Late Thursday evening, former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, threw caution to the wind when he publicly carpeted the political exclusion policy of CRS governor, Liyel Imoke, in the run in to next year’s gubernatorial elections.
Duke who spoke at a political rally held at the Holy Child Secondary School, Marian Hill, Calabar, for governorship hopeful, Goddy Jedy Agba, wondered why his successor will seek to deliberately exclude the likes of Agba from running for governor of CRS. He was particular that this politics of exclusion has factionalized the PDP family in the state, shrinking the size of the family and making it difficult to achieve the kind of cohesion that the party has enjoyed in the state.
“I was invited not too long ago to attend a meeting of our party’s caucus in Calabar and all I kept hearing were sighs of discontentment among party members over the process that was to give CRS a governor. Something is wrong… When elections were to be conducted in 2007, I heard for the first time the campaign slogan, Monkey Work, Monkey Chop, and I called Gershom Bassey and asked him why a state like ours which has made enviable strides will be reduced to an association of monkeys. It was a terrible thing to hear but as time went on, all of us know that only two monkeys ran this state, the rest are houseboys and house girls, people unable to stand up and express themselves, this is not how it should be”, Duke disclosed.
He continued, “as governor, it is easier to build on the foundation of your predecessor. When however you insist on building your own foundation and abandoning the one already built, we can never complete this house. Let me also add that respect is gradually earned, you cannot force people to respect you or tow only your line”.
As applause after applause from the huge crowd that gathered rang out, the former governor frowned at the roles played by two companies, Sermatech and Lilleker, in project execution in CRS. He made a veiled reference to both companies as being a conduit pipe, used by people he did not name, to siphon state funds.
For Agba, Duke was emphatic that should he be elected as governor, “the task before you is not easy. You must put us all together again because as governor of CRS, you are governor of all and not a section of the state; the whole state is your constituency. I am saying this because at this stage of our development as a state, I owe you all the truth”.
Donald Duke’s alignment with Agba’s gubernatorial ambition finally confirms long-held believe that he may have broken ranks with Imoke, considering too that Imoke has forcefully demonstrated that Agba will not succeed him, even making the widely reported statement that, “I do not know who will be governor but I know who will not be”.
The rally also served as a platform for Agba to formally declare to the people of the state his intention to run as governor.
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