Recently, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the People’s Democratic Party(PDP) organised its Congresses across the nation to elect their state executive council to pilot the affairs of the party.
In Cross River, the exercise was conducted in a smooth and peaceful atmosphere without rancour.
The state working committee were elected in great affirmative as all the founding fathers and other stakeholders had earlier brainstormed and agreed among themselves before the election.
It was an election of one family, one love and one purpose. The crowd that came to the venue was a confirmation of the fact that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is still together, strong and united.
The founding fathers like former governors Donald Duke and Senator Liyel Imoke were involved. Also Senator Gershom Bassey, Rt. Hon. Etta Mbora, Rt. Hon. Essein Ayi and others too numerous to mention witnessed the Congress.
It Congress replicated the old PDP we knew against the backdrop that the party has died following the decamping of the state Governor Senator Ben Ayade and some of his aides.
The Congress elected the state chairman, Barr. Vena Ikem to pilot the affairs of the party.
Shortly after the Congress, few Veteran media practitioners in the state, ran into Rt. Hon. Ettah Mbora and Distinguished Senator Gershom Bassey, who on t different interactions aired their views over the just concluded state congress and other national issues as it affect Cross River state.
They were down to earth in the course of their interaction. It is a must read as recorded by Veteran VITALIS UGOH, Publisher of Patriot News Online who was part of the interview.
Below are the excerpts.
Question: Rt.Hon. Mbora, your party PDP has just concluded its state congress. You witnessed it. How did it go?
Answer: There was an impressive turnout of delegates for the Congress. It ended well and all the stakeholders were happy. It was still the old PDP apart from the fact that their governor left with some mediocre, nothing really changed. PDP is one party that is imbedded in Cross River state. There was very impressive turnout. We are still one, whether PDP or APC. We are still brothers and sisters. We know ourselves. All of us from the national assembly were all present. Those who worked for us to win elections were around. There is no much difference if there are any at all. Yes, the governor claim he has left the party but the truth is that we chased him out of the People’s Democratic party PDP in the state. The state is dead and we have come together to rescue the state that is why we have brought in young men and women to groom them for future leadership. You can see we won the senatorial seat in his area. That shows that we are in charge. We have brought in young vibrant people to reposition the state to what it stood for. We expect them to bring in their vibrant young blood to bear in leadership . We are watching and guiding them till majority.
Question: Rt. Hon. Can you throw more light on what you mean by the state of decay in the state?
Answer: You can see the environment we have now. The governor is all and all. The system has completely collapsed. Nothing seems to be working again in the state. What we have done proves that we are set to wrestle power out of governor Ben Ayade and his new party. The roads are bad and some time ago he the governor admitted that he can no long deliver the dividend of democracy as promised. The EndSars destruction in the state is evident till now. Any responsible government should have started reconstruction of infrastructures damaged during the protest. Instead those structures destroyed then are still left in the same state. Who did it. It is the man who came in with APC cloth and has gone back where he belonged. So that is the decay we are talking about. We need to clean them up again as soon as we come in.
Question: What is your take on zoning or rotation of power in the state as we approach 2023?
Answer: The zoning system is still much alive given the fact that the founding fathers are still intact in state. We have all agreed to start the rotation from the South this time around. There are some thoughts that say it could start from anywhere, others say Central but the majority stands in favour of the south.
Question: Rt. Hon Sor how strong and united is PDP to face the 2023 election in the state?.
Answer: As a journalist you should have conducted your survey before asking this question.
Answer: However, you can see that majority of us who had brought the governor to PDP are still here in PDP. With the roll call of those brought him still in the party shows that they can march him side by side in which ever way and manner he would adopt during 2023 elections. Yes, PDP has a very bright chances of taking back the state in 2023. Like I said before those that matter who made happen are still in the party. They have not left
Question: Rt. Hon. Have people thought about power of incumbency/Federal Might in 2023?
Answer: Incumbency how? He is still in office and lost a Senate seat in zone. Also, we are going to take over the Federal seat that would soon be declared vacant. There is a lot of international pressure on to ensure that the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) does the right thing in 2023 election. Yes winning the Senatorial seat shows that PDP is still strong in the state.
Also in an interview, Distinguished Senator Gershom Bassey representing the Southern Senatorial District in the National assembly in his contribution as par the Congress said “it was to be expected. PDP is a dominant party in Cross River state. We are the party in power as far as Cross River is concerned. We are the only party that has won all the elections in the state since 2003 till date. The party is entrenched and beloved by the people because of the dividend of democracy which they have been benefitting over the years especially during Donald Duke’s administration. My impression is that the Congress was extremely successful. There was an incredible turnout even with people who were not delegates turuout in their numbers to witnesses the Congress. It was like a massive carnival. Once again the people of Cross River had demonstrated their love for the People’s Democratic party PDP in the state during the Congress. This also shows that in 2023, PDP will produce the governor and all other elective positions in the state. We are confident. We have been producing. We shall do it again and again come 2023 general elections.
Question: What is your take on the issue of Rotation of Power among the three zones. Is this still workable?
Answer:He said that power rotation is not new and did not start with this generation of politicians . In fact power rotation was the basis for the agitation and eventual creation of Cross River State. This is clear from the Calabar,- Ogoja Accord . That same principle of rotation of power amongst senatorial districts is why we have a governor from the Northern senatorial district today . Anyone attempting to toy with that rotation is wasting thier time because it is already entrenched in the electorate and clearly the next port of call for the governorship is the southern senatorial district”.
Question: Distinguished, what do you have to say over the defection of the governor and PDP chances in 2023?
Answer:INEC conducts elections not the sitting governor either. For sure, third term is not part of our constitution except my memory has failed me. I remembered there was an attempt but Nigerians rose against it. So, there is no way Ben Ayade will run a third term. His relevance in 2023 will be very very minimal. Because of his abysmal performance in Cross River, no right thing person would want to identify with him or his candidate. We look forward in seeing the governor endorsing some aspirants that would make a job much more easier for us to win the election.