- Youths pledge to buy nomination form for Ibeshi
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has debunked as false the rumours currently trending in Cross River State alluding that the party has unilaterally endorsed a governorship candidate jettisoning party primaries ahead of 2019.
Rumours have been rife in the state that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party has endorsed a former party chairman and current managing director of the state water agency, Mr. Ekpo Okon as the party’s governorship flag bearer in the run up to 2019.
When THISDAY contacted the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan yesterday, he replied that the rumoured endorsement of any governorship aspirant in the forthcoming election is untrue.
In a related development, the Cross River State governorship race has assumed an interestingly keener turn as some youths in the state, bent on determining who leads them in 2019 opted to buy the PDP form for a leading aspirant and former publicity secretary of the party, Hon. Emmanuel Ibeshi.
Ibeshi is the only candidate to have come out within the PDP and declared intention to challenge the incumbent governor, Mr. Ben Ayade.
The youths who thronged the PDP state office in Calabar, Cross River State capital and purchased the form, said their desire to see a change of government and conviction in Ibeshi as the right person to rescue the state from “the current bad administration” prompted their support for him hence they bought the form as their token of contribution.
In spite of the poor economic situation in Cross River State, the youths taxed themselves and contributed the N2 million to purchase the PDP governorship form for the state, as a demonstration of their solidarity with Hon. Ibeshi’s candidacy, according to the youths.
One of the leaders of the youths, Mr. Effiom Ernest Attoe, said Cross River State had lost its once enviable and leading position as destination of choice for tourists, both local and international, due to the current administration of Ayade, which has led to the death of many top rate tourism assets such as the Obudu Cattle Ranch Resort and Marina Resort, among others.
“Cross River State used to rank first in Africa for tourists who would visit here and go to places like Obudu Cattle Ranch Resort, the Marina Resort and a number of other places, including the Tinapa Business Resort,” Attoe stated.
“But all that is gone in the last three years since Ayade became governor. Even the Obudu Mountain Race that used to attract top rated athletes from all over the world has been stopped; the Free Trade Zone has become mere wishful thinking, there is practically nothing functioning in the state, farmers can no longer get their produce from the hinterlands to nearby urban centres to sell due to dilapidated access roads.
“We can’t fold our arms and allow Ayade mortgage our future and ground our state to a total standstill. That’s why when Hon. Ibeshi came to Calabar and declared his intention to run and rescue our state, we the youths were filled with joy. We read his 71-page manifesto, which is also available on his website and can be accessed anywhere in the world. We know that this is the Cross River State messiah at this time.
“So, we came to buy this form to show him our support and our preparedness to follow him in his quest to wrestle power from this current administration that lacks focus and rescue our state; because his rescue mission will help to redeem our common heritage,” Attoe, the youth leader, further explained.
Ibeshi stormed the Transcorp Hotel, Calabar on July 28, and declared his intention to run for Cross River State governorship, calling his campaign focus “Rescue 2019”.
In his speech, he promised to revive all ailing state industries, bring to completion and operation all projects commenced by both Governors Donald Duke and Liyel Imoke, such as the Obudu Cattle Ranch Resort, Tinapa Business Resort, the Institute of Management and Technology, agricultural projects as, all of which have either collapsed or are ailing, well as the anchor of his campaign focus namely to make the state an entrepreneurial hub thereby getting the teeming youths gainfully employed.
“The key to Tinapa and the Obudu Ranch Resort is entrepreneurship. Rest assured, I will make entrepreneurship become synonymous with Cross River State if you give me the mandate as governor in 2019,” Ibeshi had declared, adding:
“Let me make it abundantly clear to all that my government will complete, actualise and activate all projects initiated and established by our very visionary governors, Donald Duke and Senator Liyel Imoke; because these projects have everything the state requires to make it great, self-sustaining and self-reliant.
“My focus therefore shall be to complete and actualise these projects, from agriculture, to access roads – especially rural roads, to health, to education, to support for traditional institutions, to women empowerment, to tourism and so on.
“In simple words, I shall initiate Tinapa Phase 2, Obudu Ranch Resort Phase 2, and Entrepreneurship Development Phase 1,” he stated.