C’River North Elders Demand Second Term for Ayade

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Bassey Inyang in Calabar

As the countdown to the 2019 general election continues, some political leaders in the state operating on the platform of Cross River Northern Consultative Elders Forum (CRNCEF) have thrown their weight behind the second term bid of the Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade.

They are founding their call on the argument that the zoning of the governorship position should not be jettisoned, insisting that Ayade who is from the northern senatorial district should be allowed by the people of other senatorial district to have a second term in office.

The forum comprises senior citizens from the senatorial district, among them Geneneral Anthony Ukpo (rtd), who is chairman of the forum; Chief Linus Okom, Joseph Ugbe, Dave Ashang and Mike Aniah, all former Secretaries to the state government; Chief Joseph Ugbe, Dr. Peter Ojie, former council chairmen and other statesmen from Ogoja, Obudu, Obanliku, Bekwarra and Yala local government areas that make up the senatorial district.

Rising from a meeting they held in Ogoja, about 400 kilometres from Calabar, the state capital, the political leaders, in an eight-point communiqué signed some of the participants, and made available to journalists Wednesday read in part: “That, the forum acknowledges the efforts of the present administration and the constitutional right or prerogative of the incumbent governor to offer himself for re-election.

“The forum noticed the buildup of political activities in the country, and particularly in the state towards the 2019 general election, and that these political activities are , indeed, testimonial to the confidence they have all developed in the democratic process in Nigeria and our believe in the rule of law.
“The forum shares the hope of every Cross Riverian and Nigerians in general in the development of the society under an atmosphere of peace, fairness, equity, mutual respect and justice.

“The forum acknowledges the mutual understanding shown in cross River State by all political parties at the last general election in 2015 where all the political parties zoned the gubernatorial tickets of their respective parties to the northern senatorial district for the purpose of fairness and equity.

“Accordingly, the forum believes strongly that that all political parties in the state should maintain similar mutual understanding in the 2019 general election by retaining the zoning of governorship to the northern senatorial district of the state as well as picking their candidates for that office from the zone . This gesture will allow the northern senatorial zone to retain the governorship slot for another term of four years to be at par with the other senatorial zones which each held the governorship for eight years. This is in compliance with the mutual show of fair play, and political maturity for which our state has become an outstanding example.

“Consequent on the foregoing understanding the forum, unequivocally undertakes that, after the next four years following the 2019 general election, the governorship of the state will commence with a new rotation.
“In view of this arrangement the governorship candidates from the north will subscribe to this understanding knowing that whoever wins the governorship office will only exercise a further four year mandate and no more, notwithstanding the constitutional term limits or provisions and party position.”

Shortly after the meeting, Ukpo told journalists that their position was in line with the zoning policy which has been in place which the south and central zones have benefitted from as their sons, former Govs Donald Duke (1999-2003) and Liyel Imoke (2003-2015) respectively served two terms. “We acknowledge the mutual understanding shown by all political parties in 2015 election in which all the political parties zoned the gubernatorial tickets to the northern senatorial district for the purpose of fairness and equity.

“And in the spirit of brotherhood, we also appeal that all political parties in the state should maintain similar mutual understanding in the 2019 general election by retaining the zoning of governorship to the northern senatorial district of the state as well as picking their candidates for that office from the zone.
“This gesture, will allow the northern senatorial zone to retain the governorship slot for another term of four years to be at par with the other senatorial zones which each held the governorship for eight year.

“It is our hope that after the next four years following the 2019 general election, the governorship of the state will commence with a new rotation, enjoining other governorship candidates from the north to subscribe to their position,” Ukpo said.