CR: APC Dep. Governorship Candidate, Ayade’s Aide Clash

L-R: Ekpo Okon, Christian Ita

A face off between the deputy governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Christian Ita, Chief Press Secretary to Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade, threatened to inflame political passion in the state, for most of today, Thursday, November 22, 2018.

As early as 6:15 am, Ekpo Okon stirred the hornet’s nest with a post on the WhatsApp interactive forum. The post said this: “After more than 3years in office, an administration which failed to focus on the critical needs of the people announces an intention to establish a ‘world class ‘ Advanced Teachers Training College in Biase, the home LGA of the Deputy Governor . The questions are: 1. What certificate will be awarded by the college? NCE? If yes, 2. Do we need another similar college in view of the existing state owned college in Awi and the Federal College of Education in Obudu? 3. How well is the CRSG funding the existing tertiary institutions in the state i.e. The various campuses of CRUTECH, IMT, Ugep and COE, Awi? 4. Did the administration suddenly realised that after 3years with no visible project to show to the Biase people for their massive support in 2015 , it was going to face the people again? 5. Even if question 4 became a concern, could the construction of the following critical access roads , namely : Orira – Ikot Okpora road, Akpet-Ugbem road, Abini – Agwagune road , Adim- Abayongo road, not have been more expedient? 6. Truly, is the Advanced Teachers Training College the priority of Biase people? 7. Was the establishment of this college a decision of the State Executive Council? If yes, what quality of debate informed it.?”

A somewhat fierce reaction from Christian Ita, Ayade’s aide, was immediately thrown at the APC man. Ita wrote, “It is interesting how Ntufam Ekpo Okon cherry picks to score cheap political points. While pointing out what in his opinion constitutes the failings of government he conveniently glosses over other out-standing projects. He has been a recurring decimal in the politics of our state. In his first term in office with Donald, he occupied a prime place in that government. Please can he kindly mention one single project of note that was achieved in the first term of that government? The question is, can Ntufam Ekpo Okon, who is a running mate to a governorship candidate, be said to be ultruistic in asking these questions, given his recent posts on social media?”

A barrage of reactions, even attacks on Ekpo Okon, then followed. “He was even a chairman of waterboard (sic) for many years when there was no flow of water without him criticizing the system openly or put in his resignation!”, Austin Ibok, Special Adviser on Inter-Party Affairs, CRS, wrote.

Several persons who wrote for and against Okon; Eyam Osim, Godwin Ibiang, Eko Atu, Ifere Paul, Noel Ugbong, Eric Agba, Derek Ibor, Greg Effiong, and others, occupied the platform, going back and forth for several hours until the administrators of the group disabled comments.

Contacted later by, the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Ita, maintained that he was not quarreling with Okon, rather he was countering attempts to demarket Ayade. “Ntufam has known me since I was a toddler. I can disagree with him but never castigate him. Politics comes and goes”, he concluded. We were unable to immediately reach Ekpo Okon for comments.

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