By Dapo Akinrefon
Stakeholders from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the Central Senatorial District of Cross River State rose from a consultative meeting at Ikom, on Wednesday night, with a decision to reject anything that would restrict their choice of the next governor to a particular senatorial district.
They said the state has never practiced zoning of the seat of governor.
The stakeholders also said going by the performance of Senator Sandy Onor, their current representative in the senate, they were comfortable with his aspiration and would queue behind him as the fit and proper person to succeed Governor Ben Ayade in 2023.
Stakeholders present at the meeting are former commissioners including Ntufam Gabe Obi Oji, Goddy Ettah and Attah Ochinke, who served under the current governor and Senator Liyel Imoke. The others include Ntufam Chris Itafu Njar, Chief Joe Obo Bisong, Prof Walter Mboto and Dr Effumbe Kachau, among many others.
In a communiqué made available to journalists on Thursday, the political leaders, who were drawn from all the local governments in the senatorial district, charged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to ensure that electronic voting system was applied during the next general elections.
The stakeholders said: “We reaffirm that the sharing of electoral positions, especially the governorship of our dear state is not and has never been exclusive for a particular senatorial district or zone in any election.
“Concerned that the current inciting comments by highly placed individuals over zoning could precipitate undue crisis; we reaffirm that the state is an all-embracing political entity that calls for an all-embracing political participation that does not exclude any zone or constituency as hitherto has been. It is therefore critical that we allow the political field open to all aspirants for best political results.
“That we shall continue to implore all eligible aspirants to consult stakeholders and party faithful across the state and solicit their support during and after the party primaries.
“We affirm that our dear Senator Prof. Sandy Ojang Onor has performed creditably well due to his capacity and desire for service delivery. We are, therefore, wishing him to further explore the political coast for the development of the people and the state by contesting election as Governor of Cross River State.”
Earlier in the day, hundreds of people from Obubra Local Government had laid ambush for the senator on his way to Ikom for the consultative meeting.
They took over the Obubra section of the Calabar-Ogoja road, forcing Onor to stop his convoy and come down to give them some attention.
They told the senator that they heard that he was going to pass through their land to get into Ikom and decided to waylay and thank him for construction one of their abandoned roads, apart from other projects he attracted to their local government as senator. One of their leaders, a former councillor, prayed for Onor and blessed his political journey, before the crowd allowed him to proceed.