By Uche Ikechukwu & Emma Una, CALABAR
A socio-political, group, Social Assembly Cross River State has called on the Cross River State governor, Senator Ben Ayade to have a rethink on his position over the zoning of the 2023 governorship slot to the southern district of the state.
Addressing newsmen in Calabar-, Chairman of the group, Chief Bassey Onen Iwara said zoning the office of governor is a serious issue which ought to be placed on the table of the party for delibration to reach a concensus and not as one man’s show.
“On Thursday, December 16th, 2021 three prominent sons of the Southern Senatorial District of Cross River State, namely: Chief Orok Otu Duke, Barrister Edem Ekong, and Etubom Architect Bassey Ndem decamped from the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC.
“Given the calibre of the personalities involved, they were warmly received with pump and pageantry into the APC, by no less a personality than the governor of Cross River State, Professor Ben Ayade at a well attended rally held at the Women Development Centre field in Calabar.
The governor was ably supported by his deputy, Prof Ivara Ejemut, the Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Joseph Bassey, and Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, the APC State Chairman, Alphonsus Eba and other prominent politicians from the southern senatorial district including Chief Ogban Ebock and during his speech, Governor Ayade said the governorship in 2023 has been zoned to the southern part of the state for equity and justice”.
Chief Iwara said t from hose who decamped and others who spoke at the rally, it was obvious they were uncomfortable that the PDP was not prepared to support a politician from the south to become governor of the state in 2023.
In their view, they had expressed the hope that the APC would be more disposed with ensuring that power returned to the south in line with the zoning/rotation principle which took firm roots in
Quoting the speech by the governor at the event ‘ I will keep to my words. 2023 is a harbinger of peace, equity and justice so that every one of us will have a sense of equity and sense of balance to maintain and sustain our politics.
“This will enable everybody to know his turn at every given time”, Chief Iwara said such decision without consulting other party members was hasty.
“At this point, and without mincing words on the issue of zoning in 2023.
It is incontrovertible that before drumming and coming to a conclusion at the rally on the issue, , the governor ought to have engaged the stakeholders of the APC in a wide scale consultation before making his decision.”
He said im a party as the APC where the principles of zoning of elective political offices is yet to take firm roots, wise counsel demands that Ayade should have placed the issue of zoning on the table for members of the APC to decide instead of the one man show he is exhibiting.
“To put the records straight, zoning of elective political offices is a PDP tradition and not traditional to the APC, hence it was completely jettisoned in 2019, after its failed experiment in 2015 due to the popular broad based sentiment that the north should produce the governor that year.
It is by happenstance that today the APC have produced a Governor Ben Ayade from the northern senatorial district. It was not originally designed to be so since the party’s governorship candidate was Mr. John Owan Enoh from the central senatorial distri
“So, if there is to be zoning in 2023, the governor as leader of the APC should have consulted with members and stakeholders, from the South, Central and Northern Senatorial Districts, after which a binding decision on power sharing within the APC concerning the 2023 governorship ticket would have been made.
“On this note, we call on Governor Ayade to have a rethink on his decision on zoning and insist for a free and fair contest for the office of governor of the state in 2023.”
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