By Endurance Onun:
More than a few has happened since the day incumbent Governor Ben Ayade abandoned PDP for APC and at the moment, there is a growing debate in the state’s political tapestry as per whether Ayade’s defection would alter the zoning permutation which seemingly favors Southern Cross River State to produce the next governor; with immediate past and current governors, Imoke and Ayade being of Central and Northern districts, respectively — the scenario suggests that the next governor should be of the Southern District.
The above permutation notwithstanding, there is a thick believe amongst many political analysts that some power juggernauts in Cross River State, Rivers State and beyond are on high games towards having the next Cross River State governor to be of the Central Senatorial District.
Tautly inferred that most of the people patronizing a Central governorship agitation are not of Southern District, albeit, current reports on social media and hearsay now suggest that some Southern bignames are also patronizing Central to produce the next governor, afterwhich, they can man-up for it.
One of such bignames is that of Mr. Donald Duke, a Southerner who reigned as governor from 1999 to 2007. Duke, who was a member of PDP before 2019 when he was refused a presidential ticket by PDP afterwhich he left for SDP, whereupon he vied for presidency — though former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana made life a living hell for him.
At the moment, there is a widespread rumor that Duke’s return to PDP last week was to patronize Sen. Sandy Onor’s guber ambition. This rumor became substantial this week after Sen. Sandy took Donald Duke by hand to meet Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers State who is a sponsor of Sandy’s guber dreams and an affluence on Cross River State politics.
Duke is yet to disclaim this allegation nor spill lights on his fast growing romance with Sandy and Wike even though it has become a thing of concern to both political followers and top-notch of Southern District, prominent amongst many was a public concern purportedly published by the State House of Assembly’s Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Joseph Bassey of Calabar South II Constituency.
In the publication tittled: “Donald Duke: Return of the Trojan horse” and accredited to Rt. Hon. Bassey, it was alleged that Donald’s return to PDP was to destroy the remaining hopes which his people [of Southern District] have to succeed incumbent Gov. Ayade.
Viewed to be a controversial opinion that should not be made public, Rt. Hon. Bassey has, yesterday, distanced himself from the publication. According to Bassey, he has no business with PDP [Duke’s current party] permutations as he has already followed Gov. Ayade to APC. His reaction:
“The attention of the Deputy Speaker of Cross River House of Assembly has been drawn to a fake report trending on social media with the title: “Donald Duke: Return of the Trojan horse.
“I, Joseph Bassey, who represents the good people of Calabar South II in the State House of Assembly, wishes to state that I am not the author or writer of the said fake report. Never did I ever sit to write such a report on the person of Mr Donald Duke, a former governor of Cross River.
“I have since left the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress and no amount of blackmail can pitch me against the former governor, whom I have high regards for”.
While Duke is yet to make his views on 2023 guber public, some analysts are of the opinion that time is not so much on his side; howthat, it were better he clears the air on this matter for his good, that of his followers and the entire Southern District, nay, Cross River politicians.