By Kelvin Obambon
With calls for zoning of governorship position to Cross River South yet to be fully heeded, a group, the Coalition of Akamkpa/Biase Stakeholders (CABS), has demanded that Akamkpa/Biase FederaI Constituency be allow to produce the next governor of the state in the interest of fairness.
The group, which made the demand Thursday at a press conference in Calabar, said while it is in full support of the zoning of governorship to South, the position should further be micro-zoned to Akamkpa/Biase, arguing that over 80 per cent of natural resources and government revenue is derived from the federal constituency that is yet to produce a governor since the advent of democratic rule in 1999.
Citing section 6 (a) of the foremost Calabar-Ogoja Accord of 1980, CABS in a position paper signed by Chief Emmanuel Evong, Biase representative and Ntufam E. Itogim Anom, Akamkpa representative, noted that for “Governor, consideration will be as stipulated in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. A very special note has to be taken of the fact of the principle of rotation, where any community/senatorial district shall not produce a governor twice in succession. Where any senatorial district produces a Governor, in the first instance, it will fall on the other senatorial district to produce a Governor during the next run.”
The group added that, “Section 18 (i) of the Accord further maintains that as a necessary corollary of this agreement, the concept of Senatorial District equality and even development shall also be applied in the relation of the various clans/ethnic groups within each of the Senatorial Districts.”
Explaining the clauses of the Accord, CABS averred that “the group, community or part of the Southern Senatorial District that produced the Governor of Cross River State from 1999-2007, cannot in succession produced the next governor in 2023, when other ethnic groups within the zone have not produced a governor. In the spirit of the Accord, that is tantamount to marginalization, social exclusion, domination and injustice.
“On the strength of the above, the Coalition of Akamkpa/Biase Stakeholders hereby draw the attention of the government and people of Cross River State to the fact that the Akamkpa/Biase FederaI Constituency in the Southern Senatorial District, comprising 15 ethnic groups (11 in Biase LGA and 5 in Akamkpa LGA) have never produced a Governor, and are accordingly highly determined and committed to producing the next Governor of Cross River State in 2023.
“We have mature, highly qualified, experienced, God-fearing and dynamic politicians in the APC that are currently aspiring for the governorship position in the 2023 general elections. We accordingly and passionately call on all political stakeholders, elder statesmen, traditional rulers, religious leaders, public servants, and women and youths to eschew sentiments, and objectively support Akamkpa/Biase to produce the next governor of Cross River State in 2023.”