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Owan-Enoh’s ditching of appeal fuels rumours of Ayade’s defection

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Senator John Enoh


Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River State in the March 9, 2019 ballot, Senator John Owan-Enoh, has dropped his intention to appeal against the judgement of the tribunal, which reaffirmed Governor Ben Ayade of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as elected governor.

The action, which shocked the entire APC team in the state, was seen as a betrayal in some quarters, but in some others it swelled speculations of the governor joining the APC.

An APC chieftain in the state who pleaded anonymity said, “We saw it coming. The recent visit (of Ayade) to the presidency in the name of obtaining the Federal Government’s approval of an Outline Business Case (OBC) for the Bakassi Deep Seaport is just a smokescreen. The main issue was most likely the cross-over to APC, as the powers-that-be in the presidency might have put pressure on Owan-Enoh to drop his appeal.

“I see this as strategic and double victory for Ayade because when he crosses over to APC, automatically, a safe heaven is guaranteed in case of any future disturbance by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) when he leaves office in 2023.”

However, the appeals for other positions like that of Cross River North and Cross River Central senatorial positions have been filed at the Court of Appeal.The state chairman of APC, Sir John Ochalla, in a statement yesterday, confirmed Owan-Enoh’s dropping of his appeal.

“Distinguished Senator John Owan-Enoh yesterday (Tuesday) dropped his intention to file an appeal against Governor Benedict Ayade and the PDP,” he said.He told newsmen on telephone that “Owan-Enoh’s decision is personal and it has to do with just the governorship petition. APC as a party in the state cannot do any other thing and will not go further concerning the governorship petition.”

Ochalla asserted that APC leaders might have abandoned Owan-Enoh to his fate, hence the decision.“We cannot blame him. It may not be unconnected with lack of institutional support. For instance, you will need unflinching support from the national secretariat of the party in going forward. So if you don’t get good indications, you take a personal decision.”

But the development excited the governor’s camp, as the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the Governor, Christian Ita, described it as a welcome development and good for the growth and overall wellbeing of the state.

“We are happy,” he added.A PDP stalwart in the state, Charles Eko, said, “This is good for the governor because it will give him time to concentrate and deliver on his campaign promises.”


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