2015 Guber Race And Fear of Implosion in Cross River PDP By BASSEY INYANG

In Breaking News, Columnists, National News, Opinion, Politics, Reports

by crossriverwatch admin

Ntufam Fidelis Ugbo and Goddy Jedy Agba
Ntufam Fidelis Ugbo and Goddy Jedy Agba

In line with the provisions of the 1999 Federal Constitution and the subsisting Electoral Act, the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) is expected to conduct another round of general elections in Nigeria early in 2015.

So much has been said about the forth-coming polls in 2015 to the extent that most analysts believe that its handling by the Goodluck Jonathan led federal government and the Professor Attahiru Jega led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would either make or mar Nigeria’s democracy.

It is generally believed that what will happen in 2015 general elections would be showcased in the political events of 2014, a year most political prophets have predicted would be marked by political upheavals, assassination and related vices.

According to commentators, the fear may come to reality if the current political trend in the country subsists up to the eve of the 2015 general elections. The trend manifests characteristically in the conflict between northern and southern politicians over rotational presidency and power shift in 2015, the internecine warfare within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which has led to the defection of five of its governors and thirty–seven

House of Representatives members to their strongest rival, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Within the nation’s political arena, it is widely suspected that the struggle for political supremacy between President Goodluck Jonathan’s supporters and his opponents as to whether he should run for the presidency again in 2015 would to a great extent affect and shape political events in states governed by the PDP, among them Cross River State.

Cross River State, which is controlled by the PDP, would not be left out or isolated from the power play that has constituted a real test of the future of democracy in Nigeria, based on emerging political issues. Albeit at the moment, there appears to be relative calm within the polity in Cross River State which, from available indices, is under the firm grip of Governor Donald Duke who recently described the ruling party in the state as a franchise, it is doubtful if this imposed calm would be maintained beyond the second quarter of this year, 2014.

Although opposition parties in Cross River appear to be prostrate, the inner feeling among analysts and a sizeable number of politicians in the state is that the ruling PDP and the political gladiators are already operating in factions, preparatory to either hijacking power or holding on to power, depending on the political sentiment each faction subscribes to.

It is common to hear people talk of the Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba faction and Governor Liyel Imoke faction of the PDP in the state.

It is generally believed, in political circles in the state, that Ndoma-Egba and those who reason in his line are of the view that they are solidly behind the emergence of Mr. Godwin Jedy Agba as Imoke’s successor from the
Northern Senatorial District in the state, while the Imoke group is believed to be behind the emergence of the Executive Secretary of the National Planning Commission (NPC), Ntufam Fidelis Ugbo, as the next governor.

Imoke dispelled the insinuation that he is supporting any aspirant when he told members of the Elders Forum of the state that he has not endorsed any possible successor. “I have seen publications where people say, let the governor announce his candidate. For me, that is not democracy and it is not the right kind of politics. I believe strongly that even that process of producing the governor should be one that all of us own or can lay claim to. We should allow candidates who will say that they have met with the senatorial zones, elders, the caucuses and groups and we have discussed, and then the people will assess them based on their credentials, capacity and vision,” Imoke said.

However, though some people have been campaigning openly in support of Jedy Agba, any form of open campaigns in favour of Ugbo is hard to come by. Ugbo has also kept the public in suspense as to whether he will enlist for the governorship race or not.

But despite the current veiling of his perceived governorship ambition, reliable sources and personages in the PDP in the state have stated that Ugbo has been making some consultations ahead of when he will likely declare to run for the office when the coast is clear.

Though the PDP Caucus in the state met sometime ago and ceded its governorship ticket to the north, where Jedy Agba, Ugbo and another aspirant, Tanko Ashang, hails from, it is feared that the party is already polarised to the extent that the wave of decamping that is being witnessed at the national level and other states may inevitably be experienced in Cross River State, if the supporters and opponents of Jedy Agba maintain rigid positions as to who should succeed Imoke in May, 2015.

Some political observers have expressed the opinion that what would prevent an implosion and possible defection of members from the party is the conduct of a free and fair primary election that will throw up the party’s governorship candidate and candidates for other elective positions through popular votes of the delegates across the state. But that situation, which is ideal, may not play out at the end of the day, because it is believed strongly that Imoke and his supporters are very much interested in who succeed the current administration in 2015.

Imoke tacitly stated this fear while addressing members of the Elders Committee during the Christmas period in December, 2013.

Many believe that Imoke is obviously interested in who succeeds him, but that his interest is not directed positively towards the aspiration of Jedy Agba; a man considered to possess all the qualities of an independent politician and would not be led by the nose, if he becomes governor, no matter who’s ladder he climbed to the position.

With this emerging scenario, it is the observation of many that there would be a conflict of interests between Jedy Agba’s ambition and that of the current overlords in the state led by Imoke, and the grim struggle that would trail the interest, if not properly handled in the best democratic manner, would lead to the balkanisation of the PDP in the state and the opposition would likely be the ultimate beneficiary of any implosion within the ruling party as there is the possibility of some aggrieved members decamping to any available opposition party.

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