Governorship Primary: Youths Express Confidence In Ayade, Warn Detractors

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… ‘Our Civility Should Not Be Taken For Granted’ -Commissioner

A cross section of Cross River State youths, on Friday expressed confidence in the governor Ben Ayade’s led administration, warning detractors who intend to hijack his mandate in office through the back door to have a rethink.

Shortly upon his emergence as the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) flag bearer in its primary for the 2015 governorship election in the state, Ayade’s rival in the contest, Mr. Joe Agi, SAN, faulted the governor’s election, alleging that he falsified his age and subsequently filed a lawsuit against him.

Agi, who emerged second in the governorship primary election of the PDP, held in December 2014, presented exhibits before the court indicating that Ayade had in three different affidavits that were deposed to on oath, provided conflicting dates of birth.

The protracted lawsuit, however, took a new dimension last week after the PDP’s lawyer, Mr. N. Ibegbulam, according to Vanguard’s newspaper report dated 26 September, 2016, distant the party from the governor’s ongoing legal battle, now before the Supreme Court.

But, reacting on the development during a solidarity visit to the state’s commissioner for youth and sports development, Mr. Asu Okang, in Calabar, the youths, led by the secretary, National Youths Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Cross River chapter, Mr. Victor Ndifon, said they would resist any attempt to remove governor Ben Ayade, who was overwhelmingly elected by the people, from the office through the backdoor.

According to him, the youths would not seat back and watch anyone or group under any guise take the state backward.

He said the youths remain resolute in their support for the Ayade’s led administration because of its youth friendly policies.

“We are here out of a patriotic zeal for the development of our state. The youths of Cross River deemed it necessary to pay a courtesy visit to you because we know that you are the only person we can discuss the issues of youths with, in the absence of the governor and his deputy. “We are here today to tell him, through you, what the youths of Cross River are thinking concerning the information and stories we are hearing here and there.

“We want you to know sir, that as youths of Cross River, we stand by his excellency, Prof. Benedict Ayade and we also want you to know that the youths would resist any attempt to take the state back to the doldrums of instability. We would not watch and see some people take the state backward; we are committed to the development of Cross River”, he said.

Also speaking, the youth leader in charge of Calabar Municipality, Comrade Archibong Eso, said governor Ben Ayade should be allowed to continue his good works in office, adding that the youths were not tired of his administration.

While calling on the judiciary to ensure that justice prevails at the end of the day, he said “We are not yet tired of our governor. We are still comfortable with him. We still want him on seat. Let the press carry our position to the ministry of justice; that we are not comfortable with what is happening.”

Responding, commissioner Okang expressed optimism that governor Ayade will emerge victorious in the Supreme Court’s final ruling on the case, slated for December, 2016.

He thanked the youths for their peaceful conduct, urging them not to entertain any fear, noting that the mandate given to the governor by the people was still intact.

The commissioner, however, warned those who were hell bent to remove governor Ayade from office to retrace their steps, saying they should not take advantage of the civility of an average Cross Riverian to cause mischief.

According to Okang “We have listened to your postulations religiously and it is clear to me that the youths are following up issues. It shows me that we are informed minds and you are trendy with events as they unfold. I thank you for your peaceful conduct and the show of seriousness on issues as it concerns the state.

“We heard your concern and on behalf of the government I will like to assure you that the mandate which you have entrusted to his excellency, Prof. Ben Ayade, is still intact, to the best of my knowledge. It is the mandate of the people. It is the voice of God and if it the voice of God; it is the voice of the people.

“I will also reassure you of his commitment to youths development in the state. It is a government of young people. It is not surprising to me to see this show of solidarity.

“However, we would also use this opportunity to warn detractors, who may want to take advantage of the civility of an average Cross Riverian. The average Cross Riverian is civil. We are not known for violence; we always keep our cool.

“We warn that this civility must not be taken for granted by anyone because as young people in government or out of government, we would resist any attempt to take our civility for granted.”

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