It was pomp and pageantry as Nigerians converged on the Margaret Ekpo International Airport in Calabar, Cross River State, to welcome the Governor Ben Ayade after his victory at the Supreme Court on December 9.
Residents of Calabar including the non-indigenous groups such as the Hausa-Fulani, Igbo, Yoruba and Edo communities, came out in their large numbers; drumming, dancing and singing, to herald the return of Governor Ayade after his victory at the Supreme Court in Abuja recently.
As Ayade disembarked a commercial flight in Calabar, thousands of supporters cheered, danced and surged towards his convoy of vehicles as security operatives set up human barricades around him.
The entire crowd slowly moved the celebration from the Margaret Ekpo International Airport to the U.J.Esuene Stadium for a special inter-denominational thanksgiving service to mark Governor Ayade’s election victory.
At the main bowl of the stadium, Professor Ayade gave eighty (80) million naira to representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and the Muslim communities in the state.
According to the Governor, the donations were in appreciation and recognition of God’s guidance, particularly for the favourable judgment at the Supreme Court.
The Governor “this donation is to appreciate God and all of you for the numerous prayers and fasting, which you all offered on my behalf throughout this period. I am giving 50 million naira to the Christian Association of Nigeria, Cross River State branch and the Muslim organizations in the State Cross River would take 30 million naira.”
My prayer is for you two associations to address the challenges you face as you all strive to serve God better”, said Ayade.
Senator Ayade, who so far, the highest number of appointees in his cabinet, said that besides creating an additional 50,000 jobs from January 2017, 6,000 appointments would be given to youths as a way of providing opportunities for more Cross River citizens to serve in his administration.
“What you are going to see from January 2017 is a different Ayade and not the Ayade that you used to know. I am going to transform the State in a manner that would bring total emancipation to stimulate progress in Cross River State”, stated the Governor.
To the women, Ayade added “I shall henceforth commit myself to serve you all in truth”.
The Cross River State Governor, Professor Ayade won the 2015 gubernatorial election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and was sued by his former legal counsel and co-contender, Joe Agi, SAN.
Agi filed a suit at the High Court, Appeal Court and subsequently at the Supreme Court, which eventually turned out in favour of the sitting governor.