By Jude Okwe
At an enlarged caucus meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River State Monday, the party decided to zone the office of the governor of the state come 2015 to the Northern senatorial district.
With the decision, which is aimed at guaranteeing equity in power distribution in the state, the coast is now clear for Cross River North senatorial district to produce a successor to Governor Liyel Imoke in 2015 (from the ruling PDP) even as it has doused the tension generated by agitators of the Calabar-Ogoja Accord.
Besides, the zoning also ended the subtle tug-of-war between the Southern and Northern senatorial districts on who becomes Imoke’s successor, given Mr. Gershom Bassey, ambition in 2015.
The state secretary of the PDP, Mr. Godwin Etta, told THISDAY at the end of the meeting that everything went well as there was no dissenting voice on the decision to let the North take its turn at the governance of the state.
A former governor of the state, Mr. Donald Duke, was from the South, while the incumbent hails from the Central senatorial district.
Apart from Senator Bassey Edet Otu (Cross River, South), all other members of the National Assembly were present.
Imoke, Bassey, members of the state House of Assembly were also present at the meeting.
It was gathered that the meeting, which was presided over by Imoke commenced Sunday evening but ended in the wee hours of Monday.
Some prominent PDP members, who attended the meeting include the Deputy Governor of the state, Mr. Efiok Cobham; Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba; Speaker of the Assembly, Hon. Larry Odey; his deputy, Hon. Itaya Nyong Asuquo; Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke and a former Deputy Governor of the state, Dr. Walter Eneji.
Others were Hon. John Owan-Enoh, Hon. Essien Ayi, Hon. Bassey Ewa, Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw, Mr. Bolaji Anani, Alex Egbuna, Paul Adah, Ekpo Okon, Chief Bassey Eyo Ndem, Fidel Egoro; former Minister of Environment, Mr. John Odey; Mr. Dave Ashan, Ntufam Fidelis Ugbo; Chief Linus Okom, Brig-Gen Peter Asam Mbu Ogar (rtd) among others.
Though the meeting had some other items on the agenda, according to the secretary, the most important aspect was the zoning of the governorship position.
A motion to formally zone the position of governor was moved by a member of the House of Representatives for Ikom/Boki Federal Constituency, Hon. Chris Ettah and was seconded by Asuquo.
But before the motion was seconded and formally adopted, a member of the House of Representatives representing Calabar/Odukpani Federal Constituency, Hon. Nkoyo Toyo, sought for an amendment to it to include a proviso that upon the north taking its eight years turn at Government House, the position would revert to the south to begin another round of rotation.
This amendment, she explained, was to allay the fears of the South and also guarantee equity, justice and fairness in accession to the number one office among the three senatorial districts of the state. It was so provided in the amendment and the motion was adopted unanimously.
Currently, there is an underground network of consultations sponsored by those said to be interested in the office. Their foot soldiers are working for them by reaching out to those that matter in the politics of the state.
The opposition political parties led by the All Progressives Congress (APC) are likely to zone the office too to the North as that is the only senatorial district in the state yet to produce a governor.
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