January 21, 2022

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C’River Guber And The Politics Of Zoning

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By Dr John Eni  Egbe

Months, weeks and days are ticking towards the 2023 general elections, and so are politicians and their supporters making permutations, and advancing arguments that would enable them achieve their political ambitions.

In Cross River State, the permutations and arguments in the public space centres around the zoning of the office of Governor in 2023.

Some politicians, across party lines, mainly from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, from the three senatorial zones have spoken for, and against zoning of the office of governor in 2023.

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Majority of those from the South have argued vehemently that there is zoning arrangement, and their senatorial district is naturally favoured to produce the next governor of the state.

Also, some politicians from the central and northern senatorial districts have spoken in support of zoning, but their slant is that zoning should start afresh with any senatorial district that would produce the state governor in 2023.

In another breathe opponents of zoning have argued that the contest for the office of governor should be open to all the senatorial districts because since 1999 to date, the three zones have produced the chief executive of the state.

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As much as the three line of arguments stated above appeal to the sentiments of their proponents and canvassers, what is enchantingly lacking is the sincerity of their purposes for Cross River State.

Rather, what stands out conspicuously is the brazen hypocrisy with which  they have espoused their self-serving positions on the issue of zoning.

The “We” a few privileged members of the political class are talking about is for their personal interest certainly, and not for the generality of the people of the zone they come from, let alone the state.

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It is often stated that those who go to equity must go with clean hands. Are most of the politicians from the south who are calling for zoning of the governorship to the south going into equity with clean hands? If they are honest about their demand,  why are they not coming out clean from the outset to say categorically  that Akamkpa/Biase Federal Constituency or the non-Efik in the seven local government areas of the zone should produce the governor since an Efik man,, first from Akpabuyo  was governor from May 1999-May to 2007?

One of them a PDP member from the south rightly argued that in the party, zoning in the circle of a general election  usually holistic and not limited to the office of governor alone, hence zoning of offices trickles down  from party positions to elective office positions.

Can canvassers of zoning from the southern senatorial district explain the manner of zoning that has continuously produced one man as a federal lawmaker since 2003?

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Despite the provision for zoning and rotation of elective offices, why is it that the senators representing the south since 1999 to date have been Efik. Why have the promoters of zoning in this area not argued that in 2023 the senator from south should come from Ejagam, Efut, and other ethnic groups that are not Efik speaking?

Where lies the equity and honesty of purpose from this handful of people that shout zoning from the roof tops.

In order to conserve time and space, the questions and issues raised about zoning in the south also applies to those from the central and north shouting and making a hell of unnecessary and selfish noises about zoning of the office of governor in 2023.

Have these self-centered politicians from the central and north addressed the issues of zoning from their wards to senatorial levels before coming to the state level to talk about zoning?

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Are those who are arguing that there should be no zoning of the office of governor also saying there shouldn’t be zoning on positions in their local and national constituencies ahead of the 2023 elections?

After all, all the senatorial zones have produced governor from 1999 to date, yet the state is still grappling with serious challenges that would require a gifted and selfless leader to work with other patriotic people to address.

In all the public positions and comments from the proponents and opponents of zoning none of them who is desirous of becoming governor in 2023 has mentioned a blueprint or master plan of how he or she intends to lead Cross River State to economic prosperity and sustainable development.

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It is therefore necessary for the political class across the major political parties, PDP and the APC to look inwards or at best make painstaking search for a man or woman from Cross River South, precisely from Akamkpa/Biase that is adjudged to possess the necessary training, skills, and knowledge required of a person in position of governor to lead the state.

Enough is enough of the hypocrisy about zoning.


* Ebe, President of the Cross River Solidarity Front, wrote this from Abuja

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