By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent and Ashie Osor: Agency Reports
Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade has said that his emergence as the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party for the 2019 gubernatorial elections in Sunday’s primaries held at the U.J Esuene sports stadium was due to his effort in transforming the state in his three years in office.
Mr. Ayade had polled 1,937 votes out of a possible 2,001 to emerge winner of the primaries which he was the sole aspirant and while addressing journalists, said the outcome was a clear endorsement of his works.
“Everyone is so enthusiastic to participate in the primary to reelect me and I can only say that, it is God’s will. One thing you must know is that, the people have only come here to vote according to their conscience in spite of the fact that I am the only aspirant for the election,” Ayade said.
Continuing, Ayade who described the process that threw him up as the sole aspirant as “purely the will of God,” averred that: “You can see the overwhelming acceptance from the people through my party and I am happy that my people can appreciate my little effort so far in transforming the socioeconomic landscape of the state.”
“I came with the mission to restructure the economy of the state. The outcome of the exercise is clearly an endorsement of what I had started. I want to assure Cross Riverians that I am poised to complete the economic restructuring of the state,” Ayade said.
Furthermore, he stressed that: “I hope that the entire people of Cross River who believe strongly in the commitment of the emancipation of our people, the commitment for the freedom of expression of opinions, to allow opportunity for Cross River to find a way to survive in the event of decoupling of the state when the time comes, when Cross River and indeed Nigeria become totally restructured.”
The governor who maintained that his commitment to restructure the state is total also added that it was time for his party to get set for the general elections slated for the first quarter of 2019.
The PDP returning officer and chairman of the electoral committee, Honorable Olorogun Tebite had told newsmen that the turnout was impressive and commended the delegates for organising themselves in a peaceful manner.
“This is surprising, marvelous and very overwhelming to see massive turnout of delegates participate in this primary election which is more like an affirmation to return our digital governor, Professor Ben Ayade back to Government House,” Tebite, a former Delta State lawmaker representing Ughelli south constituency said.
He continued: “Delegates have been so calm since they arrived this venue and have conducted themselves maturely to vote as their conscience will direct them. We must applaud Cross River delegates and the state Governor Ben Ayade for the public display of maturity.”
Earlier, Tebite who had announced that 10 voided votes were casted while presenting the results to Mr. Ayade said: “Having this day done the elections in Cross River and having been nominated by our great party and having been voted for by the delegates from all the local government areas of Cross River, I Hon Olorogun Taleb Tebite, do hereby present to you the results of your elections, your Excellency, I so present.”
And, the state party’s chairman, Inok Edim explained that the turnout was a demonstration of love for the governor whom according to him, deserves a second term to consolidate on the gains already recorded.
“Ayade has touched so many lives through his industrialization projects that have already yielded employment of over 10,000 persons in the state. That is why we are all here to affirm the reelection of this visionary,” said Edim who doubles as the Commissioner for Infrastructure.
CrossRiverWatch gathered that Mr. Ayade and some federal lawmakers had on Saturday night feted the delegates and finalised the deal on his candidacy at about 10:30 PM at the Pyramid hotel in Calabar.
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