Monday, 9 May 2022

C'River 2023: Jarvis Emerges PDP Consensus Aspirant, As Southern Leaders Meet

Sir, Arthur Jarvis, PDP Consensus Gubernatorial 

Ukorebi Esien | 9th May 2023

As the 2023 gubernatorial election takes the center stage in the polity of things in Cross River State, leaders and elders of the Southern Senatorial District under the leadership of HE Mr Donald Duke met last night to decide on a consensus aspirant for the South. 

The meeting that had all 9 aspirants from the Southern Senatorial District of Cross River State in PDP present saw Sir, Arthur Jarvis emerged victorious after a heated session that lasted over 5 hours. 

An inside source present at the meeting which was held in the home of the former governor said all aspirants were given ample opportunity to present their manifesto as well as address the elders drawn from the 7 local government areas in the Southern District of the State. 

According to our source who pleaded anonymity since he has not been authorise to speak on behalf of the forum, the meeting started with the Ex-Governor drawing the attention of the 9 aspirants to the fact that one of them could become governor of Cross River state and on the reverse, none of them could be governor if they don't sit as a family to amicably handle the issue of consensus. He further stated that the 9 of them going into the party's primary election will split the votes from the South, so it was better the South as a community produce a unity aspirant in one person to represent the interest of the community to avoid the South losing out. This stance was said to have been unanimously agreed upon by all aspirants and elders/leaders present. They said since all aspirants seeks to serve the community, therefore, the community should choose who will represent them. 

Our source informed that some aspirants had initially objected to the idea of consensus but were made to understand that they cannot be bigger than their roots. That they seek to represent a people, therefore the must have a say in who represents them in the general election. 

Speaking during the meeting, Ambassador Nkoyo Toyo, one of the aspirants had requested for a gender-friendly decision to be reached at the meeting, stating that Cross River State should have the opportunity of producing the first female governor, but she was informed that the race wasn't a gender race but the zone must produce a credible and sellable aspirant that will win elections both during primary and general elections. 

Another aspirant, also complained that some of the aspirants had been in government for over 27 years with no value added to the community or the state. He added that if some of these persons had done well there would be no need for him to contest the guber seat. But due to these ineffectiveness and lack of community-building spirit of these aspirants, he is forced to join the race to make a difference. 


Our source added that the meeting became so stiff with none of the aspirants agreeing to step down. At this point, the ex-governor, Donald Duke sorts the permission of the forum to have a private meeting with only the aspirants. After the private meeting where there was still no headway and possible agreement for a step-down, the entire elders/leaders present including the aspirants agreed on the casting of votes. 

It was reported that one of the aspirants, the Senator representing Cross River Southern Senatorial District, Sen. Gershom Bassey staged a walkout at some point during the meeting which angered the elders who saw it as insulting and a parade of pride and self-ego. Our source added that one of the elders present demanded to know if Gershom was bigger than the community he seek to govern? Stating that the remaining aspirants had shown a high level of maturity, humility, commitment to community building and willingness to lead the people. 

Duke and others during the meeting at his residence 

Nkoyo Toyo, Imah Agodeke and other aspirants
And stakeholders at the meeting 

Duke and some aspirants and elders during the meeting 

Some aspirant and Southern Elders during the meeting at Duke's residence 

The results of the votes cast were as follows: 

Eyo Okpo-Ene, Sen. Gershom Bassey, Barr Efiok Cobham, Emmanuel Nsa, and Mrs Imah Nsa Adegoke all got 1 vote each while Engr. Coco Bassey clinched 2 votes and Rt. Hon. Daniel Asuquo got 4 votes with Ambassador Nkoyo Toyo going home with 9 votes and Sir Arthur Jarvis gathered a whooping 12 votes to win the day. 

The result of the election for a consensus aspirant means Sir Arthur Jarvis, the Chancellor of the Arthur Jarvis University will be the unity aspirant for the south in the Peoples Democratic Party as they approach the May 23rd date of the party's primary elections for gubernatorial aspirants. 

Eyo Okpo-Ene, Engr. Coco Bassey and Sen. Gershom Bassey keenly observing during the meeting at Duke's residence 

Rt. Hon. Daniel Asuquo, Dansuki smiling during the meeting at Duke's residence 

TDN also gathered from independent sources that the emergence of Arthur Jarvis as the consensus aspirant might make the race easy for the south to clinch the party's ticket as there have been some insinuations that Sen. Sandy Onor of the Central Senatorial district who is also eyeing the plumb seat had said he will contest the 2023 guber elections despite the Southern Agenda agitation as long as Sen. Gershom Bassey is in the race. Many believe that Onor's guber ambition is targeted towards ensuring the rumoured three wise men agreement of Donald Duke, Liyel Imoke and Gershom Bassey ruling the state one after the other does not see the light of the day. 

It is believed that the emergence of Jarvis as the preferred Southern Aspirant is a welcome development which may be needed in facilitating the process of other aspirants from other senatorial districts to drop their ambition and collapse their structure joining forces with Jarvis to defeat APC in the general elections which is the overall interest and objective of the party.