The attention of the All Progressives Congress cum Senator John Owan Enoh’s Campaign Organisation has been drawn to the Press Conference addressed by the Governor of Cross River State, Professor Benedict Ayade alleging that the governorship candidate of the APC, Sen. John Owan Enoh was stockpiling arms with which to ignite violence during the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
This was consequently followed with a Press Release signed by Ayade’s Chief Press Secretary and SSA Media, Mr. Christian Ita in which the governor was said to have directed the State Commissioner of Police to immediately commence a stop-and-search of all political parties’ campaign convoys in the state for illegal arms.
We wish to state categorically that the governor’s claims are tissues of lies for which his government is notorious, concocted as a ploy to unleash violence on the state as he has seen the handwriting on the wall that come rain, come shine, he would lose the election.
A leader who is not known to have commissioned any verifiable project anywhere in the state except on billboards and media hypes would always whip up sentiments and employ primordial manipulations to cover up his monumental failures.
If there ever exists any peaceful politician on the hustings in Cross River River State, that politician is no one else but Senator John Owan Enoh. Even leading Peoples Democratic Party gladiators both past and present in the state can attest to the fact that John Owan Enoh has no record of politics of bitterness traceable to him not to talk of politics of violence.
The truth is that the Ayade-led government, having realised that it has nothing to show the electorate, barely a month to a very crucial election that will determine the governor’s political future and as such cannot stand us running a state-wide campaign, has resorted to intimidation and subterfuge just to cow the state to submission. If one were the commissioner of police in the state, the first campaign convoy one would have stopped and searched would be Ayade’s.
Before we embarked on our state-wide campaign, there were pockets of security reports to the effect that Gov. Ben Ayade had mobilized his appointees to their respective local governments of origin to bar us from campaigning in those areas. Our investigations were duly reported to the appropriate authorities before we embarked on our state-wide tour.
As a political party with experienced, tested and trusted candidates, be it governorship, senatorial, federal and state assemblies, with proven track records in progressive and people-oriented political engineering, armed with a well articulated economic blueprint tagged RESCUE AGENDA: 2019-2023, we set out to campaign with absolute determination to take over the reins of governance of our dear state from an obviously clueless and incompetent administration under whose watch our people have been languishing in abject poverty and gnashing of teeth.
Our campaign trail combed all the nooks and crannies of eleven local government areas including, as it were, Obanliku, Obudu, Yala, Bekwarra, Ogoja, Boki, Obubra, Yakurr, Abi, Etung and Ikom, providing alternative and educated choices to the electorate. We started on Monday January 13, and by Sunday January 20, we had traversed the entire Northern and Central senatorial districts, before we headed for Calabar the state capital for a short break, preparatory for the Southern senatorial district, the final lap.
Because we started our campaign tour in the full presence of security agencies including, as it were, the DSS, the Mobile Police, and the Plain Clothed detectives, we never really encountered any hitch, except at Irruan in Boki Constituency 2 where Gov Ayade’s appointees had mobilized thugs who attempted to block our convoy with planks and woods but were scared away by security agents.
We wish to state clearly here, and categorically, too, that the violent incident that took place at Etomi Village in Etung Local Government Area on Friday January 18, occurred as a result of the futile attempt by Ntufam Gab Oji, Ayade’s Commissioner for Water Resources, who is from there to prove that he was actually carrying out the directive from his boss. For the avoidance of doubt, supposing there was any iota of violence during our campaign trail, the various security agencies on the tour with us would have made such entries in their reports to their respective organizations.
According to reports, the Etomi Village fight between APC and PDP faithful was allegedly orchestrated by Ntufam Oji whose boys had brought down the billboards and posters of the APC candidate prompting a reprisal by some Etung youths. What has happened is Gov. Ayade’s smart way of trying to hype his plan to disrupt the election in the state having been scared of a looming defeat by Sen. Owan Enoh, a popular candidate who is not known to have lost any election since he started his political career about two and a half decades ago.
Ayade, who vowed never to campaign as a result of his phantom projects, has suddenly woken up from slumber in an attempt to over-dramatize his failure because Owan Enoh is on a rescue mission in the state. Ayade’s catalogue of lies and deceit is taking a sickening dimension given his recent wicked misinformation that Sen. Owan Enoh is selling woods whereas it is common knowledge that the real motive behind his stunted Super Highway project is the deforestation of our National Park and selling of our forest reserve to his foreign partners with whom he had signed over 50 inconsequential Memorandums of Understanding.
The recent killing of an old man of about 80 years old in a village called Kakwagon in Boki even when our campaign train had not gotten there is about the third or fourth in a series of such deaths in that community which has no political undertones but now being employed by Ayade and his stooges to blackmail our candidate just to misinform Nigerians and paint Sen. Owan Enoh black. This is not the first time Gov Ayade and his goons are trying to twist facts for banal political expediency. The last time the APC candidate toured the 18 local government areas of the state, a young boy from Boki who was his staunch supporter, was killed by people suspected to be Ayade’s hit squad and they tried to insinuate that he was killed by Owan Enoh’s supporters. How could we have had a hand in the death of our own strong supporter or anybody for that matter?
Up until today, Ayade is still trying to act funny by bribing the family of that boy to swing the case against our candidate, a man who cannot hurt a fly. Ayade brought the late boy’s family members to Calabar, lodged them in a hotel and offered them N10 million just to cajole them to say that Owan Enoh was responsible for the death of their son. But the family rejected his evil offer. He recently tried to get the picture of the dead boy from his family to blackmail Owan Enoh with it but they bluntly refused to yield to his wild antics.
Such are the deliberate anti-human impudences of a sitting governor. Sen. Ayade manifests all the trappings of a military dictator due to his desperation to remain in office despite his obvious lack of performance and attendant rejection by the people across the length and breath of the state. As we toured the 11 local government areas, it became more glaring that rather than move the state forward, Ayade has in less than four years underdeveloped a state that was hitherto numbered among the first eleven among the 36 states of the federation and the FCT.
Our state has been ravaged by pockets of communal and inter-tribal wars to the extent that whole communities like Ebom/Ebijakara in Abi local government area are completely wiped out from the surface of the earth under the watch of a governor who could not even visit the scene of holocaust and pornography of violence because he lacks the human compassion to commiserate with the victims. At Ukelle in Yala local government where the people are locked in internecine crisis with Izzi in Ebonyi state, we were told of how gruesomely the people were murdered, with the story of their agony and tribulations making national headlines without Ayade bothering any hoot to visit the community. Ditto, Adadama in Abi local government area which is facing a similar challenge with Amagu in Ikwo local government of Ebonyi state.
Cross River State under Ayade, has become the story of a perdition where everybody is losing and nobody is gaining except the governor and his family. As we toured round the agrarian state, we saw underdevelopment in its stark nakedness; we saw poverty in its tremulous abjectness, even in Ayade’s own community. The overwhelming endorsement of Sen. John Owan Enoh by all the eleven paramount rulers so far visited by our campaign train and the mammoth crowd that greeted our arrivals in all the places visited, is a convincing evidence of a people yearning for change.
In conclusion, we wish to state that aside from Nigerian security operatives duly authorized by their appropriate authorities to protect us as we tour round canvassing votes from the electorate, the APC in Cross River State does not bear arms neither is our governorship candidate involved in the stockpiling of arms as alleged by Governor Ben Ayade. We are law abiding citizens who are at liberty to go about our legitimate duty without fear of molestation. We are peaceful because we are sure of victory. Indeed, better days are possible again in Cross River State.
Media Spokesman for Sen. John Owan Enoh’s
January 24, 2019.