by crossriverwatch admin
by crossriverwatch admin
Dr. Mathias Oko Offorboche was a former Deputy Governor in the erstwhile Cross River State between 1979 and 1983 under Dr. Clement Isong. He recently convened a meeting of political stakeholders in the Northern Senatorial District of the state and he spoke to CrossRiverWatch in the light of the recent statement by the State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke that the governor of the state in 2015 will come from the northern part of the state.
Sir, you as the political leader of the northern senatorial district recently held a meeting of the northern consultative forum that brought together stakeholders and other leaders of the zone, what was the meeting about?
The meeting was convened to ensure a peaceful transition of power from the central to the northern senatorial district in 2015. Senator Liyel Imoke is a man of peace. Since his assumption of office in 2007, the state has been very peaceful so we want to support him to move power from one section to the other so that the peace which we have enjoyed in the past six years would continue in 2015.
Why the need for shift in power from Central to North?
The south has produced a governor for eight years and the central produced a governor for two tenures and we are now saying that for proper transition and fairness, the next, people to have it is the northern senatorial district. That is what we are doing. Everything we are doing is in preparation for a peaceful transition. Peaceful governance is the way forward because that is what brings development to any place. We are going to hold the meetings often with all our members so that everyone who is coming into the race will imbibe our doctrine for peaceful transition.
What was the response of the people?
You were not there you would have seen the reaction. When I asked the question “are we ready for governorship in 2015?, the answer was so loud that the walls and the glasses on the windows were shaking. That shows that we are united for the cause. If people fight over farmland or girl friend that is different but when it is what concerns everybody in the north, we are all speaking in one voice that the governorship should come to us in 2015.
Some people believe that the fragmentation and plethora of aspirants that would want to contest would create the kind of rancour that will eventually make someone from the South to take the governorship again; don’t you think that is a possibility?
I said during the meeting that in 1978 when the Presidency was zoned by the NPN to the northern part of Nigeria, eighteen people came out to contest for the post but only one person won and others came to work with him. That is the way it should be. That victory was not decided by only those from the north but by delegates from across the country. Why should we be different?
If only one person comes out to contest it means we are not qualified to produce a governor. It is a good thing that so many people from the north know in their mind that they are competent to rule the state. That is what we want. Whenever there is something going on and so many people believe in their hearts that they can do that thing it means the people are grown up. It is good for the senatorial district that so many people are coming out and from the many people we can now produce the best.
How do you plan to get this sir?
It is through elections. That is democracy. Consensus is one aspect of getting the best but by whatever means we arrive at the best, we shall adopt it peacefully. If we decide to open the floor and organize an open race so be it. Even then some people will drop by the way side as the race goes on while some will get to the finish point but only one person will win. When people run the 100 metres race, some will not finish, some will get the bronze, and some the silver while some gold and you cannot get the gold unless you cross the finish line first. Many people indicating interest for the post of governor is a good thing let nobody confuse you by saying that because many of our sons are indicating interest it is because we are not united or we will fight and tear it. We are united only that we have many competent people who want to hold that office.
Are you narrowing the search to one local government or section of the north or all the five local government areas?
We are looking at the entire north. The game is for the best. It does not matter where he comes from. We want the best out of the five local government areas and let them bring their best and one of them will become governor and the rest will work with him. My only interest is to work to produce a governor for the north. I am not contesting. When that is done the rest should join hands and work with him.
There are speculations that the statement by Senator Imoke in August 2012 that the next governor is going to come from the northern part of the state is a political statement and nothing more, how do you view this?
What do you mean by political statement? Those claims are by those who do not wish the state well and want to use such to stir bad blood in the state. Imoke told me to go and unite my people and he will help us get the post of governor in 2015 and I have no reason to doubt him because he has never lied to me before. I see so much of his father’s forthrightness in him. If he was not ready to transit power from the central to the north he did not need to make a political statement as they are claiming. I believe him because he is a just man. Look at the way he has spread development in the state. Does that show the quality of a man who will short change one section of the state to please the other?
Did you select those you invited to the meeting or was it an open invitation to every one?
I called everyone. The meeting was open to all the sons and daughters of the north. Anyone who is interested in the affairs of the north would willingly identify with the cause of his people and a lot of them came. From Abuja, Calabar, Lagos and everywhere. I was pleased with the response.
What is the schedule of the meeting now, is it going to be quarterly or monthly?
No no. We hold the meeting whenever the need arises. It has no regular schedule like the Executive Council meeting. Whenever we feel the need to have a meeting we will do that but certainly it will be frequent as events unfold.
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