The overwhelming support for the re-election of Governor Ben Ayade across the 18 local government councils of Cross River State in the March 9 governorship election has reaffirmed the unwavering and unflinching commitment of Cross Riverians to ensuring equitable distribution of powers amongst the three senatorial districts of the state.
Ayade, who in 2015 magically withered the storm to emerge PDP governorship candidate from a retinue of aspirants and subsequently emerged victorious in the main election is the first Governor from the northern senatorial district of the state. After over 50 years of the creation of the state, Cross River North which was deliberately designed to be minority with only five local governments out of 18 was only considered best for deputy Governor.
Before Ayade came on board, Cross River state has had three elected Governors. Two were from the central while one from the South. In fact, jointly, the Southern and Central senatorial districts had done 18 years. Mr. Donald Duke did eight years from the South, Imoke 8 years while Chief Clement Ebri, did two years in the second republic from the central. This means that of the three senatorial districts in the state, the central have held power more than any other zone.
With this development, many right thinking Cross Riverians had expected that Gov. Ayade will be challenged in this year's election by formidable candidate from the north or at best, the south that have been out of power for 12 years. Although they were aspirants from the other two senatorial districts, but the greatest bewilderment of many was how the major opposition party in the state, the APC came to the conclusion that it was best to field a candidate from the central that produced two Governors out of the three before Ayade.
As expected, the APC candidate, Sen. John Owan Enoh was thoroughly defeated by Gov. Ayade who is the PDP candidate in the election. In a grand style, Ayade won him in all the local governments councils including Etung where he comes from.
Ayade's victory for many of us is not a victory for the PDP but for equity, fairness and justice. The emperor who felt he can disrespect the gentleman agreement which has held the state together has now learned a lesson that the God of old who provides for birds remains God and has risen to the defence of the minority north.
The election was a referendum on equity and justice. The overwhelming support for Ayade is a reaffirmation to the fact that Cross River believes in zoning. It is an indication that the people believe that no man, no matter how highly placed can destroy the peaceful coexistence of Cross Riverians because of selfish interest and ambition.
In a special way, I want to say a hearty congratulations to Governor Ben Ayade and the entire good people of the north in particular and the state in general for not allowing themselves to be bought over by the desperados.
Gov Ayade will run his next four years smoothly and a Southerner will takeover from him in 2023.
God bless Cross River State!