A socio-political group in Cross River State, Southern Solidarity Front, has called on indigenes and residents in the state to support the South to produce the next governor in 2023.
The convener of the group, George O’ben-Etchi, who is the Commissioner for Solid Minerals in Cross River State, said in Calabar on Sunday that power rotation had led to the peaceful co-existence of the diverse peculiarity of the people.
O’ben-Etchi explained that the group was a sociopolitical organisation birthed to promote the economic and political interest of the Southern Senatorial District of Cross River State.
According to him, there have been talks about the governorship position in Cross River State starting from any of the three Senatorial Districts of the state.
He said: “The proponents of this say their logic is based on the fact that the three Senatorial Districts have had their turns at producing governors.
“This is in spite of the fact that it is clear to all that the Southern Senatorial District has the next turn of producing the governor going by the rotation principle earlier adopted by stakeholders in the state.
“Cross River over the years has enjoyed relative political stability and peaceful coexistence as a result of the equitable rotation of power between the Senatorial Districts of the state born of the zoning formula put in place by stakeholders who meant well for the state.
“This rotation of power in the Senatorial Districts has brought about even, equitable and sustainable development and has helped to avoid rancor, political tension and heating up of the system in the state.”
O’ben-Etchi explained that from the advent of the Fourth Republic, the two previous governors of Cross River State: Donald Duke and Senator Liyel Imoke, were products of zoning and the incumbent, Ben Ayade, was also a product of zoning.
He added: “It is for this reason that Governor Ayade has made it clear in several fora that he will maintain the zoning formula by returning power to the Southern Senatorial District come 2023.
“There is no doubt that the Southern Senatorial District has very qualified and capable persons ready to lead the state to greater heights come 2023 and are prepared to take this responsibility when the time comes.
“Those, who mean well for Cross River, cannot in all fairness, conceive of sabotaging the zoning arrangement which is already in place; as this will bring disunity and take away the peace and tranquility which we are known for and enjoy as a state.
“The cycle of power rotation must thus be maintained by staying with the zoning formula which has returned the governorship position to the Southern Senatorial District in 2023.”
O’ben-Etchi called on the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party to keep faith with the zoning formula in the state, adding that the party has been made strong and has kept its winning ways as a result of the power rotation/zoning which exists in the state.
“In addition, we strongly urge other serious political parties in the state to also zone their governorship ticket for 2023 to the Southern Senatorial District of Cross River for equity and fairness,” he said.