We’ll build on Ayade’s strong foundation, Prince Otu vows

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By Michael Jegede

The Standard-bearer of All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 governorship election in Cross River State, Distinguished Senator (Prince) Bassey Otu, has reiterated his pledge to build on the solid foundation laid by the outgoing Governor Ben Ayade in order to transform and take the state to the next level.

Prince Otu, seen as standing head and shoulders above others in the guber race, gave the assurance at the Grand Finale of the Cross River APC campaign rally for the 2023 elections held in the ancient town of Ikom situated in the central senatorial district of the state.

Addressing the mammoth crowd that gathered at the Ikom stadium for the colourful event from different parts of the state, Otu, an accomplished banker of high repute and ex-parliamentarian with an outstanding record of achievements, said: “Our incoming administration is going to build on the very strong foundation that Governor Ben Ayade has put in place. We are going to complete all the projects that have not been completed. Ikom people what I used to see in Switzerland I am seeing in Ikom today courtesy of Professor Ben Ayade. I’m talking about the cocoa factory, which is going to change the economy of this place. Whatever cocoa you plant is going to be taken and processed by that factory. Very soon we will not be selling the cocoa bean again. Very soon we are going to eat the chocolate. People from Switzerland will come to buy Ikom chocolate. Ikom people, we want to make Ikom the greatest commercial hub. We are scaling up the industrial revolution of Governor Ben Ayade. And I want to let you know that it is time for Cross River State to grow.”

Continuing, he added: “The policy thrust of our administration is to eliminate all waste and subsidize all factors of production and all agencies that support production. We are going to give loans and grants to make sure that in the not too distant future people will not be interested in doing government work anymore. Rather, they will be interested in building their own business. I stand here to say that until 2015, Cross River State had no economy. You can only finish school and go for job in the ministry. But very soon it is going to be different courtesy of what Governor Ayade has put in place which we will build on.

“There will be facilities in every local government. And we are using the principle of comparative advantage to make sure that each local government is going to excel on what it can do better. I want to let you know that in a not too distant time we are planning and negotiating a federal university for Ikom. I can give you every assurance that in terms of capacity and experience nobody can do these things. There is nobody that matches my capacity and experience in this race. It is only a progressive government that will be able to take over from Prof. Ben Ayade and continue from where he is going to stop and complete all the projects thereby adding value to Cross Riverians.

“In the centre we have Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is going to come and do wonders with Nigeria. Lagos remains a template and Lagos is just like Calabar. Cross River is a land of abundance. Let everybody support APC all the way so that we will be able to deliver to the people. My word is my bond. I will never tell you anything that I cannot do. I’m taking Ikom to the next level.”

Gov. Ben Ayade said he was convinced that Otu will

truly keep to his promises while noting that for

fairness, equity and justice, nothing should stop

power from returning to Cross River South.

Speaking on behalf Cross River Central at the grand finale, erstwhile Senate Leader and Secretary of the Campaign Planning Directorate of the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Distinguished Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, said the claim by some that Ikom is PDP should be disregarded as all the great men and women of the local government are back home to deliver APC.

Ndoma-Egba, a quintessential leader and former Chairman of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), noted that the people of Ikom and the entire Cross River Central have since keyed into the Back-to-South movement, declaring that no amount of deceit from anyone can change their resolution.

His words: “There is this rumour that Ikom is PDP. That is fake news. Because some people who claim to be candidates live in Ikom, they think that is enough to make Ikom PDP. We have bad news for them. That shopping in Ikom has ended. Ikom people have taken back Ikom. I have come back to Ikom. Chris Agara has come back to Ikom, everybody is back to Ikom. And Ikom has decided we will vote Jagaban for president, Bassey Otu for governor, Eteng Jonas Williams for Senate, Victor Abang for House of Reps and Agbor Bassey for House of Assembly.

“Those who live in Ikom know their candidates. It is not our turn. Ikom people have decided that it is not our turn. The central senatorial district has decided that it is not our turn. For Cross River it is back to South. At the national level it is Jagaban all the way.”

Another son of the soil, Chief Chris Agara, a business magnate and former governorship aspirant who contested with Prince Otu at the primary election, was on ground to express his full support for the APC candidates.

Hear him: “My presence here I’m sure speaks volume. You know I’m your son. I aspire for the same office. I wanted to be governor as well. But the people decided. And today we have our governorship candidate. And my presence here is to give my total support to our candidate. Ikom people must remain resolute and united in supporting our candidate.”

Agara commended the visionary leadership of Gov. Ayade while thanking him for the cocoa factory built in Ikom as a fulfilment of his promise to the people.

“That is why we must support the incoming governor (Bassey Otu) so that there will be continuity and continuation of the good works that Ayade has done for us,” the business entrepreneur pleaded with the people of Ikom.

The Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) senatorial candidate for Cross River Central, Mr. Ebuta Akor and former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) aspirant for Ikom/Boki Federal Constituency, Hon. Abang Pius Besong, together with their numerous supporters, were warmly received at the occasion as defectors to APC now determined to work for the party.

In demonstration of their support for Otu’s candidature, a group known as G7, donated a brand new car and two million naira to his campaign organization, and vowed to work relentlessly for the triumph of APC.

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