From Judex Okoro, Calabar
Ahead of 2023 general election, Cross River Southern Senatorial District Stakeholders Forum have insisted that it is their turn to produce the next governor after Ben Ayade’s administration.
The Forum, which cut across religious, ethnic and political lies, had in attendance some senior citizens, former governor, senators, House of Representatives, traditional rulers, politicians from both APC and PDP, the academia and serving political office holders from the zone.
The Forum in their inaugural meeting held at Trancorp Hotels at the weekend in Calabar and convened by Sen. Bassey Ewa Henshaw, former senator representing Souther Senatorial district, and Chief Ogban Ebock, said there is urgent need for them to meet regularly with a view to addressing serious and important issues affecting the zone.
The Forum after lengthy deliberations resolved that the zone must produce Governor Ben Ayade’s successor in 2023, insisting that “the existing zoning arrangement for the office of the governor of Cross River and all other political offices be maintained.”
It noted that since the advent of the Fourth Republic, a system of zoning of key political offices in Cross River State, particularly so, the office of the governor, has evolved and been established over time, adding that the “zoning system has produced in succession the last three governors from each of the senatorial districts in the state.”
It, therefore, called on stakeholders from Central and Northern senatorial districts to join hands with them to ensure that the above zoning arrangement continues uninterrupted for equality and equity in the state.
The Stakeholders Forum said it has become expedient for electorate to hold the elected political office holders accountable for their tenure in office, arguing that accountability encourages indifference, mediocrity and abuse of office.
On the state of security in the state, the Forum called on state and federal governments to quickly intervene to stop the rapidly deteriorations across the country in general and in the Southern senatorial district, in particular so as to restore safety of life and property
They, however, promised to make periodic suggestions proffering solutions to the state government on ways to address these security challenges.
On the ongoing industrialisation of the state, the Forum also resolved to create and institutionalise structures necessary to ensure that this platform incorporates the present and future energies of the zone and makes it survives for the benefit of generations yet unborn.