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Widows, Jechira people endorse Ayade, Ortom for re-election

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Widows Association of Cross Rivers State in a solidarity rally for Governor Ben Ayade’s reelection in 2019

Stakeholders from Konshisha and Vandeikya local government areas of Benue State referred to as Jechira, yesterday, endorsed Governor Samuel Ortom for reelection in 2019, praising his commitment to empowering women.

This is just as the widows in Cross River State endorsed the second term aspiration of Senator Ben Ayade and commended him for supporting the election of one of them to the state legislature.

The widows numbering close to 10, 000, under the aegis of Association of Widows in Cross River (AWICR), at a solidarity meeting with the governor, recalled with happiness the recent by-election in which one of them, Mrs. Abbey Ukpukpen, into the Cross River State House of Assembly to replace her late husband, Steven Ukpukpen.

Speaking during the meeting, WICR President, Mrs. Grace Otu, said: “We sincerely thank Professor Ayade for thinking it wise to support the election of a widow to take over the seat of her late husband, to represent the Governor’s state constituency.

“Today, we have one of us, who truly understands our plight and will ensure that our interests are fully protected at all times.

And in appreciation to this mark of honour to widows, we the entire widows numbering over ten thousand in the state hereby publicly declare our support for the second term bid of our Digital Governor to enable him complete the good works he has started.”

While describing Ayade as God-sent leader that has impacted positively on lives of widows since assumption of office in May 2015, Mrs. Otu said it would be unfair if they failed to pull their weight behind his second term ambition.

According to the WICR President, Ayade is the only Cross River State governor in recent history that has shown so much interest in the wellbeing of widows as evident in the establishment of garment factory with over 80 percent widows and their children in its employ, as well as the creation of a dedicated office and a Personal Assistant to interface with them.

She urged the people of the state not to waver in their support for Ayade’s polices and his re- election bid.

Earlier, the state Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Stella Odey, described the election of Mrs. Ukpukpen as a demonstration of Professor Ayade’s magnanimity, love and passion for the welfare of widows, just as she thanked the widows for reciprocating the gesture through their endorsement.

Odey, who represented the governor on the occasion, said: “Ayade is a governor with a human face, who is always seeking ways to better the lots of widows across the state through initiation of several empowerment programmes.

These initiatives and programmes have transformed many widows which he passionately does, not because he has so much, but because he cares enough.”

The leader of the Jechira delegation, Senator Barnabas Gemade, said the people remain committed to the second term bid of the governor in next year’s elections after which the mantle would move to the area in 2023.

The Senator disclosed that Ortom having risked his life for the sake of Benue people, deserves reciprocation and not gang up by self seeking power mongers.

Also, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr. Titus Uba and Konshisha council boss, Mrs. Mwuese Ubebe, said the people of Jechira were unanimous in support of the governor’s reelection, stressing that if he wanted, he would have mortgaged the future of Benue for his personal gains.

Other speakers, including elders David Gbologidi, Namtsav Pever, Clement Azuanongo, Samuel Angya and Samuel Weghsha, all promised bloc votes for the governor in 2019, saying they would be the first to reject any evil that stands in the way of the state.

Similarly, Mrs. Rachael Yange and Rachael Negba, who paid glowing tributes to the wife of the governor, Dr. Eunice Ortom, said Jechira women had resolved to follow in the footsteps of their husbands.

They noted that Governor Ortom had uplifted so many women through appointments and elective positions more than any other state in the country, adding that his commitment to empowering women was in line with one of the Millennium Development Goals.

Responding, Governor Ortom, while expressing appreciation to Jechira people for their support, said his only ‘sin’ was that he left the All Progressives Congress, noting that all petitions against him by his former party would end up in the dustbin.

He informed the crowd that the Police Commissioner that supervised the illegal impeachment move against him had been redeployed out of the state, stressing that such a police commissioner was not fit to work in a democratic setting.

Professor Dennis Ityavyar, Vanguard for Ortom 2019, presented an award of Hero of Democracy to Governor Ortom for his landmark achievements in the face of financial constraints and insecurity.


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