Traditional rulers in Cross River State who all trooped to the Supreme Court Abuja to witness the final ruling of the alleged case of age falsification against Gov Ben Ayade said they had all unanimously prayed and invoked the gods and ancestral spirits of Cross River State to back up the governor so that he would come out of it unscathed.
State chairman of Traditional Rulers Council and Paramount Ruler of Bakassi LGA, Dr Etim Okon Edet said all of them had to move with the governor to Abuja to continue to pray for him.
He said they met and decided that since the governor was doing very well in the state they should all work for and invite tradition to support the governor.
The monarch said the victory was envisaged having worked so hard for the governor, adding that it will now afford Ayade ample opportunity for him to settle down and bring out his innate potentials to impact the state.
He said they were all bitter and pained that there were unnecessary distractions against the governor.
As the news of Ayade’s victory at the Supreme Court in Abuja filtered in to town, PDP loyalists, government appointees, workers and residents began to pour into the streets, rejoicing over the apex court’s ruling in favour of the governor.
Barrister Joe Agi, a co-contender at the PDP governorship primaries where he came up with 11 votes behind Ayade’s overwhelming figure, had dragged the governor to the high court, later Appeal Court over alleged falsification of age while a student at University of Ibadan, while at the Senate and while filling the PDP governorship form.
The lower courts had struck off the case in favour of the governor.
Not satisfied, Agi proceeded to the apex court praying it to nullify the governor’s victory.
At its initial sitting the apex court had frowned at the allegation.
The PDP was even reported to have testified against the governor, encouraging the court to set aside December 9, 2016 for final hearing and ruling.
Reacting to the governor’s victory, PDP publicity secretary Ogbung said, "The victory is from God, knowing that the governor means well for the people of the state, which reason he has brought in his entire ingenuity and spirit to bear on his governance. This informed ruling has strengthened democracy.”
Speaker of the House of Assembly, John Gaul Lebo said, "Victory is for the good people of Cross River. It is victory for democracy and good governance. The will of the people cannot be subverted through the back door. Ayade can now fully concentrate with service to the people."
Commissioner for youths in the state, Asu Okang who had earlier mobilised youth groups for solidarity rally for Ayade said, "It is a victory for democracy, a judgement for the youth of Cross River state. It reinstates the confidence in the judiciary and a classical vindication of the innocence of Prof Ben Ayade."