2023 Guber: Aspirants Divided Over Otu, Archibong’s Consensus

In Breaking News, Podcast, Politics

By Patrick Obia and Sylvia Akpan

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Gubernatorial aspirants in the All Progressives Congress, APC and the People’s Democratic Party, PDP in Cross River State have reacted differently to the meetings that reportedly produced a consensus candidate and aspirant respectively.

Former lawmaker, Senator Bassey Otu emerged as APC consensus candidate in a meeting presided over by Governor Ben Ayade in Abuja on Monday. For the PDP, academic entrepreneur, Sir Arthur Jarvis Archibong was voted as the consensus aspirant of the southern district in a straw poll supervised by a former Governor of the State, Mr. Donald Duke.

In the APC, Chris Agara, an aspirant from Ikom Local Government Area, LGA in the central senatorial district claimed they were invited for one thing and turned it around to a consensus meeting. He rejected the outcome of the meeting in Abuja, stressing that, “while the Electoral Act allows the option of consensus, it also prescribes that such agreements shall be in writing and shall be endorsed by all relevant parties concerned.”

A statement issued by the Director General, DG of his campaign organization, Barrister Richard Ogbeche, further added that, “to the best of our knowledge l, the meeting at Transcorp of May 9th was merely a talk shop amidst good food and vintage liquor and should not be accorded any further importance beyond what it truly was.”

But, Senator John Owan-Enoh, a native of Etung in the central district appealed for calm from his supporters as he was still consulting on the next line of action.

“He is at the moment in consultation with critical stakeholders of the party at the national as well as the leadership of the state as to the best way forward under the current situation. As soon as this is concluded (this will be sooner than later) our principal will engage with the leadership of the campaign organization as well as other critical stakeholders of the campaign for a collective position to be taken,” read a statement signed by the DG of his campaign organization, Hubert Ogar.

A video emerged afterwards showing an aspirant and former State lawmaker, Orok Duke accepting the position of the party and threatening those who will do otherwise.

Three other aspirants accepted the decision in different statements.

“I came from the private sector and ran a campaign for four years from my pocket, I believe I had something to offer Cross Riverians just like any other. Well it went that way, I thank God. I will address my supporters in due course,” Ben Akak, who began his campaign months ago said in a statement to CrossRiverWatch.

“May I use this opportunity to also thank you for the love and selfless service you are offering to our people. God will reward us someday, Meanwhile I hope to keep reaching out to less privileges in our society through the Ben Akak Foundation. Be rest assured that it will not die because it wasn’t for politics,” Mr Akak added.

For the in-law to former President Good luck Jonathan, Prince Godswill Edward, the decision to pick Senator Otu was the right one for the betterment of the APC.

Also, a former Commissioner representing the State on the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Sylvester Nsa, the party remains supreme, hence his decision to pull the plug on his gubernatorial ambition.

In the PDP, Senator Gershom Bassey has dissociated himself from the endorsement of Arthur Javis as the guber aspirant from the southern district.

Senator Gershom said though he was part of the meeting but had to leave because, “suddenly it became something else so I personally left the meeting because I didn’t want to be part of any unconstitutional arrangement.”

He added that, “We are continuing our effort towards the election and we believe that we are the foremost candidates in this primary by every single parameter. We are going to keep working, we are not taking anything for granted, we are going to keep working until 2023 when I’m sure that we will come out with a victory in the PDP primaries.”

With the guber primaries of both parties days away, it is expected that there will be more intrigues ahead for who emerges as standard bearer for the March 11, 2023 gubernatorial and State Assembly elections.

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