Against political permutations, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River State, Senator John Owan Enoh and his campaign train to the northern part of the were was greeted with a tumultuous crowd wherever they went in that region.
There have been speculations that the candidate was going to face rejection in that area, since the sitting governor, Prof Ben Ayade hails from there.
But Owan Enoh was received by an unprecedented crowd in all parts of the northern senatorial district where he decided to flag-off his campaigns. Even royal fathers, chiefs and elders did not hide their acceptance of the APC candidate as their choice.
"We will take a chance on you. We have heard you, and you have been convincing”, said council chiefs and all other stakeholders who met at different places with the governorship candidate.
Speaking at all the venues, Owan Enoh said the unprecedented reception he had enjoyed from the people of the northern senatorial district was an indication that the people were genuinely yearning for change and had all acknowledged the poor performance of the incumbent governor.
His words: “Ayade is your son, but as they say, a good friend is better than a bad son. Across the state, Ayade has nothing to show.”
According to him, “I directed all the state house of assembly candidates in our party to draw three columns on a plain sheet of paper; and in the first column, they should record things that were done by the previous administrations of former governors, Donald Duke and Liyel Imoke- in their constituency.
“In the second column, they should record what Governor Ayade has done within his tenure in the constituency. Then, in the third column, they should record what their people expect from the next administration. The column for record of what Governor Ayade has done was virtually empty, and that means he has not impacted on any state constituency or in the life of the people.”
“Cross River has never had it so bad. We have lack of order and leadership in the state since 2015 when Governor Ayade came into office.” He said what was needed “by our people are simple basics necessities of life, none of which Ayade has provided. I am passionate about providing leadership in our state. We had experienced it before in the state. Together as a party, we will rescue the state from lousy governance and restore its lost glory; this is why our campaign theme is 'Better Days are Possible Again.'
At the palace of the Paramount Ruler of Obanliku, His Royal Highness, Ochua Amos Itim, Owan Enoh explained to the chiefs in council that “my governorship ambition is not against the north but against Ben Ayade who has failed the state and its people. It is not about me but the state. We all agree there is need to rescue the state and to bring back betters days and take us to the next level.
“I am pleased and challenged by the warm reception we have been accorded. We planned our campaigns to be in the form of town hall meetings in each local government, but the people turned it to be a rally”.
“Some of you tell me that a good friend is better than a bad brother, I agree. I will be a good governor that will not have to wait for elections before doing or starting to do what I am supposed to do for the people.
“The governor is from Obudu, and it is under his leadership that Obudu ranch resort has gone aground. Under his watch, the Bebi airstrip has stopped functioning, and the international mountain race has ceased.”
“Also, under his watch, the Obudu mini stadium has gone dilapidated and many more things which would have been counted for gain that a son or a brother became governor and made it better than he met it. I will make all of them function and within six months after the election, I will ensure local government elections are conducted; a feat the incumbent government has been unable to achieve.”
The governorship hopeful asked the people of Obanliku in particular: “Is there any reason Obanliku people will vote for Ayade after killing the Cattle Ranch, the International Mountain race and the Bebi Airstrip?” There was a unanimous “no.”
According to Owan Enoh, Ayade had made it so easy for opponents to defeat him even in his Obudu hometown. The paramount ruler, in his response prayed for the candidate, saying, “may God make way for you. What we want is that everything should be done to ensure that there is peace in Cross River State. By God's grace, you will become governor. Let election not be a do or die affair.”
Paramount ruler of Obudu, His Royal Highness Uti J.D. Agba, also led his council of chiefs to receive the APC candidate and offered prayer for him. He noted that all the contestants were his subjects.