Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade, has said that he was called by God to govern the state and to provide needed dividends of democracy to the people.
Mr. Ayade made the statement on Friday while addressing thousands of supporters who thronged the Margaret Ekpo International Airport in Calabar, the state capital, to welcome him from Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the supporters besieged the airport in solidarity with Mr. Ayade ahead of the December 9 Supreme Court judgment in a case of alleged falsification of his age.
The case was instituted by Joe Agi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
Mr. Agi, who contested the 2015 PDP governorship primary with Mr. Ayade, had challenged the eligibility of the governor to contest the primary.
Mr. Ayade told his supporters at the airport that since power comes from God, he was called by God to govern the state at this particular time.
He said: “I was preparing to run election for the senate when God called me and said I should come and be governor. I am a servant of God and I urge you all to put me in prayers.
“God shall not forsake us at this point; His miracle will prevail at the appointed time. When the righteous people are ruling, God will take control.
“God has the final say in this case. You can have the capacity to manipulate man, but you cannot manipulate God.
“I came into this office as governor under the inspiration of God.
“Today, we are before the court of man to decide the faith and destiny of Cross River people. God shall take control and establish himself.
“Truly, in the name of God, I am totally innocent. If I come before the court of man, I come with supplication for clemency from God”, he said.
The governor said that his administration had not failed in paying salaries of civil servants in the state and urged the people to continue to support his administration.
“I dedicate today to God that if I truly came to serve the people, He will surely see us through. If the worst happens, then it is God’s will.
“We have no capacity to appeal at this level. We are now appealing to God that knows our hearts in this case in question”, Mr. Ayade said.
George Ekpungu, the state Commissioner for New Cities Development, told NAN in an interview at the airport that the people of the state would resist any attempt to remove Mr. Ayade from his seat.
Mr. Ekpungu said that the people of the state voted massively for him, hence they entrusted him with their mandate. (NAN)