Ayade Receives Certificate of Return, Support Base Swells

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…As IPAC, CNPP, others pledge support

Cross River State governor, Prof Ben Ayade, Friday, received his Certificate of Return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), following his victory at the March 9, governorship poll.

Speaking shortly after being presented with the certificate at Mike Igini hall, INEC Secretariat, Calabar, Ayade urged all Cross Riverians to come together in order to build the state.

“Today marks the end of party politics. We must be united, we must come together to reflect on the loss of our oil wells, our Bakassi Peninsula, the excision from the 13 percent derivation, among others. We must come together in our unity and collectivity to work together as a state to bring value and hope to Cross River,” Ayade said.

Extending a hand of fellowship to those who contested along with him, the governor remarked: “I want call on our brothers on the other side to join us to form a government of state unity, a government that will accommodate all parties and all shade of opinions as well as a government that will focus on the people.

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“It is time for governance. We must at this point put an end to party politics and focus on the core objective of my policy which is the prosperity agenda of Cross River.”

Continuing, Ayade who recalled that in his first term as governor, while driven by emotions to put food on the table, said he expanded government, a development he said he will replicate in his second term as, “I am going to expand the government much more and nobody is going to lose his job.”

Ayade lauded INEC for the peaceful conduct of elections in the state, even as he commended the governorship candidates of other parties who have all come out to support him.

Governor Ayade specifically thanked the electorate who rewarded him in his historic victory as he won in all the local government areas and in every single polling unit in the state.

For INEC Chairman, Yakubu Mahmood who was represented by the National Commissioner representing Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Delta and Rivers, Mustapha Mohammed Lekky, “the rest of the country is pleased with Cross River because of how relatively peaceful, free and fair, its elections in the state were conducted.”

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Cross River State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Frankland Briyai, explained that “the Certificate of Return confirms the winner of the election. That is, it is not enough that someone was announced winner. Until the certificate is issued, such a person cannot present himself or herself for swearing in or inauguration as the case may be,” pointing out that, “for the winners, the certificate mark the end of the electoral process.”

Commenting, Chairman, Forum of Governorship Candidates, 2019 in Cross River, Castro Ezama, said: “We all got involved in this election and truth be said, if we do the election ten times, Governor Ayade will still win, that is just the truth.”

Asked if he will seek redress in a tribunal having lost out, Ezama disclosed: “I was a governorship candidate and so there is no way to go to a tribunal. The best tribunal to go to now is the tribunal to  coming together on a table to see how we can chart Cross River. We must move with this governor that has gotten the vision and today God has blessed him to mann the leadership of the state. He has invited us and we all must support him.”

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State Chairman, Inter party Advisory Committee (IPAC) Paddy Alli, explained that the promise of inclusive government by Ayade remains a welcome development and truly has the endorsement of his committee, as it is an evidence of a concencus government and that which focuses on the welfare of the people.

On his part, Chairman, Conference of Nigeria political parties (CNPP), Sunday Michael, said: “We want to thank the governor for accepting to carry everybody along. At this stage, what he does with his government is up to him but he has agreed to be magnanimous and that is why we are calling on two of our 25 members who for any reason are not here that they should incorporate themselves into this government.

If you love the state, those blueprints you have, submit them to the sitting governor who will in turn sit and bring out what will progress Cross River, it is a win win situation.”

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