Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) elders in the Southern Senatorial District of Cross River State, including senior lawyers and academics, have insisted that the rotation and zoning formulae of the party must be respected as it is their turn to produce the next governor.
They said this when they endorsed the aspiration of Senator Gershom Bassey for the 2023 governorship race in the state today.
They took time to trace the history of zoning and democracy in the state and maintained that the palpable tension existing within the state political atmosphere was needless since history supports their insistence.
Two Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), Mba Ukweni and Nella Ewa, as well as Prof. Offiong Ani Offiong of the University of Calabar (UNICAL), were amongst the 22 leaders and stakeholders that signed the document calling for respect for the zoning arrangement in the state.
They recalled that in 2015 when Gov Liyel Imoke from the Central finished his eight-year tenure, out of respect for the zoning arrangement, they dissuaded politicians from the south, including Bassey, to support Ben Ayade’s candidacy from the north, and they heeded.
“Having witnessed this tradition persist, it has gone beyond mere politics, to a phenomenal entrenchment of power rotation within the political ecosystem of Cross River State.
“Therefore, for equity, justice and fairness, it is expedient that the governorship seat is returned to the south. After due consultation with majority of Cross River State Southern elders, and candidature of Senator Gershom Bassey, whose withdrawal from the governorship race in 2015 and acceptance of a northern candidate gave credence to zoning, is hereby endorsed,” they said.