Obudu Gate: Numbers Don’t Lie BY PRINCEWILL ODIDI

In Breaking News, Columnists, Opinion

It is no longer news that PDP delivered her candidate in Obudu in a campaign led by Governor Ayade himself, what is rather news is that Ayade has proven to critics that he is master of the game and that he should be taken serious.

You may want to ask me what the game is. The real game is not really the bye-election, the real challenge is that Ayade has proven that whoever he nominates to represent his party no one can stop him.

He has further proven that he can nominate a candidate in absentia and the candidate will win even without the candidate being present to campaign a single day. He has further proven that he is master of the game. Liyel Imoke attained this political sophistication when he was in office, especially with reference to his imposition of the candidate of northern senatorial district Rose Oko.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying it is something I endorse, no, rather it clearly reveals the docility of the cross river electorate. It is an electorate of salt, Maggi and sugar, it is an electorate of stipends for the Boyz, an electorate that believes in party like a religion and the political leader revered as pastor and Ben Ayade understands that politics and understands his people.

Ayade appears to play a type of politics that is alien to the Nigerian political class. He plays a type of people centered politics rather than a politics to please elders and political elites. This explains his prompt payment of salaries which is something he finds pleasure doing and providing employment in form of appointments which drives his policy.

I am not endorsing his policy of high number of aides some of whom are just receiving salaries with no definite description of duty, but his politics points to one thing, Ayade knows what he is doing, he is a master of the art. The election outcome in Obudu points to one thing; the variables in Ayade’s political mathematics equals to the sum of the people’s expectations and electoral value.

More so, I had argued a few weeks ago that Ayade may need Imoke to scale through 2019, but from today’s election that assumption is far from it.

As a Statesman, Imoke’s advisory potential will be great, but Ayade may not really need any of the state’s political elders to scale through 2019 as he has watered down their political and electoral value with his avowed new political aides who will pay allegiance to him in public, and in polling booths even though in private conversations they will not. Ayade has proven he is a master in political machinations.

With today’s elections outcome, Don’t be surprised if Ayade changes all the members in the House of Assembly and replace them with his own loyalist in next month’s primaries, and don’t be surprised if he replaces all the House of Representatives members and current senators.

This analysis I am making, Ben himself understands what I am implying. This explains why he placed so much emphasis on the Obudu bye-elections and had to travel there himself to vote.

He knew a loss in Obudu would have empowered the opposition and would have meant the beginning of the end to his hold on power.

APC may have made a good choice to woo him to their party especially given the chemistry he has with Buhari. The President holds Ayade to high esteem. Ayade would have been a great asset to APC in the state, even though it appears the poor outing of APC in today’s election only points out that they are over rated in Cross River State. A party with less than 30 percent electoral value in today’s election would have a lot of work to do in Cross River State to be taken serious going forward.

Since it is now obvious that Ayade has a stronghold on the state’s politics, I think it is time he focuses on his signature projects and improve the living conditions of the people that put him in power.

While he has silenced the political elders of the state some of whom have moved to APC, it is obvious he is building new power blocs who will gradually edge out the 1999 era politicians. God bless Cross River State and congratulations to the new house member. Numbers don’t lie.

Princewill Odidi writes in from Atlanta, USA.

NOTE:Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Princewill Odidi, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.

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