BY: Nick Nwaneri. Calabar
There was a consensus endorsement from traditional rulers in the Central Senatorial District of Cross River state mandating Distinguished Senator Gershom Bassey to contest the governorship election come 2023 as he consults the royal fathers in their domain.
The endorsement cut across the six local government areas that made up Central such as Ikom, Boki. Etung, Abi Obubra and Yakurr respectively.
Their traditional rulers had made the endorsement and commitment when they received the campaign organization of Senator Gershom Bassey during the Christmas and New Year festivities/consultations.
In Ikom, the Paramount Ruler of Ikom Local Government Area, Ntol Peter Njul Eku asserted that “we have taken a position to support the zoning of governorship to the Southern Senatorial Distruct as we have previously unanimously met with the leaders of the Central and Governor Ben Ayade when he was still in PDP to decide the existing zoning of governorship to be returned to the south”.
He reiterated that, “at this point no individual within or outside community can change the sacrosanct resolution of the traditional custodians which is in tandem 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”.
Also speaking in the same line, His Majesty, King Obol Ofem Ubangha, the Obol Lopon Of Ugep and Paramount of Yakurr Local Government Area who is referred to as the Lion of Omor Otutu affirmed that “The caliber of men that have brought Sen. Gershom Bassey to Yakurr L.G.A for consultations.
He described them as respectable sons of the soil, of high pedigree, and the politicians most successful in the senatorial district who are fully aware of the prerequisites to serve in the aforementioned capacity and who, without any iota of doubt can deliver the seat provided the Distinguished senator clinches the party ticket come 2023″.
The council of traditional rulers also prayed and blessed the Senator and his team.
In Abi, the Abi Monarch, Party faithfuls, leaders also endorsed Senator Gershom Bassey as friends donated a Coaster bus for his campaign.
Receiving the Senator and his entourage, the Paramount Ruler of Abi, His Royal Highness, Ovai Edward Osim, thanked God for the life of the Senator, trusting God to be with him, guide and accompany him on this mission.
“Whatever will stand on his way to getting to the government house by 2023, Father clear such things away. We are appealing and praying that he will remember that the traditional institution is a very sure foundation that one should trust and rely on”.
“We are in support of your aspiration and ambition. No man shall stop you. God will grant you success”, he prayed.
Also speaking during the visit, the Chapter Chairman of Abi, Hon. Victor Bassey extolled the performance of the Senator and said “he is the best for the office, adding that, amongst all the aspirants that have visited the LGA, Bassey is mostly received and needed”.
While commending the giant stride of the Senator, the Director-General, Sen. Gershom Bassey Campaign Organization in the central part of the state, Hon. Eko Ato pledged his complete support to the Senator, assuring him that Abi LGA will give him all the supports he needs.
The Chief Priest of Wambuneh Support Organisation, Mr. Asu Abang said “we are ready to support the candidature of Sen. Bassey who is popularly known as “the Eagle” to become the governor of Cross River State and also appealed for inclusiveness in the project of the distinguished Senatoras Wambuneh has a lots of delectable offers for the “landing Eagle”.
However, as the Cross River governorship race for 2023 hits up, the people of Central Senatorial district have declared their total support on zoning the governorship ticket to Southern Senatorial district thus endorsing the Distinguished Senator Gershom Bassey as their preferred candidate for governor in 2023. Recall that Senator Sandy Onor from Central Senatorial entered the governorship race and jettisoned the state’s zoning arrangement at a press conference on January 3rd, 2022, at the Ernest Etim Bassey Press Centre, Calabar, saying, “zoning has never been practiced in our state since the advent of the current democratic experience in 1999. We cannot afford to sacrifice competence on the altar of zoning, as we prepare to choose a candidate for the governorship or any other election. Those who are promoting and spreading the message of zoning are either cowards who do not have what it takes to contest the party’s ticket under a free and fair process, or are ethnic jingoists who are only interested in misleading our people in pursuit of their very personal and selfish interests”
But the people of Central comprising, Ikom, Boki, Etung, Obubra, Abi and Yakurr in different carnival like receptions during the governorship consultation, Christmas and New Year visit by Senator Bassey recently said, “We stand by zoning in the interest of peace, equity and fairness as we are beneficiaries of zoning arrangement in the state that produced Senator Liyel Imoke as governor from 2007 to 2015”.
“We are all out to support Sen. Bassey to win the governorship come 2023 considering his tall achievements in the Senate with 28 effective bills, constituency projects and grants to the people”.
The former Representatives of Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Rt. Hon Bassey Ewa, lauded the Ikom PDP family for the warm reception given to Sen. Bassey and his team noting that, “he has been part of the past two administrations of the State which did remarkably well with giant strides and I admonish you to support the #Back-to-South agenda and Senator Gershom Bassey for Governor”.
Barr Attah Ochinke who is from Boki and a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, acknowledged that Ikom people stood by the past two administrations which Sen. Gershom was part of the planning and delivery of governance and as well encouraged the #BacktoSouth Agenda.
Ochinke who is the current Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Cross River State as well as a founding member of the PDP, affirmed the existence of zoning arrangement in the People’s Democratic Party(PDP) ab initio in the state.
Ochinke who also spoke at Boki, mentioned that “zoning has been a culture of the PDP which has kept Cross River in peace , fairness and tranquillity, and the same zoning has benefited the people of Ikom and so the people should support Sen. Gershom Bassey for the delivery of optimum governance to Cross Riverians”.
He said, “zoning simply means turn by turn, and whoever turn it is should be allowed to benefit from the arrangement”.
Ochinke asserted that, “Ikom people have supported the past administrations that governed Cross River and Sen. Gershom Bassey was part and parcel of the planning of the successful administrations and encouraged the people of Ikom to support Sen. Bassey who developed every administrative portfolios he found himself especially during his tenure as Chairman, Cross River State Water Board Limited, where he ensured that water flowed from Calabar to Yakurr, Ikom, Ogoja and Obudu.
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,”.
He prayed for Senator Bassey and wished him an answer to all his prayers as angels would be raised 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.
The Ikom Women Leader, Mrs Justina Enya Ndoma declared that “Ikom is totally sold to the South Agenda, and our project is senator Geshon Bassey come 2023”.
On his part, the Managing Director of Bakor Medical Center, Dr. S. E. N. Ebaye said, his family and his. immediate constituents “are for Senator Geshon Bassey and we are totally in support of zoning”.
While receiving Senator Bassey in Etung, the PDP Youth Leader, Comrade Assam Mbe, said, the youths of Etung are all out to support Sen. Bassey to become governor in Cross River State and appealed that the youths of Etung and their community should be captured in his development blueprint when he becomes Governor of the state in 2023.
The Etung Chapter Chairman of PDP, Mr. Kajang Obaji said, himself and the Etung people rejoice on the coming of Senator Gershom Bassey to Etung and assured him of firm support from Etung people so that PDP would take over the state and the mandate of the party be restored.
In Obubra, speaking on behalf of the Obubra people, Chief Sylvanus said, Obubra is a parent to other local Government areas in the state and is very active in the politics of Cross River State, saying that Sen. Bassey has been behind the development of Cross River State since the year 1999 and as such has better service delivery for Cross Riverians.
On zoning, he said, “it is a binding resolution that has maintained the peace and progression of Cross River State and power has to return to the South for Sen. Gershom Bassey to become Governor and rebuild Cross River State, while Central Cross River waits for their turn to produce a Governor peacefully. I urge the Obubra people to support the Governorship ambition of Senator Gershom Bassey come 2023”.
The Cross River State Chairman of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Comrade Dan Obo said the youths and Obubra people stand on zoning from 1999 till date. PDP has never failed Obubra and Senator Gershom Bassey should not forget Obubra local Government when he becomes Governor in 2023 but he should be rest assured of the support of the youths and Obubra people, appealing to him to make youths a priority in his administration.
Similarly, the Obubra PDP Chapter women Leader, Mrs. Felicia Bassey, welcomed the senator and his team with appeals and assured him of the support of women and their stand on zoning but however appealed for the Obubra women to be inclusive in his administration as Governor of Cross River State.
In a clement weather and colourful day, Boki Local Government Area went agog as the 2023 Cross River State governorship hopeful, Sen. Bassey stormed Okundi the council capital in continuation of his governorship consultation programme as the women groups in Boki also rallied round the aspirant and his entourage declared that the women of Boki have taken a stand ab initio to support zoning and Sen. Bassey as governor of Cross River State come 2023.
Dr. Itam Abang, the member representing Boki 1 state Constituency, and a PDP stalwart, described Bassey as “a man with consummate administrative experience who will give the Boki people in the rural areas the opportunity to utilize their natural resources that will bring socio-economic development to the state” .
He commended the achievement of Senator Bassey in the senate saying he sponsored several impacting bills in favour of Cross Riverians and the entire country.
In Yakurr, the Yakurr people of Central Senatorial district, declared their total support for Senator Gershom Bassey, as he arrived at the Palace of the Obol Lopon of Ugep in continuation of his consultation towards the 2023 Cross River State Gubernatorial poll.
Sen. Bassey who is the Cross River National Assembly Caucus Chairman and represents Cross River South in the Senate, is aspiring to take over from Governor Ben Ayade in 2023.
Bassey who presented Christmas and New Year packages to the various LGAs in Central, thanked the people of Central for their unalloyed support promised not to let them down as he promised to rebuild the state on a sound footing.
He said the PDP is a party of hard-working people and the party from inception has been committed to working for the citizens of the state and he has come to celebrate Christmas and new year with them as “2023 would be a turning point for the people of Cross River state”.
Sen. Bassey stressed the need for the people of the state to choose the right leadership by voting PDP and his candidacy that would bring infrastructural and human development to the people of Cross River and called for their support towards his gubernatorial ambition come 2023, saying “I need to win the gubernatorial seat to restructure Cross River with astute developmental projects that are befitting to the State and her people”.
The governorship hopeful who is also the Senate Committee Chairman on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA stated, “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 you what they want to do. They must show you their manifesto and road map”.
The Senator Gershom Bassey consultation team continues in the Northern Senatorial district of the state.