Senator Gershom Henry Bassey is representing Cross River Southern Senatorial district in the Red Chambers. He is a seasoned and tested politician of our time. A household name with a difference when it comes to the grassroot. He is loved and cherished by his people. “Obong Ekpe” as fondly called by his kinsmen, is humble and kind hearted. He is interested in the 2023 governorship race in Cross River. Recently Patriotnews Nick Nwaner had an encounter with him. He reacted against the backdrop of agitation against zoning, the rotation of the gubernatorial seat to the Southern Senatorial District and other issues: Below are the excerpts.
Question: Distinguished Sir, as it stands, does the Southern Senatorial district depend on Zoning?
Ans: The South does not depend on zoning and I do not depend on zoning. I am ready to match anybody from anywhere regardless of their zone. I have the guts and the grassroots support in every community and every zone across the State, to run the gubernatorial race. I have what it takes. Zoning is about equity and a moral persuasion, which I believe is now due to the South. But if other zones feel otherwise, I’m prepared to contest at the primaries and general elections against anybody. It amuses me to hear insinuations that the south is not prepared, the south is lazy, and the south is broke and does not have the financial muscle to run an election.
Question: Distinguished Sir former governor Mr. Donald Duke, your friend granted and interview “recently” on Channel’s television and discountenanced the idea of zoning. Is this the end of the proverbial three wise men’?
Ans: That’s an old interview. His current position has changed. He supports the Southern Senatorial District.
Question: Sir is your ambition to be governor of Cross River still on course? Many people have accused you of not being generous. What is your take on this?
Ans: That is an old politically motivated story. Go and ask again. My empowerment programs, inflows to the state and generosity are unparalleled. That is why after my consultations if I decide to run it will be with or without zoning. It will be based primarily on my record qualification and capacity. We will match anybody naira for naira, dollar for dollar. If they go to get money from Bill Gates to fight, we WILL go to Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk in response. The next Governor will be from the south.
Question: Distinguished Sir, Are you aware that Senator Sandy Onor is threatening to contest that same position? If yes, how do you intend to overcome the challenge given that he is a close friend of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State?
Ans: Don’t single out Sandy Onor alone. There are many contestants or potential contestants and I welcome them all. With respect to His Excellency Governor Wike, I do not understand your question. But he is a friend to all of us.
Question: Senator Sir, How will you contend with a sitting governor if you pick the PDP ticket?
Ans: I had earlier said, if I decide to run, my record qualification, capacity and unparalleled empowerment programmes within the State will speak for itself, regardless of the opposition. I have the State’s blueprint and I know where and how to turn the fortunes of our dear state around, if given the mandate. I implore my supporters across the State to be calm. I will continue to engage every stakeholder I need to engage
Question: Distinguished Senator Sir, What do you make of the National Assembly approving a loan for the President before requesting for details?
Ans: We have the relevant details and the committee duly scrutinized the MDA’s justification over the funds before making recommendations to the Senate.
Question: Sir, as the Caucus Leader for Cross River in the National Assembly, what has the National Assembly members brought to the state to show as dividends of Democracy?
Ans: I’m sure that all members can answer this question positively. Personally, I will soon publish my Scorecard for the 8th and 9th Assembly. It will give a full account of my activities. I am sure that you will give me an (A) after evaluating it.
Question: Sir recently the issue of zoning and rotation of power. There has alot of opinions concerning this matter. What is your view on the raging issue of zoning in Cross River?
Ans: Zoning is a moral and equity-based question and resolution passed by the PDP caucus. One leg of that resolution was zoning the Gubernatorial seat to the North in 2015. Now, the 2nd leg is zoning the seat to the South and this must also be implemented.