by crossriverwatch admin
The recent pronouncement by the Governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke to the people of the state on the kind of person that will succeed him has been creating ripples within political circles in the State.
The governor while speaking on a live television program “2 Hours with the Governor” in Calabar last Wednesday said in response to a direct question from one of the panelists, Charles Eniang, the Editor-In-Chief of Glimmer Newspapers, a Calabar based local tabloid that, “Anyone who is not part of the Cross River State Development Agenda will not take over from me.”
This statement is coming after years of silence on who the governor’s possible successor will be.
Imoke said, “While it is the power and responsibility of the people of Cross River State to choose and elect who they want as their governor come 2015, what I know however is that those who will destroy the frame work and development plan we have put in place will not take over from me”.
Continuing, the governor said, “the problem some other states are having is lack of continuity in government programs and ours will not be like that.
“I took over the program of consolidation from my predecessor, (Mr. Donald Duke) and it has taken the state to where it is today.” he said.
Imoke had once said that Donald started tourism development and he is consolidating on that and from there to investment drive.
This pronouncement again has re-echoed the trite rumor about the so called “Lagos Accord” or “Politics of the Three Wise Men” who are allegedly bent on ruling the state for 24 years.
Imoke had on several occasions announced that “It is only natural for the next governor after me to come from the Northern part of the State after eight years of Donald Duke from the South and my eight years from the Central”.
However, the latest statement has been causing jitters in Northern political circles as both the political players and observers are reading the words of the governor to mean that he may be planning to hand over power to the third leg of the ‘Three Wise Men’ and his closest friend from the Southern senatorial district, Chief Gershom Bassey.
The governor had also said in different fora that seven of them conceived the development agenda of Cross River State of their dream in 1997 in his Victoria Island home in Lagos.
The seven according to sources are, Donald Duke, Liyel Imoke, Gershom Bassey, Bassey Ndem, Essien Ayi, Florence Ita-Giwa and Bassey Otu with Nzan Ogbe as observer.
However, in what is now infamously known as the “Lagos Accord”, three of these seven were allegedly penciled down to be governors in succession while others will hold strategic political offices as it is happening today.
Political watchers have also said that members of Imoke’s inner circle who should know have also been speaking the mind of the governor on who his possible successor will be.
One of those is the governor’s Chief of Staff, Chief Alex Egbuna who in a recent interview with CrossRiverWatch in his country home in Abi LGA, in response to how the governor’s team is working to ensure even and continuous development of the State said: “There is a master plan for the development of Cross River State right from 1999. Some people sat down; some Cross Riverians sat in Lagos, some young men with good ideas, with good education, to plan the development of the state. They brought in Donald he did eight years and Imoke was in the team and a fifty year development plan was initiated and Imoke is doing another eight years which ends by 2015 and after him another person will take over as the agenda is already there, whether the person is around or not. The plan is there. The development spans for fifty years and whoever is coming again after Imoke would implement the plan”.
But Chief Gershom Bassey has denied having any plan to contest the 2015 governorship election. In an interview with CrossRiverWatch at Channel View Hotel minutes after the PDP Fund Raising Dinner for the 2013 local Government Elections held at the Mary Ekpiken Hall, the Cross River State Water Board Chairman said: “We have our thinking in the state and that thought is that power should rotate to the north and I am not planning to contest so I wonder where you got your rumor from that I am planning to run for the post of governor. We are one solid family here and we have no fears that any one from our ranks is contemplating or would want to go a separate direction.”
While these denials are going on, prominent northern politicians are of the opinion that Imoke’s statement that he will hand over power to the northern senatorial district is a ploy to hoodwink the north while his real intention is to hand over to his bosom friend and a strategist in his government, Gershom Bassey.
But northern politicians also insist that the region is not only ready to take the governorship in 2015 but that they have sufficiently educated, able and qualified candidates who have been around since 1999 and can succeed Imoke and continue with the developmental agenda of the state.
These possible successors include Emmanuel Ibeshi, Fidelis Ugbo, Paul Adah, John Odey, Venatius Ikem, Julius Okputu, Francis Adah, Legor Idagbo, Ben Ayade, Goddy J.D. Agba, Mike Aniah amongst others.
But with this statement from the governor and his close aides, it is safe to conjecture that the likes of Senator Ben Ayade, Goddy J.D. Agba and other new comers are out of the race except they take their shots from another political party other than PDP.
In the run up to 2015 governorship race in Cross River, even in the light recent assurances by the Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba and the ambivalence of one of the Efik High Chief, Ambrose Akpanika, one may tend to believe that unless and until the Northern Senatorial District stretches their hands properly, the next governorship of the state may not be their turn.
Ndoma Egba had while fielding question from newsmen at the NUJ Press Center in Calabar recently said, “The decision that the governorship should go to the North was not the decision of Imoke alone, it was a collective decision at a meeting in Ogoja in 2007 when the governor was consulting, however it is not going to be given to them on a platter of gold…….”
On his part, Chief Akpanika said, “The issue of Senatorial District accord is not in any political discuss in the history of Cross River State. Except that has just been introduced I don’t know of senatorial district accord, what I know is regional accord which is Southern/Northern accord popularly known as Calabar/Ogoja Accord.
“All these things they are saying are not in any of the Accords. Donald Duke had taken Calabar while Liyel Imoke is completing the Ogoja Accord.
“Who to take the next turn? your guess is as good as mine based on the analysis I gave earlier.
“So people should stop tampering with age long history and agreement”. Akpanika said.
Whether Imoke’s successor will come from the North or South or whether the next governor will come from amongst the three musketeers, the months ahead will tell.
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