story by crossriverwatch admin.
To some followers of Cross River State politics, the race for the 2015 governorship seat in the state has already been decided; regardless of Governor Imoke’s recent statement that his successor will come from Cross River North Senatorial District.
This position is anchored on the permutations of a so-called “Lagos Accord” of 1998 signed by Donald Duke, Liyel Imoke and Gershom Bassey in Lagos. The agreement is purported to have sealed the rotation of the governorship position of Cross River State amongst the three musketeers for 24 years with each taking 8 years. Duke having finished his 8 years and Imoke almost half way into his second term, Gershom Bassey is next in the line going by the precepts of the Lagos Accord. The daunting task now for the trio is how to assuage the overwhelming mood in the state that longs for a Cross River State Governor of Northern extraction.
In a swift political move, Legor Idagbo, a former acolyte of Ben Ayade has been successfully separated from his erstwhile political boss by the Lagos Group having been promised the deputy governorship seat of the state in order to abridge Ayade’s governorship ambition in 2015.
A determined Ayade is however undaunted and has vowed to upturn the political equation of the state regardless of any accord. But the so-called “Lagos Group” is leaving nothing to chance and have moved to shut Ayade out on the floor of the Senate where he is now hardly recognized for contributions to debates since his outburst in plenary where he accused the Senate collecting fat salaries and legislating death sentences for common criminals.
But there are reports of uneasy calm in the camp of the Lagos Group. The political ambitions of the three musketeers seem to be tearing them apart. From the South, Donald Duke wants to run for the Senate to displace Prince Bassey Otu who will now settle for Governor against the interest of the Lagos Group.
In Central Senatorial District, Imoke is eyeing the Senate again after his second term with the incumbent Ndoma Egba still interested in staying longer, while House of Representatives member, John Owan Enoh is also rumoured to be interested in the Central Senatorial slot.
A source close to the Gershom Bassey family disclosed to crossriverwatch that “it was in the spirit of the Lagos Accord that Duke was supported to finish his 8 years tenure. Imoke is halfway into his own 8 years tenure and will complete it by 2015. The last beneficiary of that agreement has to take his own shot before any one contemplates changing he status quo”.
The source who spoke to crossriverwatch on the condition that he will not be named said that Sunday Abang was “smoked” out of the governorship race early in the year because of fears that he will stall the Lagos Accord by handing over to a candidate from Cross River North if he won the election. The Lagos Group considered Sunday Abang’s sudden interest in the seat as a coup intended to usurp the arrangement thereby denying Gershom Bassey his share of the state’s “cake”.
He drew our attention to how Donald Duke jettisoned Vena Ikem who was the most likely northern candidate to become governor in 2007 and went for Imoke from Central in a twist that bruised Duke and Vena’s friendship for years. He also reminded us of the curious mending of fence between Donald Duke and Liyel Imoke during the later’s second term campaign, a feat most people thought would be impossible.
Determined to successfully execute their accord, crossriverwatch gathered that the Lagos Group has shopped for a deputy governorship candidate for Gershom Bassey in 2015 in the person of Legor Idagbo, former Bekwara LGA Chairman and current Commissioner for Works in the State as a form of soft landing to compensate the northern senatorial district to wait for another 8 years pending the completion of the terms of the Lagos Accord.
This move along with the Governor’s recent statement that his successor will come from the northern senatorial district, are considered by some pundits as ploys to split the northern interest and votes at the most critical moment. Whether this will work for the good of Gershom Bassey’s ambition? Only time will tell.
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