Your Excellency not many high-ranking politicians have had a smoother political career than yourself. In 2011, you ran for a seat in the Nigerian Senate and emerged victorious at the first attempt, and in 2015, you demonstrated once again that indeed God is with you, when you became governor without fuss. Space will fail us to recount the several public service appointments that have come to you with little or no struggle. Indeed, your life has been that of a man who is graced and backed by the Almighty.
Your excellency, we are worried that the legacy you have resolutely built for the state may come under severe threat in the nearest future if we become pretenders and spectators. We are indeed troubled by the latest allegation against Senator Bassey who officially expressed his interest to vie for the position of governor in Cross River State under the flag of the APC. While these allegations remain unjustified, it paints a grim picture, unsuitable for garnering public trust.
The opposition party is lurking, waiting for the right moment to strike, and they will strike. We must see beyond the now, read between the lines and take the bold step of defending our party against any weakness that may hamper victory in the coming election. We do not doubt our strength via the polls come 2023, however with Senator Bassey Otu in view amidst the allegations, our chances become dangerously slim. The fear is that we could easily lose the governorship election by a simple court ruling. Senator Bassey for now is our party’s soft underbelly.
It will be risky, to outrightly ignore the allegation against Senator Bassey. Remember when the opposition made several attempts to take you out of office through the court? We were victorious then because the law was on our side but we may not be very lucky this time. The opposition will love it if the gubernatorial seat of Cross Rivers State is decided by a court ruling. They know the people’s voting bias tilts towards our great party and as such, their earnest praying will be that we have specks of dirt swept under the carpet that could be unearthed to their glorious advantage. There is no room for mistakes here, we really must look before we leap.
To give credence to our concerns, the APC Screening panel on 20th May, once again upheld the disqualification of Senator Bassey Otu on the grounds of questionable academic credentials.
We commend the Screening committee for their unbiased view of the matter and for standing true to President Buhari's Administration zero tolerance for corrupt practices.
Now, we cannot waste any more time, we must act fast by fielding a candidate whose history is reliable and credible.
Your Excellency, it is our plea that you hand over Cross River State to a personality whose track record and capacity to lead will not brew doubts in minds and hearts. We need a candidate that will assure outright victory in the polls and court if the opposition decides to go that mile. We cannot afford to house anything less.
YOUR EXCELLENCY, GOV. BEN AYADE, WE CANNOT AFFORD TO ACCOMMODATE A TIME BOMB.
Ibanga Bassey, a human rights lawyer and public affairs commentator writes from Abuja