Cross River State Governor, Sen. Ben Ayade has described the Transportation Minister, Rt Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as a man with outstanding qualities fit to rule Nigeria.
Ayade spoke when Amaechi paid him a courtesy visit as part of his consultations with delegates of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Cross River State, Friday.
According to him, “I agree with my brother Amaechi, totally. He comes with a lot of experience. He is one man who has shown commitment to Cross River State and Nigeria.
“We started trying to build a Deep Seaport, from the day I spoke to him about the Deep Seaport till today, he has given eight ministerial approvals. There was no day that our files stayed on his table for twenty-four hours. So, he has shown commitment to the State and to Nigeria, and I say this with all sincerity. He has also shown very outstanding sense of brotherhood. From the time I moved into APC, he said, “you are our leader, we will work with you and at any point in time we would always work together,” Ayade explained.
Governor Ayade who also recently declared his intention to run for the Presidency on the platform of the ruling party, further revealed that between him and Amaechi, there is no competition.
“I have had extensive discussions with Amaechi, and I can tell you that we are not competitors, we are co-petitors. I am comfortable with him. He is somebody that speaks his mind, he is not somebody that you cannot understand, he is somebody that you can read, and such people are far more innocent, because if they are hurt, you know that they are hurt, and few minutes after, it’s gone. He is not a trickish politician, and I think that’s a good attribute of leadership. Let me mention clearly here, that for us as as State, outside of Ayade, we are very comfortable if you secure the ticket.
“And so, I wish you well, I commend you to go before the delegates of my State, and I ask you (delegates) to judge him based on balanced fairness, because what God has destined for him, I cannot take it,” he said.
Addressing the Governor earlier, Amaechi said, “I will repeat what I tell people, I am 56 years old, so I am among the young candidates of the party. I’m not the oldest, but I am the most experienced. Of all the aspirants, both in APC and PDP, I am the most experienced. I have been Governor for eight years, Speaker for eight years, Minister for seven years now, I have not seen anybody that comes with that kind of experience for the office of the President that I come with. I was the Chairman of Governors’ Forum and I was Chairman twice when it was very contentious to vote for the office of the Chairman of that forum. The reason why it was contentious was because we stood for the people, we spoke the minds of Nigerians at that contentious time. I come with performance in every office that I have held. I had a meeting with the President two days ago, in which we had very good conversation about the Lagos-Calabar rail, and we agreed that he would launch the Lagos-Calabar rail here in Calabar. The moment we are about to sign the loan, I will tell the President to come and launch the project and will commence from Calabar.”
Amaechi, who earlier visited the Obong of Calabar, HRM Edidem Ekpo Otu V and his Council of Chiefs, assured of his commitment to provide good governance to the masses, pledging also, that he would run a transparent government if elected President.
The Presidential hopeful also met with party delegates in Calabar where he urged the people to vote for him based on his antecedents and track record and not just because he is from the South South, adding that he would deploy his wealth of experience to bear in his service to humanity.
According to him, “I am your son, but let us not vote just because I am your son. Vote for me because I have the capacity to deliver. You have heard Northern candidate, Southern candidate, Western candidate, I am not a candidate of any tribe, I am a candidate for all Nigerians. Those who are Governors and running, let them tell us what they have done in their States, how many days do they sleep in their States, let them tell us whether they are owing salaries or not. For me, judge me by my capacity. Go back to Rivers State and find out, when I was Governor, the primary schools, the secondary schools, power, water, new city, roads, and the fact that we provided security. I am the only aspirant that fought insecurity when I was Governor. So, vote for me because I have the capacity to turn the country around for good.”
In his response, Chairman of the party, Alphonsus Eba said, “Your Excellency, there is nothing I will say about you today that will not be laced with praises, with encomiums and cornucopias. You have done so much for this party, to Cross Riverians, even during the era of our former Governor, you were around, we saw the support you gave to Cross River State. When our Governor (Ayade) came on board, you have given every support. You granted eight ministerial approvals for the take-off of Bakassi Deep Seaport and a super-highway. The Governor spoke about that in the meeting we just attended.
“Today, I stand to say that in Cross River State, you are one man that we could boldly stand up and say, you are politically merchantable. You will not be a difficult product for us to sell. We have only one river to cross and that river is the fact that our leader is in this race, but he has just allayed my fears, when he said to you, that if it is not him, let it be you,” Eba said.