Taking a curious glance at the profile of Mr. Eyo Ekpo, former Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Cross River State one, is not in doubt, that he is not only a “political paper weight” but at most a jonny just come to town (JJC) who has a legendary penchant for mischief.
Eyo Ekpo's foray into the political landscape of Cross River State started with the advent of civil rule in 1999 when he became the Chief Law Officer under Ex-Governor Donald Duke's administration, a position that was ceded to him based on friendship than competence.
This Ex-Commissioner made the list that time because people where anxious to have a stable polity soon after the abrasive and tortuous politics of the military era no one bothered to scrutinized the credentials of those who came on board. No doubt, Eyo Ekpo got the best education can offer because he was an aje-butter whose father, Major General Ekpo rose to the top of military echelon. However, all his years, Eyo Ekpo grew up outside Cross River with no attachment to the cultural affinity of his people nor was he known to have made any contribution to the development of the state.
The Social Democratic Party (SDP) Governorship Candidate for the forth coming general elections deserted Cross River State at the twilight of the administration which he served in 2007. But to only resurface recently wanting to contest the number one seat in the state.
Constitutionally, Eyo Ekpo has every right to contest for the Governorship seat of Cross River State but in terms of contribution to the development of the State he has fallen short because he benefitted more from our common patrimony than he contributed to it during his short sting as a commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of the State. And the negative indices of his contributions are many.
Obviously it was under his watch and ineffective advice as the chief law officer of the State that led to the ceding of the oil rich Bakassi Peninsula to the Cameroon Republic in 2007. The attendant consequences of that lose has had a tsunami effect on the State's revenue and finances. Firstly, it left thousands of Bakassi indigenes Homeless, Stateless and Refugees in their own land who are now derogatorily classified as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) whose means of livelihood has been dislocated forever. Secondly, the State lost its membership of the league of oil producing States in the Niger Delta Region and as such lost its claim to 76 Oil Wells and the 13% derivation revenue accruable to the State. Thirdly, Cross River has become a nominal member in the Nigeria Delta Development Commission (NDDC) which has left it with almost zero allocation of projects.
Unapologetically, Eyo Ekpo is an unrepentant sinner who recently tried hard to make the present administration in the State the scapegoat of the over N100 Billion Debt burden that was foisted on the State by the government that he served between 1999-2007 and in which he drafted many of the infamous debt agreements. Under his watch a white Elephant project like TINAPA was executed and twenty years down the line it has yielded no revenue to the state but additional debt balance of N8 billion being the buyback amount demanded by the Assets Management Company of Nigeria before the State can take charge of the facility. As a lawyer Eyo Ekpo could not even put in place the enabling law to make Tinapa functional after its completion to make it competitive as an export free zone that it was conceived to be. So, Eyo Ekpo's reference to a fathomed blue print left by Duke's Administration is not only a deliberate way of misinforming the public but cheap lies and blackmail-a tool he has so far employed to attract attention to an unpopular candidate that he is. Even though he can hardly attract a crowd of 200 persons to his political rally he now resort to granting press interviews from his bedroom to derange or defame the present administration spinning one lie to another which are not verifiable.
Additionally, as a kitchen cabinet member of Duke's Government, Eyo Ekpo felt his personal security is more important than that of the larger society. So, he and his boss had to acquire strategic plots of land adjacent to the State Police Headquarters in Diamond Hill, Calabar, to build their personal living Estates. If it were possible, he could even have acquired a plot of land right inside the Police Headquarter as to feel much secured.
Properly put, Eyo Ekpo is one of those distractions in the political space caused by the constitutionally allowed proliferation of political parties in Nigeria which gave him the liberty of getting an uncontested slot to represent the SDP in 2019 general elections because it has not been seen anywhere that he underwent a rigorous test to get the governorship ticket which he is recklessly displaying as a “kindergarten politician”.
Unequivocally, it can be stated that Eyo Ekpo is a role model in selfish politics, being that he has never carried out any contribution to elevate the socio-economic challenges facing the masses or even the unemployed youths. It is not recorded anywhere that he has carried out any empowerment programme even as little as giving out a “wheel Barrow” to the less privilege which he is now seducing through cheap lies and blackmail to get their votes.
Finally, it is on record that it was during his time as Attorney General of the State that many high profile killings were carried out in the State which up till now have not been investigated or resolved and the culprits brought to book. For example, the killings of justice Ikpeme and Reverend Fr. Dr. Offiong. Yet, Eyo Ekpo cannot appraise himself as morally bankrupt to point accusing fingers of insecurity at the present government which has recorded “Zero Political Killing” since its inception almost 4 years ago.
Suffice, is to say that at best the candidature of Eyo Ekpo as an SDP governorship contestant in the State is at best a “Comic relief” for voters who are being suffocated by funny political parties populating the polity but “kwashiokored” by ideas that cannot better the lots of the people.
Cross River State governor, Prof Ben Ayade, has expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the Saturday Presidential and National Assembly elections, describing the exercise and turnout as both peaceful and massive.
Ayade accompanied by his wife, Lynda, arrived Kakum Town Hall, Ipong polling unit, Obudu with registration area code CR/09 at about 11:05 where they were accredited and later exercised their franchise.
Speaking shortly after casting his vote, Ayade said: "I am here in my own polling unit and I am happy that we have a very peaceful and massive turnout here in my ward and indeed my polling unit," adding: "I am also very happy with the conduct, certification and quality of training that the INEC officials and ad hoc staff have received."
The governor noted that "the process is good and I think that the fact that we are highly registered in this unit and they decided to give us additional voting points has made it a lot easier as a lot of people have already voted as of this moment, so it is clear that by 2. pm, everybody should have voted and the turnout is impressive and peaceful and I hear this is the same situation across Cross River State."
On areas of improvement ahead of the remaining elections, Ayade intimated: "I guess it is about the technology. The inability of the card reader to actually identify my finger prints calls for worry. This is Ben Ayade, this is my face, the governor of Cross River State with my card in my polling unit. That it could not authenticate my finger prints shows clearly that if there is no alternative other than the card reader, a lot of people will be disenfranchised."
Continuing, the governor maintained that "there is a challenge and I think it is a function of the temperature which affects the reliability of ICT base of this nature, so it is expected that as Nigeria progresses in our democracy, it should adopt a technology that will reflect our peculiar climate and the nature of our people."
He added further that "our finger prints vary with our nature, kind of occupation and what we do because all of these come together but I believe there is a great room for improvement as well as the choice of the technology and technical support that can allow us bypass the technology that fails."
On whether the earlier postponement of the elections has in any way affected yesterday's exercise, Ayade remarked that "the postponement could not have made a difference in any way as the enthusiasm is high, the social media has actually expanded the understanding of the people as every person of voting age is excited and wants to exercise his or her franchise."
On her part, wife of the governor, Dr Lynda Ayade enthused: "I am impressed as well as the crowd in this polling unit is a testimony that people really want to exercise their franchise peacefully."
She added that "except the challenge of the card reader in some occasions, you can see that the people are happy, I expect the best and hope that my party, the PDP wins."