Sen. Bassey replies former Gov. Duke, Sen. Onor as divisions brew in Cross River PDP
By Our Admin
Senator Gershom Bassey representing Cross River South senatorial district in the National Assembly has replied his colleague from the state, Senator Sandy Onor representing the Central district and the former Governor of the State, Mr. Donald Duke over their positions on the issue of zoning and rotational governorship that is brewing crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State.
Former Governor Duke had received Senator Sandy Onor on consultation over Onor’s governorship aspiration at the weekend and Duke seized the occasion to state that there has been no zoning in State, adding that he never became governor on the basis of zoning nor rotation.
On the same vein, Senator Onor who has been maintaining the same position of no zoning of governorship seat in the state told journalists in a press conference “that those who are promoting and spreading the message of zoning are either cowards who do not have what it takes to contest the party’s ticket under a free and fair process, or are ethnic jingoists who are only interested in misleading our people in pursuit of their very personal and selfish interests.”
Responding through a statement issued personally on Tuesday, Senator Gershom Bassey who is also a governorship hopeful in the 2023 elections, replied that in 2015, at which time former Governor Duke had left the PDP, “there was a caucus meeting which zoned this Governorship to the Northern Senatorial District, with the understanding that after the North, rotation would continue with the South.”
He further argued that “the people of the Southern Senatorial District have solidly stood behind the power rotation principle. After Donald Duke’s tenure in 2007, they wholeheartedly supported a candidate from the Central Senatorial District. They did this in my party, by not presenting any candidate from the South in that election. Furthermore, they voted massively for the PDP candidate from the Central Senatorial District. Of course, power shifted to Central and Liyel Imoke became our Governor.”
“Thereafter, the people of the South stood solidly behind the North and the zoning principle that was applied in the PDP. The South did not present a candidate in 2015. They supported the North.”
Sen. Bassey noted that “there were potential candidates from the South who could have created a contest in the field in 2015, but the people of the South decided to go with the zoning principle and supported the North on grounds of equity and fairness.”
“The vast majorities of Cross Riverians agree with this rotation and agree that it is the turn of the South,” he added.
He said “as is now common knowledge, I am contesting the 2023 elections and I have said repeatedly that my candidature does not depend on zoning. I will contest the election for Governorship with or without zoning, confident that I have the capacity to win and win for the PDP.”
“However, my focus today is to set the record straight. That there is zoning in Cross River State PDP; That there is rotation of power in Cross River State; that it is the turn of the Southern Senatorial district to produce the next governor, come 2023; And finally that the South is ready.”