Judex Okoro, Calabar
The leader of the Cross River PDP caucus in the National Assembly, Sen Gershom Bassey, has stated that the lawmakers and Governor Ben Ayade are working on consensus option to reduce tension generated by the congress.
Bassey, who spoke during a telephone interview with our correspondent on Thursday, said it became imperative to come together due to the intervention of party leaders including Governor Ayade.
Admitting that the ward and local government congresses were very successful and concluded in line with party guidelines, he commended the National Working Committee, NWC, for the free, fair and transparent processes in conducting the congresse at those levels of party structure.
According to him, the party members in the state are very excited and satisfied that ward and local governemnt chapter executive committees have been inaugurated and are functional.
He said: “We are now going into state congress and a number of people have indicated interests to contestants for various offices. For instance, we have three persons contesting for the position of chairman of the party with several others for secretary and so on.
“But our leader, Prof Ben Ayade, in his wisdom thought it wise we go for a consensus option in order to reduce the friction before going into the field. And this is something that had happened before.
“Somehow we started that discussion before the date of the congress last weekend. But unfortunately, we couldn’t conclude because our leaders in the party decided to push the congress forward to allow us time to take decision.
“Since then, we have been talking and have had several meetings with all the stakeholders on how to resolve the lingering differences. The Governor had set up a committee and we are now working to arrive at the consensus at the state level.”
On the rumour making the rounds that the NASS numbers have sold out, he said:”There is nothing like sell out as far as the ward, local governemnt and state congresses are concerned. Already, we have concluded the ward and chapter congresses. I, therefore, advise all party members to get ready because whatever consensus we arrived at we must revert to them for their ratification.
“I can assure all party memebers that nobody is going to write names and submit as some people think. Whatever negotiations reached at, we would definitely consult before any process is finalised.”
He dismissed insinuations that the party may lose out to opposition because of the in-fighting, adding that “PDP, since 1999, has been waxing strong and has been more successful in Cross River than any other state in the country.”
Gershon promised that the leaders of the party wo6d work round the clock to see that PDP remain unbeatable in the state at every elelction.