By Andy Esiet, Calabar
Ahead of 2023, Stakeholders of the Cross River State Southern Senatorial district of the People Democratic Party (PDP) have set a three point agenda for governorship aspirants of southern extraction as they decried the poor economic situation of the state and the associated huge debt burden .
Accordingly the stakeholders in an eight point communique signed by Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw, Obongawan Barbara Etim James, High Chief Archibong Omon, Dr Joe Edet, Dr. Maurice Ekong, Mr. Mba Ukweni, SAN and others charge all the aspirants to “pay close attention to all the identified issues be-devilling the state like its poor economic status”.
Rising from its one day stakeholders’ summit yesterday in Calabar with the theme: “Resetting Cross River for Recovery and Growth- with focus on the state’s economy, leadership & politics and community values & security”, the stakeholders said in addition to the issue of poor economy, the aspirants must also look at the issues of “community values and security against the backdrop of the effect of incessant communal crises in almost all the Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state and the kidnappings, robberies and drug abuse”.
The third agenda set for the aspirants is the issue of leadership and politics vis-a-vis their capacity, mental preparedness for leadership and service to the state which according to the stakeholders, the summit revealed that “from the quality of the presentation by the aspirants, the stakeholders of the southern senatorial district of Cross River State are satisfied and confident that the Southern Senatorial district has many qualified people who can vie for the office of governor” .
The stakeholders reaffirmed their stand on zoning saying, the Constitution of the PDP and that of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) support the principles of Zoning, hence, the Cross River State cannot, but do the same.
In this regards, “the summit therefore adopts the Calabar Declaration of 5. November 2021 and calls on all participants across the state to join hands to fulfil the just and equitable quest by the Southern Senatorial District of Cross River State to return power to the Southern Senatorial District come 2023.
“That the summit calls on all the aspirants from the Southern Senatorial district to come together and rally round one strong and acceptable candidate who has acceptance across the entire state and can win the governorship for the PDP” .
They further noted that whereas the Southern Senatorial District has waited for 16 years out of power and supported leaders from other zones: in the interest of peace and mutual coexistence, “it is now the turn of the Southern Senatorial District to produce the next governor of Cross River State in 2023”.
The PDP governorship aspirants present at the meeting include, the current Senator representing Cross River South Senatorial in the Senate, Senator Gershom Bassey; former member Calabar/Odukpani Federal Constituency, Ambassador Nkoyo Toyo; Chancellor Author Jarvis University, Sir Arthur Jarvis Archibong; President of Calabar Forum, United Kingdom, Engr. Mkpang Coco-Bassey; member representing Akamkpa/Biase Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Mr. Daniel Asuquo and former Deputy Governor of the State, Mr. Efiok Cobham.