The good people of Obudu lost the member representing the Obudu State Constituency in the Cross River State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Stephen Ukpukpen, to the cold hands of death in the second quarter of 2018.
Stephen Ukpukpen was laid to rest on Saturday, July 28th 2017 in his village, Bedia in Obudu Local Government Area. He is survived by a young widow and three little children.
The leadership of the Cross River State House of Assembly, as mandated by the law, declared the seat vacant and wrote to the Independent National Electoral Commission who released a timetable for the conduct of a bye-election.
In line with the timetable, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) conducted its primaries according to law and the widow of the late legislator Mrs. Abbey Stephen Ukpukpen emerged as candidate of the party for the bye election.
The bye-election was held on Saturday 11th of August, 2018 and after votes were collated and counted, the Independent National Electoral Commission declared the candidate of the PDP Mrs. Abbey Stephen Ukpukpen winner.
Prior to the bye-election, supporters of the other parties which include the All Progressive Congress (APC), African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN) had taken to social media to campaign against the candidate of the ruling party in the state.
The PDP on the other hand mobilised its numerous members from the local government and went ahead to campaign for its candidate in the bye election selling its manifesto and plans.
The party, as expected, won a landslide victory having more than twelve thousand votes to win the nearest party the All Progressive Party (APC) which scored only about four thousand votes.
It is instructive to note that the outcome of this election does not only show the popularity and acceptability of the state governor, Senator Professor Ben Ayade but is also serves as a prelude to the 2019 gubernatorial election which is a few months away.
What the simple minded fail to understand, which has been made clear from this bye-election, is that politics is local and there are no polling booths on social media. Elections, at least for now, are won on ground by campaigning to the people and engaging with the electorate.
Many uninformed citizens were deceived to believe that the opposition were on ground in the state through their activities on social media but the just concluded Obudu State Constituency bye-election has become an eye opener.
Senator Professor Ben Ayade will win the 2019 by a landslide against any candidate from any party. Of course, for now there are no worthwhile aspirant.
The governor will win the 2019 gubernatorial election not just because he is the incumbent but because he has performed creditably. Senator Professor Ben Ayade is achieving agricultural and industrial revolution in Cross River State within just three years of his administration.
These achievements are not just creating jobs for the citizens but also ensuring economic development with an ultimate assurance of prosperity.
The governor is also embarking on revolutionary infrastructure development like the 275km Bskassi – Katsina-Ala superhighway and the Bakassi deep seaport.
In the areas of healthcare and education, the governor is outstanding and has won awards and accolades from various reputable organisations. Indeed the list of his achievements and successes are endless.
Undoubtedly, the outcome of the forthcoming 2019 gubernatorial election in Cross River State can be predicted with some level of accuracy judging from these and many more and having seen the outcome of the Obudu State Constituency bye-election.
It is important to also appreciate the enlightened electorate in the state who have had a critical judgement of the work, successes and milestones of this administration and have maintained their support for the governor, Senator Professor Ben Ayade’s.
For all the supporters of this administration and indeed all citizens and residents of Cross River State, be assured that come 2019 gubernatorial election, you will have the opportunity to vote your visionary governor, Senator Professor Ben Ayade back to office to continue the wonderful work he is doing.
Those who know, know that 2019 is a done deal and as it is right now, “na dem dey rush us”.
Emmanuel Etim is SSA to Governor Ayade of Cross River State on Creative and Knowledge economy.
NOTE:Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Emmanuel Etim, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.
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