Senator Bassey Otu has won the All Progressives Congress governorship primary by a landslide in Cross River State.
He defeated two other aspirants by a wide margin of 811 votes. Senator John Owan-Enoh who came second got 84 votes while Chris Agara scored 63 votes.
The Chairman of the primary election panel, Mohammed Makolo, announced the result and winner late Thursday night at the UJ Esuene Stadium where the governorship primary election took place.
In his acceptance speech, Senator Otu saluted the leadership style of Governor Ben Ayade, commending his industrialisation drive, adding “We will continue where you will stop.”
He thanked the delegates for not receiving a dime from him, saying “Today signals the birth of a project that will signal taking Cross River State to the next level”.
He thanked the aspirants for stepping down for him, adding that, “This day would not have been completed without the aspirants. I hold the mandate in trust for all of you”.
Otu also commended the chairman of the party, Alphonsus Eba for producing the next governor of the state.
The APC had disqualified ex-felon Otu from the Cross River governorship race over his conviction in 1987 and discrepancies in educational qualifications.
The exercise, which began after accreditation of voters on Thursday, ended at the early hours of Friday, with the result announced by the chairman of the party’s primary election committee, Mohammed Kolo. Other aspirants had earlier withdrawn from the contest.
APC chairman in Cross River, Alphonsus Eba, congratulated Otu on his victory which he described as a “landslide”.
“Senator Bassey Ede Otu was disqualified by the Screening Committee (Governorship). We also received a petition dated 14th May, 2022 from Messrs B.I Dakum & Co. against the nomination of Senator Bassey Otu”, according to the party chairman.
The petition disqualifying Otu, signed by APC Committee Chairman, Suleiman D. Fakai, and Secretary, Chidi Nwogu, which was seen by newsmen, had cited the senator’s 1987 conviction over fraud charges and inconsistency in his educational background.
“The Committee, after due scrutiny of the content of the Petition and the supporting documents, found no evidence to substantiate the allegation of conviction of the aspirant before any court of law”, the document reads.
“However, with regards to the allegation of his questionable academic credentials, subjects could neither produce his First School Leaving Certificate nor his WASC.
“He could only produce his secondary school testimonial. In the circumstances therefore, the Committee has no option than to declare this matter as inconclusive”, the document added.
Prior to his disqualification, Otu was the anointed candidate of incumbent governor, Ben Ayade. With his support, the Senator emerged as the consensus governorship candidate for the APC in the state.
Governor Dapo Abiodun faced a similar petition against his re-election bid but remains on course to contest in the 2023 governorship election despite his past criminal records of forgery and credit card theft in the U.S.
Earlier, Ayade told the delegates that, “We are here as a family. We desire to mainstream our party to the centre, exercise your franchise”.