By; VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
Thousands of residents in Cross River trooped out on Thursday, to welcome Governor Ben Ayade on his return to the state after his two weeks annual vacation.
The mammoth crowd which consisted of over 300 support groups thronged the Margaret Ekpo International Airport and invited him to the Calabar Municipal council grounds where they called on him to declare his intention to run for a second term in office and declared support for his administration’s policies and programs.
“All we are saying as a people, as groups is that please you seek for a second term,” said Mr. Lebo Lebo who welcomed the governor on behalf of the thousands who had trooped out.
“In our numbers, we have all agreed that henceforth as a group of volunteers, we support all government policies, agenda and vision,” Lebo said, adding that: “It is our agenda that we must go all out to ensure that as he responds to our clarion call of seeking for a second term, we must go back to our various constituents and communities to ensure that his response doesn’t go in vain.”
Ayade had written to the House of Assembly informing them that he will be proceeding on a two week vacation with effect from July 2, 2018 leaving his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu in acting capacity
And, while addressing the crowd that welcomed him, he commended his deputy as well as the the support the residents had given him.
He said, “I thank you very much for all the great support you have given to the acting governor, I cannot thank you enough. I came in from my vacation and I saw Calabar clean, green and beautiful. I saw a young team of people very committed to the state”.
The governor who reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to pursue a people centered agenda, averred that: “We have realised that there is no amount of infrastructural development that is above the destiny, the food on the table and the family government that brings young men and women to have access to governance. It is that catalytic profile that has brought about this large crowd that we see here.”
He continued, “I want you to note this, if I was a politician, a traditional politician you know, I will be focusing on doing small things that will make me win elections.
“But, when I look at your future as we have more and more young people coming out of the university, where are they going to work?”
“I need to construct your future. That is why I decided to leave mundane politics and go ecclesiastical and celestial”.
Earlier, Professor Esu commended the willingness of the crowd who braved the weather to give the governor a befitting welcome.
“Nobody forced you to come here. You came here on your own volition because of the love you have for your governor, because you believe in your governor. We welcome you and thank you for coming,” Esu said and announced that he has formally handed over.
Several speakers took turns to extol the virtues of the governor and urged him to declare his intention to run for the 2019 gubernatorial elections.
The call for Ayade to declare for a second term in office comes on the heels of over over five dozen similar calls from political and non political groups, associations, individuals, unions and body corporates.