The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River State is embroiled in disagreement over who should be the running mate to the governorship candidate, Prince Bassey Otu who is from the southern district of the state.
Before now, the majority leader in the state House of Assembly, Peter Odey, representing the Ogoja State Constituency in the northern part of the state, was seen as the best choice for the party’s deputy governor.
But critical stakeholders of the party in the state, including a former governorship candidate, have disagreed, calling for consensus as to who becomes the authentic deputy governorship candidate for the 2023 election.
They have expressed worry that the governorship candidate himself has not been given the freedom to choose who he wants as running mate in keeping with the country’s constitution in Section 187.
In a letter dated 26 July 2022 to the state governor, they said, “We are constrained to note that the constitutional provision in the case of our party the APC in Cross River State has not been followed.
“Our Governorship candidate; Senator Bassey Otu has not been given the constitutional right bestowed on him to nominate another candidate.”
The stakeholders mentioned that the constitution does not permit the sitting Governor to appoint or foist a candidate on the governorship candidate as is the case in Cross River State APC.
They stressed that the non-involvement of critical party stakeholders in the deputy governorship candidate selection process has been not only curious but very unacceptable to a majority of the stakeholders.
“This alienation of the critical stakeholders, if not urgently addressed, could adversely affect their utmost commitment and zeal to contribute assiduously to efforts aimed at ensuring a total and resounding victory for the party at all levels in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.”
They informed the governor that the matter was very disturbing.
They called for the review of the selection or nomination of Odey whose emergence was allegedly done without consultations with critical stakeholders of the party.
“The process should be subjected to wider consultations for the purpose of arriving at a consensus before the expiration of the window for substitution of candidates as set out by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.”
They stressed that “whoever will emerge as the consensus deputy governorship candidate should be one with electoral value, competence, and general acceptability to effectively complement our governorship candidate in our march to making history by returning to the Peregrino House in 2023.”