to contest the position and a good number of highly qualified sons and daughters of Ogoja turned up for the meeting and resolved to work in peace and the spirit of love towards actualizing the dream of the people of Ogoja senatorial district comprising , Obudu, Bekwara, Obanlikwu, Ogoja and Yala.
Much has been said about the so called disunity, acrimony and dog fight that would characterize the contest and as claimed, some hidden forces would ensure that the position eludes Ogoja senatorial district.
That is neither here nor there because the people of Ogoja are united and ready for the position come 2015 and His Excellency Senator Liyel Imoke, and indeed all well meaning people of the state, both in the central and southern districts are all prepared to support Ogoja in 2015.
Some believe that the district lacks someone with the charisma and unifying ability as Senator Liyel Imoke, who has in the past five years taken Cross River State through unprecedented developmental strides.
It remains to be said that no two people or administrations can be the same, it suffice, however, to be stated that the north has personalities who have made giant and indelible footprints in their chosen careers, in public life and in politics, no matter how short their foray may have been.
We certainly have numerous persons of such category in the north, and one of such is Senator Ben Ayade.
A man, who, from a background of abject lack and disadvantage has risen to become well positioned in society and is readily reaching out to others towards making them outlive lack, ignorance, diseases and timidity which today bedevil many.
Even before his assumption of the position of Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2011, Senator Ben Ayade, young, intelligent and versatile has been practically living his life for the people through granting of philanthropy, scholarships awards , financial grants, and free medical care and many other services for the people.
And since his over whelming acceptance by the people of the northern district at the polls in 2011, which was a demonstration of the confidence and love the people have for this young cerebral man, he has taken service of the people to be his sole priority.
For instance between October 2012 and June 2013, he brought in a team of doctors to offer free medical care including diagnosis, surgery, free drugs and post operation care for thousands of people in the five local government areas.
Large crowds of people who descended from the mountains and hills of Obanlikwu, Obudu and Bekwara besieged the precincts of the General Hospital, Busiafor in Obanlikwu local government area headquarters to receive free medical aid for two weeks between the 20th of April to the 6th of May, 2013.
They sat on every available space: bare floor, benches, desks and some on the field to be treated of life threatening sicknesses like ulcers, appendicitis, cataract, fibroid and hernia, to such minor ailments like headache and malaria.
The program which started in Ogoja in October 2012 relieved large numbers of people from Yala, Ogoja, and Bekwara from the pangs of death.
Ailments that would ordinarily attract costs ranging from N10, 000 to N75, 000 were done free with drugs inclusive.
In 2012, few months after assuming office as Senator, he introduced a scholarship scheme for students of the five local government areas of his constituency in tertiary institutions. Each council ward of the five council areas, four students were granted N75,000 naira annually which, by all available record is not just a novelty but quite unprecedented in the history of democratic representation in the area, nay the state by one individual.; virtually every family in the northern district is being impacted through this veritable scheme.
Recently, Senator Ayade facilitated scholarships for Senior Secondary School students in both the sciences and technical education in his constituency for the 2013/ 2014 academic session.
Youths from the five local government areas of the north who hold five credits in the Junior Secondary School with credits in English, Mathematics,and Introductory Technology, Integrated Science, Social Studies, or Citizenship Education who are moving to the senior secondary school cadre have been awarded scholarship.
In addition to the award of scholarships to those in tertiary institutions in Nigeria, and those in secondary school, thirty students from the senatorial district have accessed oversea scholarships and are now in the Philippines and Romania attending world class universities.
These free scholarship comes along with the free distribution of high yield rice to the farmers of Northern Cross River State Senatorial District. The faro 47 seedling worth multi- million Naira is distributed across the five northern local government areas of the state.
Central to the introduction of this rice by Professor Ayade is its potential to provide highest returns on investment, its high resistance to pests attack, high quality grain paddy and above all has the high yield per hectre.
The making of the Green Millionaire Program through high yield rice by the senator is aimed at creating jobs for the teeming youths and parents too.
The Senator through the provision of this variety of rice is greatly assisting to make many farmers millionaires among the people of northern part of the state who are predominantly farmers.
He is also the first representative in the state to inaugurate a subsidized transport scheme in the state.
His Ayade Motors has six fully air-conditioned buses dedicated to this project that ferret people from the five local government areas of the north to and from Calabar every day.
The frequent astronomical increases by motorists that ply those routes has been contained as people can now be comfortably taken in safe and fast vehicles to and from Calabar the state capital at an affordable cost.
On the floor of the Senate, Professor Ayade is known to have presented the second highest number of bills. He has presented bills on Nigerian refinery, Social Housing bill and several others. These are bills that touch on the lives of the common man and this was made possible because Senator Ayade himself is a lawyer and well grounded on legal matters and the art of law making. This has to a great extent boosted the image of Cross River State in the Upper Law making chamber.
For many who know him closely, he has the milk of humanity in him which occasions for his selfless and tireless commitment to the welfare of the people. He has been committed to doing good for the people even before he became Senator of the Federal Republic and his projects and programs since he became Senator are a testament to the fact that he has the capacity and good will to achieve more at a higher position.
Senator Ayade’s efforts at uplifting the people is not driven by the desperate ambition to become governor of the state in 2015 as it is being rumored in some quarters but he has been a philanthropist; distributing his resources to help those in need long before he became senator and his desire is to see the people healthy, prosperous, wealthy as his main ambition is to drive poverty out of the state.
I may not be in a position to speak on the governorship ambition of the Senator since the PDP always act as a family when it takes its decision, every member of the family abides by it but with all these qualities and novel achievements, he certainly stands tall and able to pilot the affairs of the state.
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