Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State
By Jude Okwe
Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State weekend foreclosed the ambition of his political ally, Mr. Gershom Bassey, or any other politician from Cross River South and Central Senatorial Districts succeeding him in 2015 when he said only the Northern Senatorial District has that right.
At an interactive forum with journalists in Calabar, the state capital, the governor put to rest the issue of where his successor would come from, saying it was only natural that the Northern part of the state which is yet to produce a governor for the state should take its turn at the Government House.
Before now, there had been a conclusion that Bassey was going to succeed Imoke under the so-called ‘Three Wise Men’ political arrangement of Imoke, Bassey and Donald Duke for a 24-year leadership of the state on alternate basis. But that calculation seems to have been faulty given that both Duke and Bassey are from the South which had already taken a shot at the governance of the state in Duke.
“In Cross River State, we have three senatorial districts. Two have produced governors of the state. Will it be fair not to allow another senatorial district not to produce governor? At the national level, the North produced president, the same with the South-west and now South-south. We have to do the same here for reasons of equity. It is a natural thing.
“In all my politics, I have stood for fairness. I was one of those opposed to those who said an Efik man cannot become governor of Cross River State. I fought against it and thank God an Efik became governor of the state. The final seal on this matter is that the next governor of our state would come from the Northern Senatorial District”, Imoke stated.
Commenting on his position on state police, the governor said he was in total support of the agitation for state police because of the increasing crime rate in the country and the fact that the federal police had proved its inability to fight crime and criminals conclusively.
According to him, the incapability of the police was evident in the Boko Haram saga of the North, where the military had been drafted to assist in flushing out the Islamic extremists and taking over flashpoints in the country that were usually manned by the police.