December 9, 2023

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2023 Guber Race: Allies Gang Up Against Ayade

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Godwin AJOM, Calabar


There is now a serious gang up against Prof Ben Ayade, governor of Cross River State, over his stance on the zoning of the seat of governor to the southern senatorial district. His bosom friend and business associate, Chief Chris Agara is spearheading the onslaught against him.

It will be the second time that Agara and Ayade will be going against each other for political reasons. In 2019, Ayade ditched Agara who was seeking to have the ticket of the PDP for the senate election. He traded Agara off, to be able to secure his own return ticket as governor.

At that time, power brokers in the PDP had insisted that it was either Ayade accepts for Agara to have the senate ticket while he would lose his own return ticket. Ayade was forced to abandon Agara in the middle of the road and was able to get his own ticket.

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The duo were not in talking terms for a long time, but they eventually reconciled and Agara was assured that he would be supported to get a ticket to contest and become the next governor. Apparently, that was why Agara did not hesitate to defect to the APC with Ayade, as soon as the governor dumped the PDP.

But months after defecting to the APC, Ayade came under intense pressure to support what has now become the back-to-south campaign agenda. Agara is from the central senatorial district and is seriously desirous of becoming the next governor.

The governor has since declared his stance publicly, endorsing power shift to the southern senatorial district, a decision that has pitched him against his friend, Agara and some other contenders from the central senatorial district, including Senator John Owan Enoh and Pastor Usani Uguru Usani.

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Penultimate week, Agara hosted a meeting in his Abuja home, where they started discussions on how to tackle the governor over the zoning issue. The trio were in agreement, that they would not allow the governor to decide their fate in the name of zoning.

Some days after the Abuja meeting, Owan Enoh hosted an enlarged meeting at Ikom. Various stakeholders also attended the meeting, from where they kicked against zoning of the office of governor to the south.

In separate interviews, Agara and Owan Enoh defended their stance, saying that the outcome of the last by-elections in the state was a pointer to the fact that if the party insisted on zoning the governorship seat to the south, the party would lose during the general election.

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For example, Owan Enoh said they decided to make the moves to save the party from disgrace by the PDP during the general election. He said rather than being seen as a group of people that have ganged up against the governor, they should be celebrated for being patriotic party men who have the interest of the party and that of the state at heart.

It is not yet clear when the trio would meet the governor over the matter. But the governor is believed to be in a state of confusion as a result of the development. A source who confided in TNN said the governor was shocked that he was being resisted by people he called his allies and friends.

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