Cross River State is once again entangled in the knotty issue of zoning of the governorship position in the preparation for the 2015 election. It is one of the greatest threats to the unity of the ruling PDP and by extension the entire state. Where the next governor will come from has become a hard nut to crack.
When Governor Liyel Imoke told journalists at a media parley that Cross River North Senatorial District will produce his successor, and the enlarged caucus of the party put a seal on it, discerning political observers took the endorsement with a pinch of salt. How do you explain the entrance of a southerner, Mr. Gershom Bassey into the 2015 governorship race in the state?
His campaign stickers prepared by three different support groups from his zone now adorn many vehicles in the state say it all. News of his aspiration could not have come at an inappropriate time, according to critics and political observers. Just when citizens of the state were made to believe that the PDP leadership has finalised arrangement on the north producing the next governor, Bassey, a southerner whose zone produced former Governor Donald Duke [1999-2007] has joined the race under the 24-year agenda of the triumvirate of himself, Duke and Imoke to govern the state.
The question been asked by the leadership of the party in the state is that If Bassey is not out to scuttle the zoning arrangement that has since 1999 ensured a smooth transition of power from one senatorial district to the other, how come he has allegedly been holding nocturnal meetings with some party chieftains and key supporters? He is the leach on Imoke and attends every meeting convene by the governor with caucus members from the Central and Northern Senatorial Districts.
The race for the Cross River State Government House is peopled by contenders and pretenders but the north parades more aspirants for obvious reasons. Those in the race are Obanliku-Ntufam, Fidelis Tabeki Ugbo, Mr. Ashang Tanko; Obudu-Mr. Godwin Jedy Agba, Mr. Emmanuel Ibeshi, Senator Ben Ayade; Emmanuel Ubi, Bekwarra-Mr. Legor Idagbo; Ogoja-Chief Francis Bullem, Chief Peter Ojie, Mr. Joe Abang; Yala- Mr.Joe Agi [SAN], Dr. Julius Okputu, Hon. Larry Odey and Mr. John Odey Mr. Fidel Egoro. There is no aspirant from the Central.
Though Bassey is watching events as they unfold, he however sees himself as governor in waiting with his body language. Youth groups, political jobbers especially of southern extraction are flocking around him. His confident is further boosted by many aspirants from the north, some who allegedly entered the race at Bassey’s instance. Another aspirant from the south who does not believe in zoning is Filia Henshaw. She is one lady whose name is synonymous with Cross River governorship race.