by crossriverwatch admin
Mr. Tanko Ashang is from Obanlikwu Local Government Area and he is one of the aspirants contending for the position of governor of Cross River State, CrossRiverWatch took him to task over the weekend on the recent pronouncement by the governor of the State, Senator Liyel Imoke that the northern part of the state where the post has been zoned to should present one candidate for the PDP primaries.
Recently, the governor, Senator Liyel Imoke and some stake holders held a meeting at the Ranch Resort and he advised the Northern Senatorial District to come out with the best candidate to represent to the PDP for the primaries. What is your take on that?
I don’t think it is feasible at this point to come out with one person. What are the parameters to be used in selecting such a person? The Northern Senatorial District has people in various strata who are contesting for this job, so I would feel that naturally, it is fair to look at two to three persons and if that is not okay, the number can be expanded to make it five so that you can bring them together and re-examine them and if possible cut down the number and finally present those ones before the delegates in a primary election.
Whether one, three or five persons are selected, what is your strategy to ensure you are selected?
My Strategy actually has been to reach out to the delegates one on one. By virtue of the fact that the primary election is a delegate election, I have to reach every delegate and those in government who would vote to see reason for my candidature and what that means for the state in terms of development. I have distributed my program and many of these people have it in their hands and I believe they are studying it to see that I have demonstrated enough capacity for service. I have been networking with the Ward executives of the party, the chapter and at the state level. I am also calling on other aspirants to speak with them and for them to speak with one another not necessarily for them to step down for me but how those with similar vision can collapse their structure and work together. That is basically what I have been doing to ensure that whatever comes, I will emerge at the primary at the end of the day.
Do you consider yourself a family member because that is what the governor has been harping on that his successor will be a family member?
By all estimation, I am a PDP family member in the state. Now, many people misunderstand the concept of family membership. First, every registered member of the PDP is a family member. Secondly, every member who has been financially viable is a family member and of course, there are senior members and junior family members. I cannot claim to be at the same level with those who brought the party in 1998, but I can claim that I have gained some seniority in the party because I joined the party almost seven years ago when Senator Liyel Imoke got nomination to run for governor and I found a lot of confidence in his personality and I decided to register with the party. I have supported the party in all elections beginning from presidential, state, National Assembly and local government. In fact, at one time I chaired the fund raising dinner for chapter chairmen in the northern part of the state. Yet there is the temptation to feel that only those who are elected or appointed or those in the Caucus are the only family members and that is a big mistake. All of us who have family know that the fist son of the family is a son and the last son is also a son and more often than not, it is not the first son who emerges; it is destiny because it is God who ordains leaders. In any case the PDP Constitution has provision for exemptions. So even if you join today and you have the quality and material to lead the state, exemption can be given to you to run and emerge. Therefore, everybody who is a registered member of the party is in one way or the other a member of the family. Even at that the governor has not in any way exempted anybody from contesting especially financially viable members of the Party. He has said if you are registered and that can be taken to include every member of PDP, not a select few.
How soon are you leaving office to fully take up your campaign to be governor of the state because primary election is fast approaching?
Effective from the 5th of August, I will be completely retired from the Federal Civil Service and I am grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to serve at very high level in the federal government of Nigeria. Now that I am going to retire, I will take all the time to beef up my strategy, continue the consultations because my aspiration is about the people and not about self. I believe that I will be able to convince them sufficiently and when they know what I have done or what my vision is for the state, they will, support me and I will win the primaries and become governor of Cross River State for the good of the land.
How do you think the three or five aspirants for the primary election should be selected?
For me, I think that it is important that we begin to narrow down now. If we are serious, the Executive Council members whether commissioners or special advisers who are interested should sit down and decide among themselves and pick one person who they consider worthy of leadership whether in terms of vision, integrity, or passion for the state and also those in the legislature whether state assembly, national assembly should also look among themselves and pick one person while those of us who have not served in the state as commissioners or in the assembly can zoom on one of us too and bring out one person. Now naturally, these three persons who have great conviction, strength of character, integrity, courage , and youth on their side can be presented before the enlarged Caucus of the party and subsequently to the delegates for primary election. That way it will give the people the opportunity to make the right choice. This process will encourage people to support the leader because they are satisfied that the person leading them they played a part in his emergence.
So I think as much as possible, our leaders should make real sacrifice by ensuring that the best and most popular person emerges. I am not saying they should pick one person, no, but give us options. There must be choice after all life always has options. I am saying pick three or five aspirants present them to the Caucus and delegates then tell them these people we have examined them in terms of their character, personality, vision and we believe they have genuine desire, capacity and integrity you pick one as your candidate for the party. Such a process will stand the test of time and will be respected by all not just picking one person.
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