Andy Esiet, Calabar
Fresh crisis is brewing up in the Cross River State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as four leading governorship aspirants of the party have rejected the consensus arrangement put together by former governor Donald Duke.
Duke had on Sunday hosted meeting of some stakeholders in his house in Calabar that declared the Chancellor of Arthur Jarvis University, Sir Arthur Jarvis Archibong as the consensus candidate of the people of Cross River South Senatorial district.
The Senator Gershom Bassey’s Campaign Organization, that of the member representing Akamkpa/Biase in the Federal House of Representatives, Mr. Daniel Asuquo, that of Mr. Mkpang Coco-Bassey and Ekpo Ene have condemned the consensus arrangement saying the meeting was “a Kangaroo, fake and illegal” since it was not coming from PDP stakeholders in the South.
The Director General of Bassey’s campaign organization, Mr. Ekpo Ada said their attention “has been drawn to the decision of the former governor of our state and his friends who are non-party persons that have come up with a claim to elect consensus gubernatorial candidate for our dear party, the PDP and Senator Gershom Bassey’s Campaign Organization (SGBCO) view it as illegal and firmly reject it on arrival in its entirety.
“We hold strongly that the purported consensus is a calculation to wittingly or unwittingly confer undue electoral strength to the All Progressive Congress (APC) by projecting unpopular candidates for Governorship contest from the South in the forth coming general elections in the state.
“Our clear position is that our principal, Senator Gershom Bassey has consulted far and wide and is widely accepted by members and delegates of PDP across the state, hence does not need to be distracted. We use this medium to assure all Cross Riverians and supporters of our Principal of his preparedness to contest any Direct or Indirect Primaries that will be conducted by the PDP”.
Similarly the Asuquo’s campaign organizations and that of Coco-Bassey have disassociated themselves from the said endorsement saying, “we are not part of any botch consensus” .
A statement by the Campaign Director General of Asuquo, Mr. Yibala Inyang and also supported by Coco-Bassey said, “given this background, one would have expected that a meeting of a socio-cultural group under the aegis of Cross River Southern Community Elders’ Forum would have restricted their scope of operation to specifics rather than stray into contentious areas which does not fall under their priorities. Conversely, how would one distinguish a meeting of the said group called at the instance of His Excellency, Mr. Donald Duke and dominated by a sectional ethnic interest to address political issues bordering on the multiplicity of aspirants of the PDP if not to undermine the sensibilities of the good people of Cross River State who deserve the right to enthrone a candidate of their choice” .
They said, “the wild goose chase embarked upon by this infamous socio-cultural group constituting members of different but notable political parties goofed in attempting to impose a candidate on our great party, the PDP, all to no avail.
“While we remain patriotic community members and resolute in brazing the trail to deliver on people oriented policies and programmes, we dissociate ourselves from this fragrant incursion into our party’s transparent democratic processes. The relevant provision of the PDP constitution, the party primary guidelines for electing candidates, the 2022 electoral act as amended and other extant laws, severaly and collectively frowns against the imposition of candidates by or through any guise”.