The hopes of political freshmen hoping to change the status quo in the peoples Democratic Party has been dashed following announcement by the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus that incumbents will be getting automatic tickets.
The news comes as a relief among supporters of governor Ben Ayade and members of the national assembly in Cross River State at the weekend when news of automatic tickets for incumbents by the National Working Committee, NWC, of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP announced by national Chairman of the party. Prince Uche Secondus broke in the state.
The automatic tickets reduced the tension building among party members who were gearing up for primary elections among the number of contenders gunning for for governorship, House of Representative and Senatorial tickets on the party’s platform in the state. Crowds gathered at the campaign offices of the various national assembly members across the state and the governor’s support groups to celebrate what they termed ‘victory’ for peace and unity in their party. “This is the winning team that would give PDP complete victory in state, national assembly, gubernatorial and presidential elections in Cross River”. Chief Thomas Oku, one of the jubilant supporters told Vanguard. Another supporter, Evelyn Emmanuel, a lawyer said the automatic tickets would reduce intra party squabbling among party members and unite them to face the opposition in 2019. “The money and efforts that would have been invested in running primary elections can now be used to prosecute the real election and you can say the benefits from that are enormous” They said the combination of Governor Ben Ayade, Senator Gershom Bassey, Senator Rose Oko and other national assembly members are a guarantee of victory for the party in the state. There was traffic lockdown in places like Marian and Watt markets where traders locked their shops to join in the celebration and chanting of “Dem neva chii chomtin”, the popular campaign song of Senator Gershom Bassey who represents the central senatorial district.
However, many political commentators believe that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP may have opted for the automatic tickets for incumbents in a deft move to forestall cracks in the party and prevent a situation where an incumbent with grassroot support and structure would have to defect to another political platform to fulfill their political ambitions.