…We unanimously agreed on it — Traditional Ruler
By Ike Uchechukwu Calabar
As the Cross River governorship 2023 gathers momentum, the people of Central Senatorial district have declared their total support on zoning the governorship ticket to Southern Senatorial district endorsing Senator Gershom Bassey as their preferred candidate for governor in 2023.
Recall that Senator Sandy Onor from Central Senatorial joined the governorship race and jettisoned the state’s zoning arrangement at a press conference at the Ernest Etim Bassey Press Centre, Calabar, stressing that zoning has never been practised in the state since the advent of the current democratic experience in 1999.
According to him, the state cannot afford to sacrifice competence on the altar of zoning adding that those who are promoting and spreading the message of zoning are either coward who does not have what it takes to contest the party’s ticket under a free and fair process.
However, during the visit of Sen.Gershom Bassey for consultation in the Central Senatorial Districts, the people comprising Boki, Etung, Obubra, Yakurr and Ikom LGAs solidly threw their weight behind him while endorsing him as their preferred candidate for the position of governor come 2023.
Speaking at various LGAs they said they stand by zoning in the interest of peace, equity and fairness as they are beneficiaries of zoning arrangement in the state that produced Senator Liyel Imoke as governor from 2007 to 2015 and they are all out to support Sen. Bassey to win the governorship come 2023 considering his tall achievement in the senate with 28 effective bills, constituency projects and grants to the people.
In Ikom, the Paramount Ruler of Ikom Local Government Area, Ntol Peter Njul Eku while receiving Sen. Bassey asserted that they have taken a position to support the zoning of governorship to the southern senatorial district.
Ntol Njul said that they had previously and unanimously met with the leaders of the central and Governor Ben Ayade when he was still in PDP to decide the existing zoning of governorship to be returned to the south,
“At this point, no individual within or outside the community can change the sacrosanct resolution of the traditional custodians which is in tangent with the government, party elites and the entire state as Senator Gershom Bassey would be supported and voted in as Governor of Cross River State come 2023”,” he said.
On his part, Attah Ochinke Esq. who is from Boki and a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state acknowledged that Ikom people stood by the past two administrations which Sen. Gershom was part of the planning and delivery of governance and as well encouraged the #BacktoSouth Agenda.
Ochinke who is the current Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Cross River State as well as a founding member of the PDP, affirmed the existence of zoning arrangement in the People’s Democratic Party(PDP) ab initio in the state.
“Zoning has been a culture of the PDP which has kept Cross River in peace, fairness and tranquillity, and the same zoning has benefited the people .zoning simply means turn by turn, and whoever turns it is should be allowed to benefit from the arrangement,” he said.
On his part, Sen. Bassey who is the Cross River National Assembly Caucus Chairman and represents Cross River South in the Senate is aspiring to take over from Governor Ben Ayade in 2023.
He said the PDP is a party of hard-working people and the party from inception has been committed to working for the citizens of the state adding that 2023 would be a turning point for the people of Cross River state”.
Sen. Bassey stressed the need for the people of the state to choose the right leadership by voting PDP and his candidacy that would bring infrastructural and human development to the people of Cross River and called for their support towards his gubernatorial ambition come 2023.