Cross River State governor, Professor Ben Ayade’s second term bid got a huge boost at the weekend when thousands of commercial drivers in the state declared total support for him.
At a rally in Calabar, the state capital, the drivers, under the aegis of Unified Commercial Drivers Association of Cross River State, said after a diligent assessment of all the gubernatorial candidates, they came to the conclusion that Ayade’s re-election was the best for the state.
Chairman of the association, Pastor Thomas Effiom Okon assured the governor of their votes saying: “Our digital Governor has achieved so much in three and a half years and therefore deserves a re-election.”
Describing Governor Ayade as a final man, one stop shop, the man with the spread, flare, style and panache, the cabs association boss said: “We as a body have come to a conclusion after due consultation that your programmes are laudable and deserve a pat on the back. Your second term is therefore, non negotiable.”
The group, while recalling how the governor had in the past waded into their plights occasioned by the constant harassment at the hands of the state’s commercial drivers’ regulatory body, DOPT, noted: “We know you feel our pains, that is why we want to say thank you today for being there for us.”
Responding, Governor Ayade reiterated his determination to ensure that no one in the state lacks sustainable economic empowerment.
“This is the reason for my government’s aggressive industrialization drive. I am building the industries to create jobs, to empower the people,” he said, describing himself as a former taxi driver.
“I used to drive taxi. I am one of you.This is where I started; I know your importance”, the Governor told the cheering drivers”.
He explained that he has been able to manage Cross River’s meagre financial resources effectively because, according to him, he is not a full time politician: “If I was a full time politician, we will be owing salaries.I know my circumstances, I know my history.”
The Governor who was made the grand patron of the association announced that 120,000 brand new cars will be made available to the drivers to replace the rickety cabs the association had earlier complained do not befit the status of Calabar as the tourism capital of Nigeria.
He also announced the allocation of land to the association.