By Andy Esiet, Calabar
Ahead of 2023 Governorship Senatorial race in Cross River state, the state Caucus Leader in the National Assembly, Senator Gershom Bassey and the People of Cross River Senatorial District have insisted that the next governor of the state must come from the Southern Senatorial district.
Some groups and persons in the state have said zoning should be abandoned for merit while some others are of the opinion that since the three senatorial zones have taking their turn, next zoning should start from Central.
But rising from its town hall meeting, the Cross River South Coalition led by former Senator Bassey Henshaw, reaffirmed its stand on the 1980 Calabar – Ogoja accord that had agreed on power shift in the state.
The group in its famous “Calabar Declaration” on November 5, 2021, said zoning has been there in the state and as it is now all the senatorial zones have had their turn and by fairness and equity, the South should take the next shot after waiting for 16 years for the governorship to go to the Central and Northern senatorial.
They insisted that Central should also wait for 16 years as the South did before agitating for the governorship seat in the interest of peace, equity and fairness.
In view of this, the state caucus leader in the senate, Senator Bassey endorsed the position of the coalition saying, “It is with immense gratitude that I thank the organizers and the committees that have been set up for the actualization of this stakeholder and leadership meeting of Cross River Southern Senatorial District. It gladdens my heart to see us united in the pursuit of equity, fairness and justice for all the people of Cross River State.
“Our forebears knew that it is only fairness that brings stability to a people that is why they laid down an equitable and just road map in the Calabar-Ogoja Accord. They knew that it is only through equity and fairness that the people of Cross River can enjoy strength in their diversity and remain as one”.
Bassey said “it is still on these grounds of equity, fairness and good conscience that we stand today . Section 14(3) of the 1 999 Constitution clearly states the need for zoning and power rotation to ensure national cohesion in our nation, Nigeria. Article 7 (3) (c) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Constitution provides for rotation and zoning of party and public elective offices. Article 20(iv) (e) of the All Progressive Congress (APC)”.
He said the “Constitution also provides for the principle of federal character and rotation in nomination for election or appointment. My brothers and sisters, the Nigerian Constitution, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Constitution and the APC all provide for equity and fairness in the nomination of candidates for election and appointment. Therefore, the continued rotation of the governorship seat to Cross River South Senatorial District by all political parties in Cross River State is the way forward in 2023.
“I therefore lend my full support to this Calabar Declaration and join the vast majority of Cross Riverians to support the rotation of Governorship to the Southern Senatorial District come 2023. This is a symbol of the journey of love and brotherhood that is Cross River State”.