Godwin AJOM, Calabar
It was payback time for Senator Sandy Onor, then senator representing the Cross River Central Senatorial District on Sunday, as Yakurr people took to the streets in a carnival of some sort, as they announced their support for him for rehabilitating the place, of their paramount ruler and Obol Lopon of Ugep, Obol Ofem Ubana.
The excited royal father, with the support of his traditional rulers in council, as well as the youths, blessed Onor and openly declared his support for the senator’ s gubernatorial ambition. He described Onor as his son and conferred a chieftaincy title on him.
The traditional ruler said Yakurr people were happy with the senator for all the projects attracted to their land by the senator, including the rehabilitation of his palace.
He handed over a symbolic kolanut to him and spread some water on him as part of the traditional blessings from his throne. “This kola I’m giving you, I’m blessing you so that whatever you touch in your life will progress.
“Every aspect of your life that is dead will reawaken today. God will bless you. Anywhere you match your feet, blessings has come to that place.
“There will be no accident. You will finish all your going around, there will be no accident. Anywhere you speak, they will know somebody has spoken. I say this in the name of the father, and of the son, and of the Holy Spirit. Anywhere you go, God will bless you. God will protect you and your family. God will guide you. God will protect you. Go and fight for us, you have my support.”
At Ogoja, leaders, elders and critical stakeholders of the Northern Senatorial District from the PDP have already resolved that the fight for the governorship seat is open for everybody from the three senatorial districts.
A similar position was taken by stakeholders of the party from the central senatorial district. They all met and said zoning was alien to the state and would not be allowed.
In a communiqué issued in Ogoja, the party leaders and stakeholders said they were against zoning of the governorship seat.
“We make bold to state categorically that the position of the Northern Senatorial district is that zoning of the governorship has never been a formalized position in our politics. All that we have always had can best be described as an elimination process by succession. Indeed, we make bold to state that for the governorship, the ticket is open for all Senatorial districts. We therefore call on all party organs to put in place a transparent process of selecting party candidates for all elective offices especially the governorship.
“We congratulate and thank all the people of goodwill both in and out of the state who stood by us in support of our great son, the Distinguished Senator, Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe and pray to the Almighty God to grant them good tidings in all endeavours.
From the central senatorial district, the stakeholders said “we believe in the unity, progress and development of Cross River State based on justice, equity and fairness, hence we reaffirm that the sharing of electoral positions, especially the governorship of our dear state is not and has never been exclusive for a particular senatorial district or zone in any election.
“We affirm that our dear Senator Prof. Sandy Ojang Onor has performed creditably well due to his capacity and desire for service delivery. We are therefore wishing him to further explore the political coast for the development of the people and the state by contesting election as Governor of Cross River State.
“Concerned that the current inciting comments by a highly placed individuals over zoning could precipitate undue crisis; we reaffirm that the state is an all-embracing political entity that calls for an all-embracing political participation that does not exclude any zone or constituency as hitherto been. It is therefore critical that we allow the political field open to all aspirants for best political results.
“That we shall continue to implore all eligible aspirants to consult stakeholders and party faithful across the state and solicit for their support during and after the party primaries.
Meanwhile, Onor has urged all party members to ensure that the best aspirant is chosen as the party’s candidate, no matter where he comes from. He passed the same message in all parts of the state. Already, he has consulted party leaders from all the three senatorial districts, visiting all the 18 local governments.
“I believe in Cross River under the umbrella of justice and fairness. But we have seen a group of people today who are shouting ‘back to south,’ who are playing micro ethnic politics.
“We have told them, if you want to zone to the south, you in the south zone first, let us see that you have zoned, zone the senate seat to Akamkpa and Biase, stop hiding and thinking about yourself alone. It is not good for the politics of the state, it is not nice.
“If anyone should speak for ethnicity, I should be more qualified, am an Ejagham man, and we have never produced a governor, but we are not talking ethnicity here and nobody should bring ethnicity into our politics.
“This time, we should talk about competence. Vote for the person who can redeem Cross River. Cross River is dying. Vote for competence; that is what we need. And if you want to vote for competence, you cannot throw the original caterpillar away.
“Vote for competence and I will become an issue. My brother Dansuki and I are running the governorship. There should be no quarrel at all. Head or tail we win. Politics is a game, nobody should take his knife or his gun, play it with your head, we are all in the field selling ourselves across the senatorial zone. Let the people choose the best from amongst us to lead us,” he said.