John Upan Odey Jnr: “I Am Working to become next Governor of Cross River State”
John Upan Odey Jnr, author, banker, micro-biologist, entrepreneur and philanthropist, has stated that he is working to become the next Governor of Cross River State.
He stated this yesterday in Calabar, during an interactive session with some online journalists in the state. He said: “The truth of the matter is that I am working to become the next Governor of the state. Do I think it is possible? I think it is. Every day that goes by, I can see it happening more and more. Not because I am the best but because from the opportunity that has presented itself right now, I am the best for it and I can sense the opportunity…. Already, we have a network of people that we can leverage on and expand the idea.” He added that: “An ambition is not driven necessarily because you think you are good enough. But because you are humbled by the number of people who tell you that they think that you are good enough.”
John Odey Jnr further explained that the current times in Cross River State offer indigenes of the state the best opportunity to have the kind of change that they have been looking for, since 1999. According to him, “since 1999, a generation of people came into power in the state. They have gone through certain phases and they have been expended. They do not agree that they have been expended. But it is the reality. There is an absence of leadership. So it is an opportunity for people with the same mind set to step up.”
He justified his decision to have an interactive session with online journalists, stating that speaking with them is akin to speaking to almost the entire state. The Gubernatorial aspirant said: “Today in the world, the most expensive resource is not oil. It is not gold anymore. It is now data. You can find that the most important companies in the world are data driven. If you understand how to use data, you can actually do anything you want. So, in today’s politics, it is necessary to use the power of data to reach out to people. You have an obligation to report back to the people accurately, based on certain professional principles. So for me, it is very important to talk to people who are media oriented. Anybody who is politically savvy knows that you can’t do anything without the media.”
He appealed to online journalists as well as journalists in the traditional media to give credible and unbiased reportage of his political ambition, submitting that: “To be able to protect the integrity of the process is to make sure that information should not be suppressed. As you pass on information to Cross Riverians, please let them understand that we are not trying to be Governor for eight years…. I think four years is enough to do enough for the state. And I have no doubt that if we do four years, they would be begging us to stay.”
Also speaking, Fidel Ogar, a former Protocol Officer in Governor’s Office during the administration of Donald Duke as Governor of Cross River State, recalled that the people of northern Cross River State sought for the Governorship of the state through intense pressure, after that part of the state had been sidelined in that regard for several years.
He said: “Now we have a bad story to tell. With what Ben is doing, we want a better person to come up…. Everybody accepted Ayade. But the same people who accepted him are the same people who are against him today. All the people that made him have left him. So who is going to make him win elections? What is he doing to entice anybody to feel that that man would change, come the next four years? We would have four wasted years as we had six wasted years in the Presidency. It is not too late for us to amend.”
Equally, First Baba Isa (FBI), a legal practitioner and motivational speaker who described himself as a dreamer, stated at the interactive session that: “2019 for me as FBI is a year of doing something different. It is a year of doing something great. It is a year of daring. It is a year of dreaming big dreams and climbing big heights.” He enjoined media practitioners in the state to shun pettiness and strive to adhere to the ethics of their profession at all times.
First Baba Isa said: “As media athletes, we call upon you in this dream to report the dream. Talk about the dream. You don’t need to believe in the dream to report about the dream. It is even going to be very dishonest and mischievous if you refuse to report the dream because you don’t believe in the dream…. If Ayade is running, report Ayade too. If Timothy is running, report Timothy too. But don’t shut your door to us because you don’t believe in our dream…. We need your platforms. We need your space to propagate that dream.”
John Upan Odey Jnr would be 40 years old on 7th December this year. He obtained a degree in Microbiology at University of Uyo in 2000 and a Masters in Business Administration at University of Ilorin in 2009. He joined partisan politics in 2010 and contested the House of Representatives seat in an unsuccessful race to represent Bekwarra, Obudu and Obanlikwu Federal Constituency on the platform of the now defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), in 2011.
He aspires to be nominated by his political party, All Progressive Congress (APC), for the Governorship race in 2019. He said that he believes in “LeaderShift” in Cross River State, where “barriers would be broken to build a new future for the state”. He added that his personality is defined by his favorite quote which is: “A rising tide lifts all boats.”
- Cornelius Ellah