By. Onor Victor Obia (Voice from Obubra)
The Chairman of the Cross River State Caucus in the National Assembly, Senator Gershom Bassey has declared that zoning Is a national culture for peace and harmony,
The distinguished Senator made this assertion at the weekend in Calabar when he addressed the Critical Stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Southern Senatorial district at an interactive summit with other gubernatorial aspirants of southern extraction.
The event was at the instance of Senator Bassey Ewa and other Stakeholders with the theme; “Resetting for Recovery and Growth through the State’s Economy, Leadership, Politics, Community Values and Security”.
Sen. Bassey who represents Cross River South Senatorial district in the Senate, averred that “there is no magical best that can only be found in a particular place”.
He said, “the best can be found in all local governments because every local government has the capacity to produce a President as well as a Governor”.
It therefore means that zoning does not water down the quality of leadership in our polity rather, “the advantages of zoning is that “it engenders brotherhood, it makes us a better state creating an atmosphere of peace, harmony and understanding and that is why zoning is not just a Cross River State practice but a national one that applies to all the other States of the Federation.”
Tracing the history of zoning in Cross River State, Sen. Gershom Bassey reminded all present that they were part of the meetings where it was decided that the governorship be zoned to the Northern Senatorial District with the proviso that it will thereafter move to the Southern Senatorial District.
As a result, in the spirit of brotherhood, the South did not field any aspirant for the office in the two elections of 2015 and 2019 and he said, “what is good for the goose is good for the gander. We are practicing Constitutional Democracy and the Constitution gives clearly the zoning criteria for choosing a governor”.
However, speaking during interaction of gubernatorial aspirants with the various stakeholders across the the three senatorial district, Sen. Gershom Bassey reiterated that he believes in the capacity of each aspirant as they can match any other aspirants in any part of the state.
He said, “… zoning or no zoning, we can take on anybody from any part of the state.”
Meanwhile the Stakeholders at the end of the summit reaffirmed their stand on zoning saying, “the Constitution of the PDP and 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”.