Leader of the APC in Cross River State, Prof Ben Ayade and other stakeholders of the party rose from a critical meeting in Abuja on Tuesday morning with a decision to pick Senator Basset Otu as the party’s consensus candidate for the governorship election in 2023.
Otu had earlier been recommended by the Senator Victor Ndoma Egba committee set up by the party to prune the number of aspirants.
In the consideration of the committee, only Otu would be able to square up against any candidate presented by the PDP.
After the committee’s recommendation, TNN learnt that there was so much pressure for the governor to look somewhere else instead of Otu.
The thinking of those in that school of thought was that Otu may not be able to protect the governor and defend some of his activities after he must have left office.
But others were said to have argued that it would be a win-win for the governor and the party, if Otu, a southerner and former senator known for his large heart and popularity, was allowed to fly the party’s flag.
At the meeting, which started on Monday night and ended about 1am on Tuesday, Ayade was said to have taken time to plead with all the other aspirants to concede and allow Otu to have the ticket, so that the party could win the election.
TNN learnt that all the aspirants were present at the meeting. A few of them were said to have asked the governor to allow them time to consult their supporters, a request the governor obliged, even though with a proviso, that the decision taken at the meeting was final.
One of the aspirants who spoke with TNN said he did not see the possibility of anybody fighting Otu in the field because of the way they all spoke at the meeting.
A top official of the party who spoke to TNN on grounds of anonymity also confirmed that the choice of Otu was generally accepted and that the party would stand by him even if someone plans to challenge him at the primary election which is expected to be a formality.
TNN learnt that the governor took time to explain