Andy Esiet, Calabar
Cross River youths have endorsed the candidature of Senator Gershom Bassey for the state’s 2023 governorship race as they insist on power shift to Cross Insist on power Shift to South Senatorial South senatorial to produce the next governor after Senator Ben Ayade’s tenure.
The youths under the auspices of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) said this in Calabar on Wednesday night when Senator Bassey consulted them for their support in his 2003 governorship race.
Chairman of the NYCN, Comrade Dan Obo said, Senator Bassey is tested and trusted and “we know that if you (Bassey) is not sure of winning the election you will not come out to contest”.
The youths said, Senator Bassey has been in the corridors of power right from the Donald Duke to Liyel Imoke era and now he is a senator so he has all the experience to govern the state effectively come 2023.
Just before the commencement of the meeting, Odo said the youth council is totally in support of power shift and rotation to the south come 2023 because “it is the turn of the south as all the senatorial zones have taken their turn and by fairness and equity we are supporting the South and Central Senatorial should stay clear and even if they come here with bullion van we will not accept”.
He said, “the youths of this country especially Cross River State have been undermined for too long . And for the fact that you have decided to come and meet with us shows a very serious concern and we shall not take it for granted.
“I also want to thank you for the young people you have been able to support through your empowerment programmes. So I welcome you and pray that God will continue to protect and guide you throughout this journey”.
The youths said, “Make us part of your government. The youths must be given responsible positions in your government. We want to get involved from the consultation till the swearing in and appointment”.
On his part, Bassey who recently sponsored a motion in the Senate on, “The Need to Prioritise Sustainable Youth Oriented Human Capital Development for Long Term Socio-Economic Growth”, said he decided to consult the youths first as a mark of respect and the importance placed on the youths.
Responding to some questions from the youth on what was going to be his own agenda considering uncompleted projects as Duke did tourism, Imoke Rural transformation and Ayade industrialisation, Bassey said his focus and agenda will be to embrace all the abandoned and ongoing projects of (Duke, Imoke and Ayade) and ensure “progress, prosperity, economic development, security and a better Cross River State.
“All previous administrations had one common goal and are from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the projects were sighted towards the economic development of Cross River State. Tinapa was not meant to be a shopping centre. It is to boost the economy of the state, create jobs and to create a bigger and better economy.
“The rural development drive of Governors Imoke and the industrialisation drive of Ayade all are aimed towards achieving one economic goal . To create jobs, create wealth amongst the citizenry. The mind set is not about creating a competition amongst the three administrations. If you do that it gives you a wrong narrative of the present state of the state .
“Today I am saying I will make an impact to the economy of the state if elected the governor. I will make the private sector more attractive than the public sector. Hence I am ready to partner with the youths”.
Commenting on the issue of insecurity in the state and the country as whole, Bassey stated that the problem of insecurity in the state and Nigeria is because of the weak local governments system we have despite the fact that “the constitution is clear as for the role of our governors concerning local government areas.
“Even though I can talk about my state but generally in Nigeria, you know that local government has a very vital role to play in security architecture because when you have an effective local government, a lot of intelligence come from there as it concerns security. But when you have a weak institution, it becomes a big problem to manage. The constitution is clear on the local government and all you have to do is to follow the constitution. The governors sometimes complicate issues and this is not democratic at all”.