Let’s chronicle the WORD ON THE STREET about the MERIT AND DEMERIT of likely aspirants who are currently members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Cross River.
The race to Cross River State Government House is well on the way, political analyst, policy and good governance pundits are having a filled day dissecting who should be the next occupant of the leopard town hilltop government house come May 29, 2023.
But no one has given the general public and potential voters the opportunity to have their say.
WORD ON THE STREET ABOUT THE ASPIRANTS
1. Sen. Prince Bassey Otu
A fine gentleman with a good heart that has won him the hearts of all southern senatorial district, his time at both the green and red chambers saw him rollout massive empowerment schemes for his people.
1 He is the sweet prince. So called because he gave out a lot of empowerments during his time in senate
2. Well experienced in lawmaking due to his two terms at the house of representative and a single term as a senator of the federal republic.
3. He is well connected in both PDP and APC in Abuja and Governor Amaechi faction of APC will fund him for Governorship.
1. The empowerment he did, where are the people today? He gives fish but doesn’t teach how to fish.
2. Governor Rotimi Ameachi is his long-time godfather and it will be another case of Rivers imposing on Cross River.
3. His health is suspect and he should avoid a Yar’Adua-Jonathan situation. Apart from the above listed the Ex-Law maker struggles with a bad betrayer reputation as alleged by his boss and best friend for marrying his dear wife. Calabar people and Christians are not happy and feel that is why he failed all his elections after that.
2. Ben Akak
Young, energetic and a new comer to the state political scene; but for no reason should any of the candidates underestimate what this new comer can do.
Ben appears to be the wild card heading to the general elections.
1. He is one of the youngest candidates seeking to place Gov. Ben Ayade.
2. His recent charity works like building borehole in Obudu etc. has endeared him to many people within the state.
3. He seems to have plenty money as he is buying properties in Calabar and outside Cross river and Nigeria
1. Engr. Akak’s monies cannot be traced to any successful business or project(s) undertaken by him. Like the Lagos bullion van man, people are asking where did he make money suddenly between 2017 and 2019?
2. Ben Akak’s loyalty to his known godfather the former VC of the university of Calabar presents him as a would-be puppet governor under the control of a Man who betrayed and hates gov. Ayade, Will the former VC not get into Government house through the backdoor as he has the file of Ben Akak and siphoning in UNICAL?
3. He doesn’t have political experience and will be a stooge for his godfathers and former co governor.
3. Sen. John Owan Enoh
Senator Owan Enoh is a calm and very calculative politician who has indeed enjoyed depending on the backing of the government in power to win his elections, but any politician who underrates him does that at his or her own peril.
1. He is well connected in APC national.
2. His faction was seen as the strongest in APC as the national recognized him as flag bearer in the 2019 election
3. He is well experienced in lawmaking due to his two terms at the house of representative and a single term as a senator of the federal republic.
1. Sen. Owan Enoh ran a very divisive campaign that saw APC lose out in 2019.
2. He is gearing up to be a rebel again in 2023 by going against the back to south agenda of the governor; the former senator believes he does not need gov. Ayade’s support, his war chest will be funded by gov. Hope Uzodinma. He was the secretary of the panel that installed Hope Uzodinma and will rely on him to payback with money and influence
3. His brand of politics is seen as sneaky and aimed at ambush against the governor
4. Chief Chris Agara
Chief Agara is a fine gentle man with a good record of business successes, many believes that the man should have birthed into the political circle of the state from the time of methuselah many will argue with you that no politician is as giving and a maker of men like chief Agara.
1. Chief Agara enjoys the highest level of compliments as being the governor’s best friend and closet business ally that is building both multibillion-naira cocoa and rice factories for CRSG
2. He can buy all political structures from gov. Ayade .
3. His philanthropic lifestyle makes him the center of attraction for those seeking Favours.
1. Chief Agara goes into the 2023 race as newcomer with huge sum of money but zero political experience.
2. By seeking Governor seat against the zoning pronouncement, he has declared war with his best friend, the governor, so his campaign is dead on arrival.
3. Chief Agara is neither popular nor sellable, his recent failed interview on channels tv brought more of his inabilities to light.
5. Barrister Edem Ekong
is one of those politicians from the southern senatorial district who has been around for long, he is not a new comer to the politics of Cross River State. He heads into the gubernatorial race as a one-time commissioner and a special adviser.
1. Barr. Ekong is a fighter and petitioner who will leave no stone unturned to achieve anything he sets his mind to achieve,
2. His experience as a commissioner and a special adviser gives him a good knowledge of the running’s of state.
3. His grass root movement and youth engagement through DOPT has placed him good place as a mobilizer.
1. Barr. Edem Ekong has strong ties to a godfather which is the former minister of finance, Chief Anthony Ani, who financed his bid in 2003 as deputy governor
2. Edem Ekong may have left the PDP for the APC yet his allegiance to his second godfather the former governor of Cross River State is still as hot as a freshly baked cake.
3. So many believes that the barrister is the PDPs mole in the All Progressive Congress. He cannot be trusted; Moreso Southern senatorial district will never forget how the Barrister went against the PDP and Donald Duke, when he accepted to be running mate to the then chief John Okpa in the 2003 electioneering circle. His agenda was seen as selfish and self-seeking by then and is repeating itself in 2023.
6. Prince Edward Osim
An energetic young man with a connection to the biggest godfather of them all, Prince7 as he is popularly known goes into the race at a son in-law to a former president of Nigeria, his link to the power house might be going well for him; but…
1. He married well into a onetime first family of Africa’s biggest black nation. They will bring money to support their son in law
2. He adventures into the business world and a few successes he has recorded will serve as some form of good experience.
3. Eward is a son to one of Africa’s longest serving traditional ruler, his dad commands a lot of influence within the central senatorial district of the state.
1. Prince Edward head into the race with zero political experience, because his appointment as a special adviser in the Ayade administration has just sit at home and collect salary function.
2. Prince Edward’s long time loyalty to a former governor of Cross River who is in the PDP makes him a major mole in the APC.
3. He has shown rebellion by going against the governors zoning pronouncement.
7 Asuquo Ekpenyong
Mr. Ekpenyong rides on the goodwill of the very powerful in the state, a young man with a good eye for a former governor’s daughter, plus a father who can go at any length to give him whatsoever he wants or needs. From day one Asuquo Ekpenyong has been pushed to greater heights all his life, one of such push earned him the post of the commissioner of finance even though there are no records of any landmark achievement in the financial sector of the state or nation’s economy. His listing in this article is another push to stardom.
1. Mr. Ekpenyong goes into the race as one of the youngest if not the youngest candidate.
2. Ekpenyong is one of the strongest contenders due to his closed relationship with his boss the governor
3. Asuquo Ekpenyong as a young man without any political experience joined his father and chase away critical stakeholders like Efiok Cobham and Ekpo Okon in his Odukpani local government area to retain all political structures in the LGA.
1. His administration in the state will see the state having a super governor in his father in-law, a co-governor in his father and a ceremonial governor in himself; Trinity leadership. The politicking and administrative confusion will be too much for the state.
2. He has put himself in the bad books of APC stakeholders by keeping mute on a joint ticket publication between himself and his closet colleague serving in this administration. The time is not right for such publication from a serving commissioner, because most running mate are sometimes selected by the party structure not the candidate.
3. He recently did 50m naira empowerment as a serving commissioner which is raising dust with fear of his and his father cornering the state finances with their bank.
8. Pst. Usani Usani
Pastor Usani Usani is your ideal cool, calm and collected politician who knows his worth and value. This man is not a noise maker, but an action driven politician.
The former minister of the federal republic hunts like a lion, get in his way, you will just be another meal.
This is your ideal fighter and a trusted party man.
1. Within the APC family in Cross River State no stakeholder can boast of a one-on-one relationship with president Buhari than Pst. Usani. The man is just a call away from Mr. President’ Usani Usani is the reason why his local government area has always voted and remained APC even when the state was under the leadership of the PDP. The loyalty that Usani enjoys from his people is second to none.
2. Pastor Usani political and administrative experience spans through many decades of service to his mother land that saw his served in multiple administrations from 1992 – 2019
3. Pastor Usani single handedly sustained the APC in Cross River when others were in bed with the PDP, during his time as the state chairman of the APC, he attracted power decampees from the PDP to the party.
1. Due to the general negative disposition of voters in the state about the Buhari led administration, the former minister won’t enjoy good support from both politicians and voters.
2. Many believes that the former minister should become a king maker instead of seeking to be the king.
3. His onetime loyalty to a certain faction of the APC will hinder his chances of picking the party’s ticket.
9. Ach. Bassey Ndem (Etubum)
Etubum Bassey Ndem is a born leader and a business magnet with high degree of experience that spans through many decades of successes
If you are looking for a diehard administrator, then the Architect is your ideal man.
Arc. Ndem is a detribalized man who sees all Cross Riverians as one indivisible entity.
1. He performed very creditably well as a super Commissioner and when in charge of Tinapa; He was seen as the brainbox of Don Duke administration.
2. He didn’t abandon the state after coming as an appointee unlike his other friends from Lagos who ran back after their years in government.
3. He has invested billions of his personal money in the State and employs hundreds of people and is also a team player and a servant leader who helped militants get amnesty and restored peace to Akpabuyo and Bakassi. He is a patron to many youth organizations.
1. Too independent minded and doesn’t have political structures.
2. Antisocial. Hardly goes for ceremonies
3. Too much of a traditionalist and cultural man and can be heartless and merciless to his perceived enemies. In addition, he
cannot run for office as a Etubum; He must abdicate and won’t be allowed by the chiefs Council.
10. Eyo Etim Nyong
the antecedents of High Chief Prof Eyo Etim Nyong puts him miles ahead of others, as a pioneer member of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC board, Prof Nyong’s stewardship brought unprecedented development to Cross Rivers State.
1. High chief is one of those experience politicians in the state with good exposure to both national and international bodies
2. Has a good relationship with big money bags.
3. High Chief Nyong is a strong and focused leader with an eye for ethics.
1. High Chief returns to action every election circle, so stakeholders and voters don’t take him seriously.
2. Lack real connection with the youths, most youth don’t even know him on a one-on-one basis. They will find it very difficult to relate with his ideas.
3. High chief is seen as a serial contender with no clear-cut strategy to victory.
11. Hillard Etta
Ntufam Hilliard Eta is former the National Vice Chairman, South-South of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party in Nigeria. Ntufam Eta is one of 3 candidates who in 2020, vied for the open seat of National Chairman of the party.
1. Many believes that Mr. Etta is Tinubu’s main eye in Cross River and Akwa Ibom State.
2. You can include this smart politician as one of those who played a major role in making Gov. Hope Uzodinma governor of Imo State.
3. His notoriety at the national level of the APC makes him a wildcard in the 2023 race.
1. Mr. Etta will tell you that he is fully on ground, but what is on ground says he lacks grassroots political structures.
2. Zero loyalty or any form of connection to governor Ayade, one is left to wonder how he intense to replace a governor he is unapologetically dialog to.
3. Lacks the financial power house to fund his campaign, unless the jagaban of the APC dispatch a billion van to his campaign.
Let me end with the wise word of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”― Martin Luther King Jr.,
Gov. Ben Ayade must ponder on those words by the great Dr. King; for come May 29 2023 one of these names will take the mantle of leadership from him. This is a definite law that must take its course.
The responsibility rest solely on the Governor and critical stakeholders of the party to decide the haves and the have not’s; he must be appraised by his inner conscience that he did what was right for his legacies and for the good of the state.
Disclaimer: Opinion expressed in this post are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of Calabar Blog or its affiliates.