By Our Reporter
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, some political leaders from the central senatorial district met today in Ikom ostensibly to decide the political future of the area.
Among those present were a former Minister of Niger Delta affairs, Usani Usani, Senator John Owan-Enoh and governor Ben Ayade’s close ally, Chris Agara. The trio are among those aspiring to succeed the incumbent governor at the expiration of his tenure in May 2023.
The meeting which took place at a popular hotel in Ikom, was at the instance of Senator John Own-Enoh with the aim of pushing backwards the much pressured Back To South campaign and enthrone a governor from the Central district of the state. According to sources.
A communique released at the end of the meeting, described the district as “the most competitive senatorial district within the politics of APC in Cross River State” and therefore advised that “managing it to reap the maximum benefit of this quality must be guided jealously”
Acknowledging governor Ben Ayade as one with the greatest stake in the party in the state, they leaders cautioned that “the experience coming out of the recent bye-elections that took place in Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency and Akpabuyo State constituency with PDP winning the two local governments of Akpabuyo and Ogoja and the APC winning one, Yala, should not be taken for granted as what this suggests going forward into the party primaries and the 2023 general elections is that the party must spare nothing to be competitive in the choice of its candidates for every elective office”
Similar meeting had earlier taken place in Abuja according to reliable sources. The Ikom meeting is a follow-up to the Abuja meeting which took place at the residence of Mr. Chris Agara.
Governor Ben Ayade has severally vowed to ensure that a candidate from the southern senatorial district emerges as the APC flag bearer and eventual governor of the state.
In an official outing in October 2021, the governor, in a widely circulated video repeatedly said “I sand with the south”
With the completion of Liyel Imoke’s two terms in office after the administration of former governor Donald Duke’s initial 8 years. Many Cross Riverians believe that at the end of governor Ayade’s two terms, it will only be proper for power to return to the south.
As the leader of the party in the state, governor Ben Ayade is believed to wield huge influence regarding who emerges the party candidate. It is however not clear how the trio of Usani, Owan and Agara will go against the party’s instruction.