Apart from his declaration speech which went viral on social media, Senator John Owan Enoh also made some remarks at his governorship declaration in Ikom on September 5, 2018. Our correspondent in Calabar, DAVID ODEY, was at Ikom and recorded the remarks: Excerpts:
Even the very mischievous throwing of teargas cannot stop us. Can it stop you? (a resounding “Noooo” response from the crowd). It will not stop us. Even when it rained in the morning, the rain became a blessing. In the morning when I stepped out of my house, I said to myself God, in 2014, when I declared to run for the senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we started that day with so much rain. And after the rain came sunshine. And at the end of the day what happened? We had a profound victory. Just as in 2014, in 2018; September 5, 2018, we started this day again with so much rainfall. It rained as though it would never stop. But this didn't stop you. You all came from the 196 wards of Cross River state. We started off with the journey to Ikom with the rains. Rain didn't stop you from coming, did it? It didn't stop you. You know what that means? It is the strength and the will of the people.
When the people have a will, nothing can stop them. I stand before you, Cross Riverians, party men, party women. My friends that have come outside Cross River, I stand before you, taking a step of faith. For all of us that are here, we are at the threshold of the history of Cross River state. And I thank every one of you, in spite of the shortness of time, in spite of the fact that some of you were in Ikom last Saturday, you didn't mind to come back to Ikom today. I stand before you as a worthy servant. You haven't come here because of the love for me alone, you have come here because of the love for Cross River state. You have come here fired up by the kind of circumstance that exists in Cross River today. That is why we have all come here.
Yesterday (Tuesday, 4th September, 2018) in Calabar, I went to see a statesman from Cross River. I will not mention his name. And he told me 'John, you have kept me waiting for one year.' He said 'I had told you to run for the governorship of Cross River state and you told me then, that I should give you time'. He said 'John you have taken one full year.'
Now, I want to say certain things about my speech. In the last few days, I have written thrice to Cross Riverians. My first letter was titled 'Declaration To Run For The Governorship Of Our Dear State'. My second letter is followed by my declaration speech today. I understand about 30 minutes ago it went online. The title of that declaration speech is 'A Redemption Awaits Us'. Let us work hard to drive it together.
I just want to make a few comments about certain matters that have been coming up in the past about this race for the governorship. Something caught my attention in a publication in the Vanguard newspaper. That publication says “As John Owan Enoh declares for the governorship of Cross River state today, John Owan Enoh moves against zoning in Cross River politics”. That is what they said. But do you know what? In Cross River today, in the platform that I seek to run, there are three aspirants in the north that are running for governorship. There are three aspirants in the south that are running for the governorship. A few weeks ago, one of them declared for the governorship in Calabar. That publication didn't come. That publication will come because John Owan Enoh is running for the governorship. It is because our bid for the governorship is so consequential for Cross River state and for all of you. That is why it is so. But if you understand and follow the politics of our state, not since 27th of May, 1967 when Cross River state was created out of the former Eastern Region, have we had this kind of misrule, the kind of misgovernance, the kind of under performance by an administration like this one. Not since then. Our state has been badly ruled and badly governed. But I am glad you all came here in your mighty numbers. All of you have hope about the future of Cross River state. Don't you have hope? (And the crowd responded positively). You have hope for the future. That means there is a great possibility for Cross River.
Just yesterday, my attention was brought to a certain statement that I was purported to have made. And so many people got worried. Some people got disturbed....(They quoted me as saying) that I don't need votes from the Efik people; that I can become governor without them. And I told people that only somebody who is insane, only somebody who is mad can make and will make such a statement. I know why all these are coming up is because my entry into the governorship race of Cross River state in 2019 is so profound. My entry is so consequential. My entry makes a statement about the fact that in 2019 the APC is going to take over Government House in Calabar. In 2019, the APC is going to take over in Cross River, in Calabar. Everything is going to be done to stop us. But just as the rain couldn't stop us, just like we have the kind of will that we have to move ahead, nobody can stop us. I make a solemn pledge to all of you. I have been around for a while. Everybody knows that I have been around for a while. I know Cross River. I have served in various responsibilities. Somebody showed me a place about two weeks ago and said 'John, do you know why God has taken you through the House of Assembly, the House of Reps and now the Senate? God was preparing you for today'. In the next few days and weeks, I will be visiting all of you in your different local governments. In the next few days and weeks, I will be asking for your support to nominate me as candidate of the APC for governorship in 2019. I will be seeking for you to follow this movement.
The misgovernance and misrule that is happening in Cross River today affects every part of Cross River, whether it is the north, whether it is the central, whether it is the south. Misgovernance and misrule have no colour. They affect everyone. The present governor of the state comes from Cross River north. In fact, he comes from Obudu. Governor Donald Duke developed the ranch. And the ranch became a pride to all Cross River. Governor Duke is from Cross River South. Governor Imoke from Cross River Central sustained the development in the ranch by introducing an international component in the name of the mountain race. The mountain race gave Cross River an international pride of place. Governor Liyel Imoke is from Cross River central. For three and half years, you have a son from the north who comes from a local government that the ranch is named after, the ranch today, you can't go and sleep there. That is the price the people of the north have to pay for making one of theirs as governor of Cross River state. With what is happening, don't talk about zoning. If you are talking about zoning, you are playing the card for the PDP. As party in opposition in Cross River state, as a state that has gone through what it has gone through and if you have followed my politics, you will agree with me that the right man for now, for 2019 is your humble son that stands before you. Therefore, I stand before you with an urgent sense of responsibility, with humility and with the fear of God, I offer and I present myself as the next governor of Cross River state. I stand before you asking for your support. I run this race as a Cross Riverian, not as an Ejagham man or Etung man. In the next few days, I will engage all stakeholders to reclaim our state and stop the rot and decadence we now witness. If we want a future for our children, support my aspiration.