The South Spoke In One Voice; Despite The Acts Of Betrayal From Within - Coco-Bassey Esu




The last PDP gubernatorial primaries in Cross River State is one that will continue to elicit political discourse for a long time to come. The outcome has resulted in diverse insinuations and opinions. Players and actors alike have analysed the import of the primaries which threw up Sen. Prof. Sandy Ojang Onor as the Governorship Candidate of the PDP.


Many saw the entire exercise as a betrayal of the Back to South campaign, particularly the consequential exclusion of a candidate from the Southern Senatorial District. It must be said that one man's ambition was pushed to the detriment of the long-term collective political interest of the Central and Northern Senatorial Districts. 


Having happened, the North and Central Senatorial Districts cannot excuse themselves, they have become complicit. If they had wanted a different outcome, these Senatorial Districts should have thrown their weight behind any southern candidate and rejected by "elimination" all non Southern Senatorial District aspirants. The outcome was foreseeable, and the rejection of the existing gentleman agreement that promotes power ROTATION EVERY EIGHT YEARS, (SEQUENTIALLY) WAS THROWN AWAY. That is all history now, and sequential rotation HAS BEEN DISRUPTED. The full meaning of such disruption is conversation for another day. 


Looking back at the primaries, the major contenders were Sen. Gershom Bassey and Rt. Hon. Daniel Asuquo. Setting aside the argument on a CONSENSUS CANDIDATE, it is clear that there was massive support for Sen. Gershom Bassey's aspiration. This is as reflected in the outcome of the elections. The South overwhelmingly voted for Sen. Gershom Bassey. Indeed, Sen. Gershom Bassey won in at least 5 LGAs in the South. He got massive votes in Calabar South, Akpabuyo, Biase, Odukpani, Bakassi and Calabar Municipality. He also picked a decent number of the votes from at least two third of the LGAs in the Central Senatorial District. In the North, his votes were less impressive.


On the other hand, Sen. Sandy Onor won in three LGAs in Central Senatorial District and was massively aided to victory by votes from the Northern Senatorial District, where Senator Jariegbe's political dominance was used to Prof. Sandy's advantage. I shall return subsequently to the votes cast in favour of Rt Hon Daniel Asuquo, to balance out the argument that the South did not lose...but actually the BACK2SOUTH CAMPAIGN WON.


The voting pattern and the results clearly support the assertion that in the Southern Senatorial District, Sen. Gershom Bassey was the leading contender and the one with the strongest chance of winning the primaries. 


Although the Central Senatorial District also mobilised massively for Sen. Gershom Bassey to show their solidarity for the Back2South campaign, their contribution came short of giving victory to a Southern candidate. In the South itself, there were leading politicians (now candidates mostly) that tried hard to frustrate the aspiration of Senator Gershom Bassey and thereby betrayed the Back2South campaign. 


They were driven by immediate gains linked to an inordinate ambition which resulted in them backing Prof. Sandy and jettisoning the South. They are the propagators of the many disappointments in the South and in due season they will be called to account for their actions.


Even as their actions have resulted in a loss for the candidate of the South, it is important that the PDP is aware of the strong sentiments the Southern peoples hold that justice and fairness are immutable. These principles underpin the Back2South campaign and PDP MUST NOW ACT proactively to mend all fences ahead of the General Election in 2023.

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