By Ignatius Ushie
The Cross River State Governor and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Saturday’s Senatorial election, Prof Ben Ayade, has failed in his bid to return to the Senate. Political observers in the state say this has shown clearly the level in which the goveernor is unpopular in the state.
The Governor, who was contesting for Cross River Northern Senatorial District seat, was defeated by incumbent Senator, Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
In the same vein, the PDP also won in the two federal constituencies under the senatorial district. Peter Akpanke won in the Obudu/bekwarra/Obanliku federal constituency and Godwin Offiono won in the Ogoja/Yala federal constituency.
While announcing the result, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Returning Officer, Dr. Emmanuel Emanghe, declared Senator Jarigbe winner, early Monday, saying whereas Senator Jarigbe polled 76,145 votes, his opponent, Governor Ayade could only score 56, 595 votes.
According to him, “By the powers conferred on me as returning officer, I hereby announce and declare Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe as winner of the just concluded Cross River North Senatorial District election having scored the highest vote,” he stated.
Ayade could only win in his Obudu local government with a very slim margin, but lost in all the other four local governments.
He commended everyone who had been in the field, the media, and security agents for contributing to a successful poll. Recall that Senator Jarigbe Agom, who was seeking a re-election into the Red Chamber, had been a thorn in the flesh of APC in the State.
In 2021, he became a Senator after defeating the Governor’s preferred candidate, Dr Stephen Odey, in an INEC-ordered rerun shortly after the demise of Senator Rose Oko.
As at the time of going to press, unconfirmed reports indicated that APC candidates in both the Southern and Central Senatorial Districts were leading their PDP counterparts with a wide margin too. With this development, the APC is likely to produce two Senators while the PDP would have one.
Breakdown of the results from 5 local governments making the Senatorial district is as follows:
Voided votes: 1,360
APC – 19,537
PDP – 20,595
Jarigbe = 76,145
Ayade = 56,595
Difference = 19,550