By Richard Edem
Political activities in Cross River State has already began in full gear with several aspirants, in particular for the governorship position scrambling to secure their political party’s ticket. In the People’s Democratic Party, Cross Riverians have witnessed a number of them. Some of whom are familiar with the political retrain, while a few others, freshers.
But my interest is about who eventually emerges as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress. Like the PDP, a number of persons have been rumored to show interest in the governorship ticket of the APC. Even though none of them have openly declared yet.
Governor Ben Ayade has gone through a lot in the hands of PDP hawks, that the fight for who succeeds him must not only be a fight to finish, but also a must win.
The governor knows that to assert himself and remain relevant in the political corridors of the State, he will need to at least, battle enough to win the governorship ticket for his political party, the APC among other national and state assembly seats.
In doing so however, the governor needs to be very circumspect. Two things would be involve. He will need someone who can continue in his legacy projects and perhaps reposition the state for greater development and then, one who has enough political capital to secure a win at the polls.
But if you ask me, I will choose the later. Because if you are not able to win an election, you cannot even talk about repositioning the state for greater development. So the later takes preeminence.
Therefore, the major task before governor Ben Ayade right now, would be a common agreement among all contenders for the position of governor within his political party to come up with a candidate that has enough capacity, competence, and wide acceptability across party, ethnic and religious lines to secure a win at the polls.
If you again ask me who such a person would be. Without doubt, such would be Sen. Prince Bassey Edet Otu.
Even the political leaders in the PDP at this point would be praying for governor Ayade and the APC to make a political miscalculation not to project senator Bassey Otu as a possible governorship candidate.
But clearly, if APC must win the governorship seat at the 2023 elections, the right person to project must be Sen Prince Otu. He is the only governorship candidate that can win election convincingly.
He is one man with enough political and social capital to purchase the consciences and voting will of the masses and translate same to electoral victory.
Despite being out of government for years, the former lawmaker still commands massive acceptance and followership across political party lines. Among all the aspirants to the position of governor, he possesses a towering political record more than others.
What Cross Riverians needs right now is someone with a robust economic and human capital development plan that can lift alot of people out of poverty. And in the political history of modern Cross River, no one comes close to the record breaking empowerment programs, human capital development of Senator Otu, whether when he was in the house of representatives as a member or as a senator. So if given the opportunity as governor, Cross Riverians can be sure he will do even more.
In the area of human capital development, Sen. Prince Otu has successfully placed countless young Cross Riverians in major agencies and parastatal of government.
Senator Bassey Otu’s cult-like followership across the state is unparalleled. He is one person that if he emerges candidate, even a lot of people within the PDP will both campaign and vote for.
The former lawmaker commands the love and loyalty of both the poor and the rich alike. When the market woman who sells fresh fish at Lagos street or a bricklayer who earns a living from having to labour under some very unfriendly weather calls out “ Sweet Prince” it is received with the same courtesy accorded a boardroom manager or a top class politician.
A non discriminatory and a rare bred politician, Prince Otu is a politician in a class of his own, too lofty and in tune with the masses.
Governor Ben Ayade and the APC Cross River must think strategically on how to first of all win elections especially for the position of governor as that is very crucial for the survival of even the party in the state. And that can only be achieved with Sen. Prince Bassey Edet Otu as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress.