As the Cross River governorship race for 2023 hots up, the people of Central Senatorial district have declared their total support on zoning the governorship ticket to Southern Senatorial district, thus endorsing Senator Gershom Bassey as their preferred candidate for governor in 2023.

Recall that Senator Sandy Onor from the Central Senatorial district had earlier entered the governorship race and jettisoned the state’s zoning arrangement at a press conference on January 3 in Calabar, where he said, “Zoning has never been practiced in our state since the advent of the current democratic experience in 1999. We cannot afford to sacrifice competence on the altar of zoning as we prepare to choose a candidate for the governorship or any other election.”

But the people of the Central district comprising, Ikom, Boki, Etung, Obubra, Abi, and Yakurr, in different carnival-like receptions during a governorship consultation held during Christmas and New Year visit by Senator Bassey recently, have said they stand by zoning in the interest of peace, equity and fairness as they are beneficiaries of zoning arrangement in the state.

They noted the arrangement had produced Senator Liyel Imoke as governor from 2007 t0 2015, and they are all out to support Bassey to win the governorship come 2023, considering his “tall achievements in the senate with 28 effective bills, constituency projects, and grants” to the people.

In Ikom, the paramount ruler in Ikom local government area, Ntol Peter Njul Eku, while receiving Bassey, asserted that they had taken a position to support the zoning of governorship to the southern senatorial district as they had previously unanimously met with the leaders of the central district and Governor Ben Ayade when he was still in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to decide the existing zoning of governorship to be returned to the south.

Former representative of Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Bassey Ewa, lauded the Ikom PDP family for the warm reception given to Bassey and his team, noting that he had been part of the past two administrations in the state, which did remarkably well with giant strides.

“I admonish you to support the #Back-to-South agenda and Senator Gershom Bassey for Governor”.

Also, a former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Mr Attah Ochinke, who is from Boki, acknowledged that Ikom people stood by the past two administrations which Senator Bassey was part of the planning and delivery of governance, and as well encouraged the #BacktoSouth Agenda.

Ochinke, who is the current Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Cross River State, as well as a founding member of the PDP, affirmed the existence of zoning arrangement in the PDP, ab initio, in the state.

Ochinke said, “Zoning has been a culture of the PDP which has kept Cross River in peace, fairness, and tranquillity, and the same zoning has benefited the people of Ikom, and so the people should support Senator Gershom Bassey for the delivery of optimum governance to Cross Riverians.”

Similarly, the member representing Ikom/Boki Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Chris Agibe, said PDP laid a successful democratic administration for Cross River State from 1999 to 2015 when a mistake of the present administration was made.

He prayed for Senator Bassey and wished him an answer to all his prayers as angels would be raised to solicit for his victory and all the local government areas of Cross River State would endorse and vote him as the Executive Governor of Cross River State, come 2023.

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