As the build up to the 2023 general elections gets under way, there have been series of speculations and permutations on the sharing formular of various political positions across the state by the Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, in collaboration with the state party leadership and critical stakeholders of the APC.
From indications, the positions are shared based on loyalty, strength of aspirants to win election, on compassionate grounds, and mostly to serving lawmakers both at the National and state assemblies.
On the 9th of May, 2022, a former lawmaker in the National Assembly, Sen. Prince Bassey Otu, was chosen as the consensus candidate of the APC by the state governor, APC leadership in the state and strong critical stakeholders in a meeting that was held in Abuja.
The candidacy of Otu, who hails from Odukpani local government area in Cross River South, has received commendations from across the state, as party men and women, even from some members of the opposition PDP.
A few days after Sen. Otu emerged, there were speculations as to who was going to deputize him to fly the party’s flag in the general election in 2023.
A section of some party stakeholders are rumoring that the state governor and the APC leadership has zoned the deputy governor slot to Northern Cross River.
The truth must be told that this is about the first time that Cross River is going to witness a very competitive election because the opposition PDP is still waxing strong in the state.
Looking at the current strength of political office holders in the APC, it is very clear that the north is fully loaded with top political office holders.
For example, currently, the present governor hails from Obudu local government, including the Chief of Staff, Mr Martins Orim and many other heavy weight, including a state house of assembly member.
The present State Chairman of the APC, Barr. Alphonsus Eba comes from Yala local government, including the present member representing Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Hon. Jude Ngaji. Also, a former National Assembly member and the current Chairman of SUBEB, Sen. Stephen Odey also hails from Yala in addition to two state house of assembly members.
The north also boast of the member representing Obudu/Bekwarra/Obanliku Federal Constituency, Rt. Hon. Legor Idagbo, who is a native of Bekwarra local government. While in Ogoja local government, the Leader of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Peter Odinga is there, SSA Political, Chief Peter Ojie Commissioners, and other several appointees.
In Central Cross River, the story is quite different, this is because the PDP have a Senator and a House of Reps member. Sen. Sandy Onor and Rt. Hon Chris Agibe.
While Yakurr local government area is asking for Senate under APC, Abi local government area has gotten an automatic ticket to return Hon. Alex Egbona to the Federal House of Representatives.
Obubra local government already has a House of Reps member, Rt. Hon. Mike Etaba, who is also asking for a return ticket for third term.
In Boki local government area, over 8 aspirants have bought their expression of interest and nomination forms to contest the primaries for Ikom/Boki Federal Constituency.
Now, what is the political allocation of Ikom local government area which serves as the headquarters of political activities in the Central?
Interestingly, no Ikom son or daughter ever bought the form to contest for Ikom/Boki under the APC; this is because, the Ikom people are too politically mature, they play politics with ethics, hence they feel that after doing two terms of eight years, the position should rotate and move to Boki for equity, fairness and moral justice.
To effectively win the 2023 gubernatorial election, it’s important for the APC to pick a deputy governor from Ikom local government area with a view to strengthen the base of the party in the central and emerge victorious.
The North is already filled with strong political heavyweights at the expense of Central.
So, if the APC want to win the governorship polls conveniently and convincingly, the party should pick a deputy governor candidate from Ikom local government area which has been left completely empty in the sharing formular of political positions ahead of 2023.
A stitch in time saves nine!!!