By Olugbenga Salami
Traditional rulers in Cross River State, have endorsed the frontline gubernatorial aspirant in the state, Asuquo Ekpenyong as the most competent to succeed the incumbent governor, Professor Ben Ayade.
Chairman of the Cross River State Traditional Rulers Council and paramount ruler of Bakassi, HRM, Etinyin Etim Okon Edet, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues during a consultative visit to them in Calabar, praised Ekpenyong for recognizing the importance of royal institution in the state.
The monarchs, according to a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja, outlined Ekpenyong’s leadership qualities, describing it as sterling; adding that Cross River will be safe and secured in his hands.
“I want to thank you for being the first aspirant to see us as a council, this shows that you have respect for the traditional institutions and we will support you in your quest to lead the state. ”
“You came into government about seven years ago and since then you have carried out your duties diligently and excellently well, we’ve been keeping our ears to the ground and we know this.
“And that position has given you enough experience because you are not just in the corridors of power you have been in the centre of it all and this has fully equipped you to handle this state,” the royal father said.
In their remarks, Obol Lopon of Ugep, Obol Ikpi Itam and the paramount ruler of Odukpani, HRM, Etinyin Otu Asuquo Otu Mesembe IV, said they have never concealed their support for Ekpenyong’s ambition to be Cross River’s next governor.
“For some of us, we don’t hide it when we say we are supporting you and we will support you all through this journey,” he said.
Also, the paramount ruler of Obanliku HRM Dr. Amos Item expressed joy that Ekpenyong personally visited him in his palace while on voter sensitization tour, saying “for me you already have my support because of the intelligence of your presentation”.
Earlier, Ekpenyong, who was a former Commissioner for Finance, narrated to the royal fathers his knowledge of the state’s economy, giving them a deeper insight through his economic blueprint for the state if elected.
“What the state needs come 2023 and going forward is a manager of resources and someone who has been there from the start of the present administration led by Senator (Professor) Ben Ayade who has graciously, in line with previous administrations, continued the building process. Those projects he has established need to be sustained, and I do humbly tell you, I am ready and capable to do so”
“Three weeks ago and over the course of 10 days my team and I undertook a very rigorous tour of the length and breadth of Cross River State and I have seen first hand the needs of the people and the love they have for the APC. So, what is needed is just to sustain the tempo of mobilisation and the party would win all-round elections in 2023”, the Governorship hopeful stressed.
The governorship hopeful pledged to sustain the industrialization strides of Governor Ayade committing to ensure that the agro based industries are harnessed to full effect to bolster the local economy of provincial towns, deepen the positive multiplier effects with the creation of an economic ecosystem for associated and ancillary services, create employment and ultimately reduce the menace of constant rural-urban migration.