November 13, (THEWILL) – Senator Gershom Bassey, Senator Representing Cross River South in the National Assembly and Chairman of the Cross River Caucus in the National Assembly recently Spoke on some topical issues. Excerpts by Bassey Aniekan
The national assembly recently approved another tranche of foreign loans to the the president without relevant details, was this really the case?
We have the relevant details and the committee duly scrutinized the MDA’s justification over the funds before making recommendations to the Senate.
Critics have questioned the contributions of national assembly members to the development of the state. As a caucus chairman, what has Cross River legislators really brought to the state?
I’m sure that all members can answer this question positively. Personally, I will soon publish my scorecard for the 8th and 9th assembly. It will give a full account of my activities. I am sure that you will give me an A* after evaluating it.
2023 gubernatorial elections is in the front burner in the state particularly the issue of zoning, what is your take on zoning?
Zoning is a moral and equity-based question and resolution passed by the PDP caucus. One leg of that resolution was zoning the Gubernatorial seat to the North in 2015. Now, the 2nd leg is zoning the seat to the South and this must also be implemented.
The southern senatorial district which you represent is largely expected to produce the governor based on zoning and you are a front runner, but is the district relying solely on zoning?
The South does not depend on zoning and I do not depend on zoning. I am ready to match anybody from anywhere regardless of their zone. I have the guts and the grassroots support in every community and every zone across the State, to run the gubernatorial race. I have what it takes.
Zoning is about equity and a moral persuasion, which I believe is now due to the South. But if other zones feel otherwise, I’m prepared to contest at the primaries and general elections against anybody. It amuses me to hear insinuations that the south is not prepared, the south is lazy, and the south is broke and does not have the financial muscle to run an election.
Donald Duke, a major stakeholder in the South is reported to have spoke against zoning, will this work against the south?
That’s an old interview. His current position has changed. He supports the Southern Senatorial District.
Is your gubernatorial ambition still on course and can you match the powers that be financially and otherwise?
That is an old politically motivated story. Go and ask again. My empowerment programs, inflows to the state and generosity are unparalleled. That is why after my consultations if I decide to run it will be with or without zoning. It will be based primarily on my record qualification and capacity. We will match anybody naira for naira, dollar for dollar. If they go to get money from Bill Gates to fight, we will go to Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk in response. The next Governor will be from the south.
Senator Sandy Onor is threatening to contest that same position despite the zoning arrangement, are you bothered by this?
Don’t single out Sandy. There are many contestants or potential contestants and I welcome them all.
Do you have what it takes to turn the fortunes of Cross River State around as governor?
As I had earlier said, if I decide to run, my record qualification, capacity and unparalleled empowerment programmes within the State will speak for itself, regardless of the opposition.
I have the State’s blueprint and I know where and how to turn the fortunes of our dear state around, if given the mandate. I implore my supporters across the State to be calm. I will continue to engage every stakeholder I need to engage.