Monday, 7 March 2022

C'River Zoning Politics: Pro South Group Slams Owan, Agara, Usani, Others Supports Ayade's Back-to-South Moves

In what looks like an aftermath of the recent meeting of All Progressives  Congress stakeholders from Central Senatorial District of Cross River, a pro South group known as Cross River Southern Senatorial District Assembly have sent a strong worded message to politicians trying to scuttle the already existing zoning system in the State.

In a statement signed by the group's chief of party, Mr. John Offiong of the sociopolitical group given to the political, economical and social development of the district, the group have called on naysayers of zoning to drop their ambition calling it a selfish dead on arrival ambition.

The statement called on political parties to endeavour to file in gubernatorial candidates from the South or risk lossless the forthcoming elections as Cross Riverians will reject any form of imposition that doesn't correspond with the existing zoning fomular. It also reminded advocates of nonezoning to take a clue from the just concluded By-elections held in Akpabuyo, Ogoja, and Yala Local Government Areas, stating that the elections clearly shows that it is not yet hururu for any of the two major political parties in the state as none can boast of holding a firm grip on the state.

The statement also said the group will back governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State to fulfill his mandate of handing over to a southern successor.

The statement breads in Full: 

C'River 2023 and Permutations of Central Senatorial District: The South is not Sleeping

We have listened, watched and read with keen interest the selfish demands of some persons purporting to be representatives and political stakeholders from the Central Senatorial District of Cross River State. 

Truth be told, this did not in any way come to us as a surprise as we are not moved by the so called communiqué they issued at the end of their dead-on-arrival and selfishly motivated meeting in Ikom Local Government Area led by a few APC leaders who could not in their period of opposition, show any level of capacity even in their own domains against governor Ayade in the 2019 general elections. 

As a Pro South Sociopolitical group whose core interest is in the political, economical and social development of Southern Senatorial District of Cross River State, we will not keep quiet and watch as disenchanted politicians whose season of relevance have been spent try to steal into the season of the next generation for the mere sake of wanting to satisfy their lust for power and control of the people's common wealth while perpetually keeping the people under severe poverty.

The only reason we deem it necessary to put up this article in response to their weak argument of the South not being ready to take over leadership come 2023 and that the central is the most competitive Senatorial District is because when lies peddle with so much confidence, it is allowed to stay, it is accepted as truth especially by unsuspecting members of the public. 

We have said it timelessly that we will not negotiate our stand and position for the gubernatorial seat of this state in 2023 and thus, we won't allow little lies peddled by chicken minded politicians to take over the hearts of the people.

For the avoidance of doubt, the recently held By-elections conducted in the three Local Government Areas of Ogoja, Yala and Akpabuyo should serve as a warning to political parties planning to scuttle the already existing zoning system in the state. 
It clearly shows that none of the political parties have dominated the state so therefore, filing an unpopular candidate from an undeserving Senatorial District will be to the detriment of any political party that attempts it, as zoning is now entrenched in the fibers, tissues and bone marrow of Cross Riverians thus they will grossly resist it by all means. No political party should think they can scuttle the rotational politics we enjoy today and win elections the 2023 gubernatorial election.

We are aware that most of the sponsors of the APC stakeholders meeting held in Ikom over the weekend have gubernatorial ambitions which they think can't wait till 2031 after the South must have completed its 8 years term. Because of this selfish interest, they are selling cooked stories fabricated from the pieces that fell out of the Ogoja/Yala, Akpabuyo by-election. This is an old strategy that is already dead on arrival.

Let it be known that as we approach 2023 General elections, the South still remains the most competitive Senatorial District in Cross River state. Figures can not lie, as of last count, the total voting strength of Cross River state was about 1.5million registered voters, out of which Cross River North had 429,584 (28.1%) and 493,026 (32.3%)  allocated to Central Cross River while the South got 602,079 (39.4 %). It is also on record that less than 50% of these figures came out to vote across the state in the last gubernatorial election. Cross River State has always recorded voters apathy so instead of parading one's self as the most competitive Senatorial District, I think we need to all go back to the drawing board and do our homework. Let every political party, Senatorial District, galvanise and mobilise their people to go register and encourage them to vote on election days.

As it stands no party owns Cross River State, not even APC that has the sitting governor, therefore APC should not think they can short-change the South and win the next gubernatorial election. Not even PDP who do not have the Power of incumbency can think of doing that.

We want to state it here clearly that as members of Cross River State Southern Senatorial District Assembly, we are solidly behind governor Ben Ayade's proclamation of "Back to the South", as he has always said power will return to the South. We are ready to support him to achieve this. Therefore, any group of persons who couldn't even win their polling units and constituencies in the last general election who are contemplating approaching the governor to change his mind on this matter will be strongly opposed by young people from the South and the entire state.

Long live Cross River Southern Senatorial District Assembly!!!
Long live Southern Cross River State!!! 
Long live Cross River State!!! 

John Offiong 
Chief of Party.

Recall that last Saturday, the trio of Sen. John Owan Enoh, Barr. Chris Agara and Pastor Usani Usani had sponsored a stakeholders meeting in Ikom where they said informed pressmen that they were not in support of the governor's stands to handover power to the South. Their argument was deduced from the fact the South could not muscle enough votes to win the recent By-election in Akpabuyo, stating that it was a sign that the South isn't prepared to lead the state come 2023. 

In a nine point communiqué released at the end of the meeting, the group informed that the Central Senatorial District remains the most competitive senatorial district within the politics of APC in Cross River State therefore, managing it to reap the maximum benefit of this quality must be guided jealously and that the forum agreed to lead a delegation to the Governor and leader of the party to state the position of the zone.

The communiqué reads in full:


1. That the forum resolved to pledge its support for President Mohammadu Buhari (GCFR)'s Government and commend the giant strides recorded in all the sectors of the nation's economy.

2. The forum appreciated His Excellency Ben. Ayade for his defection into the party and the Value it has brought while also acknowledging his leadership of the State.

3. The forum congratulated the state chairman of the APC, Barr. Alphonsus Ogar and members of the state executive committee of the APC for their emergence and recent inauguration. It calls on the party leadership to please lead with fairness and inclusiveness for all party men and women irrespective of Senatorial District. 

4. The Central Senatorial District remains the most competitive senatorial district within the politics of APC in Cross River State therefore, managing it to reap the maximum benefit of this quality must be guided jealously.

5. The forum calls for the opening up of the political space in the party at the state level for the overall interest of the party in order to provide for the credible emergence of candidates that will be generally acceptable to the people. Therefore, the emphasis should be on a winning strategy for the party and not a zoning strategy. 

6. The forum notes that the Central Senatorial District is the only zone in the state that has not witnessed any wave of defections out of it since the governor's entry into the APC unlike the Southern and Northern Senatorial districts. This is largely as a result of the quality of political leadership and followership as well as the strength of the party in the District, therefore the leadership of the party is called upon to do everything to support the zone.

7. The experience coming out of the recent bye-elections that took place in Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency and Akpabuyo State constituency with PDP winning the two local governments of Akpabuyo and Ogoja and the APC winning one, Yala, should not be taken for granted as what this suggests going forward into the party primaries and the 2023 general elections is that the party must spare nothing to be competitive in the choice of its candidates for every elective office.

8. The Governor of Cross River State and leader of our party, Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade has the greatest stake in retaining Cross River State as an APC state come 2023; together with Governor, the Central Senatorial District as the most competitive senatorial district with leaders that have made the greatest sacrifices for the survival of the party since its inception, the senatorial district has the responsibility to ensure that the party comes out victorious in the fourth coming elections.

9. The forum agreed to lead a delegation to the Governor and leader of the party to state the position of the zone.