By Magnus Effiong
The Senator representing Cross River South in the Red Chamber, Gershom Bassey, who is vying for governorship seat under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, has challenged his opponents to a debate, saying he remained the best person to take the state to its days of glory.
Recall that Senator Sandy Onor, who represents Cross River central, Rt Hon Daniel Asuquo, representing Akamkpa/Biase federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Sir Arthur Jarvis, a university chancellor, all of the PDP, have also declared interest in the plum job.
And, while Senator Onor had kicked against zoning the governorship position to the southern senatorial district saying zoning never existed in the political lexicon of the PDP, Senator Bassey and many others are insisting power should return to the south in line with a rotational agreement of the party said to have existed and practiced.
Our Reporter gathered that party men and women, youths and stakeholders in the central senatorial district of the State consisting of Ikom, Boki, Etung, Obubra, Abi and Yakurr local government areas and some traditional rulers did not only endorsed Bassey’s governorship ambition at the weekend but vowed to ensure that zoning, which they said had sustained the peace of Cross River, was upheld.
Speaking while addressing the mammoth crowd of party leaders and supporters, the Senator said “I have told the State party chairman that we must debate. I have asked him to bring everybody interested in this election together. Let us sit and debate and Cross Riverians will choose who they want. Let us dissect all the issues and know who has the solution to the state.
“I, Senator Gershom Henry Bassey, have the solutions and I believe that because of the experience that I have, I am in a better position to take over the Pellegrino (Governor’s) House by 2023.
“It is important that anybody contesting in this election should not just go around shouting slogans because slogans will not be enough this time around. They must have in-depth discussions with the electorates and anybody contesting this election must tell and show Cross River people their manifesto and road map,” Bassey told the mammoth crowd in Yakuur.
His Majesty, King Obol Ofem Ubangha, the Obol Lopon of Ugep And Paramount of Yakurr local government Area, who spoke, said with the caliber of people and the unprecedented crowd supporting Bassey, it was clear the Senator has the backing of millions of Cross River people. He led the council of traditional rulers to pray and bless the Senator for success.
At Abi local government area, the paramount ruler, His Royal Highness, Ovai Edward Osim, also prayed for Bassey’s success, saying “Whatever will stand on his way to getting to the government house by 2023, Father clear such things away. We are in support of his aspiration and ambition. No man shall stop him. May God grant you success.”
On his part, the Paramount ruler of Ikom local government area, Ntol Peter Njul Eku, said zoning should be allowed to remained as was practiced before now.
“At this point no individual within or outside any community can change the sacrosanct resolution of the traditional custodians which is in tangent with the government, party elites and the entire state as Senator Gershom Bassey would be supported and voted in as Governor of Cross River State come 2023,” the Royal Father stated.
The Director-General, Sen. Gershom Bassey Campaign Organization in the central part of the state, Hon. Eko Ato, who also spoke, pledged unalloyed loyalty and support to ensure the Senator clinched the party’s ticket and emerged victorious in the election proper, adding, “Abi Local Government caucus will support Sen Gershom Bassey’s ambition with a heart of gratitude to win 2023 governorship election in the state because he is our son”.
In his speech, the member Representing Ikom/Boki Federal Constituency, Rt. Hon. Ntol, Chris Agibe, said: “PDP laid a successful democratic administration for Cross River State since 1999 to 2015 when a mistake of the present administration was made.
“We call on angels to solicit for his victory and all the local Government areas of Cross River State would endorse and vote him as the Executive Governor of Cross River State, come 2023.”
Lending his voice to those of many others who spoke in favour of the Senator becoming the next occupant of Government House, the former representative of Abi/Yakurr federal constituency in the National Assembly, Rt. Hon Bassey Ewa, said ‘Back-to-South Agenda and Senator Gershom Bassey for Governor is a must project.”