Cross River State like every other state in Nigeria is divided into three senatorial districts namely, the Southern, Central and Northern senatorial districts.
In APC, party positions have always been shared among the three senatorial districts.
The current zoning structure of the party in the state favors the central to produce the state chairman, while the south and the north have the secretary and deputy chairman respectively.
In 2014, because of the reality that other zones have produced Governors in 16 years, the APC narrowed it governorship ticket to the north which was yet to produce a Governor since the creation of the state.
The APC was the first party that set the zoning template contrary to what is peddled around today by some leaders that those agitating that the zoning should be maintained are using PDP template.
This is so because the APC conducted its governorship primaries weeks before the PDP. Therefore, the first party that zoned and had a governorship candidate from the north in the history of Cross River state is the APC not the PDP.
In all the party positions from national to ward, APC has insisted that the zoning arrangement that subsisted in the 2015 general elections should be maintained.
However, while it has been maintained in electing leaders of the party, the one for governorship candidate is under serious threat in Cross River because of the personal ambition of some people in the party.
It is now an open secret that there is serious conspiracy against the northern senatorial district by some APC leaders in the state.
This distraction and conspiracy will only lead to one thing; PDP retaining the state in 2019.
From all political calculations, the crisis generated by this conspiracy, the end product of this daylight treachery by people who hitherto preached equity and fairness is that Governor Ayade will have a smooth ride again to Diamond Hill come 2019.
It is shocking and surprising to see people who participated actively in the zoning of the governorship ticket of APC in 2014 to the north to now turnaround to say that they can’t follow PDP zoning or whatever.
The question is, why didn’t they raise this objection in 2014?
Assuming but not conceding that the zoning arrangement is a PDP template, were these people not aware of the so-called PDP template in 2014?
During the national convention of the APC, the leadership of the party stated expressly that the zoning system adopted in 2014 should be maintained.
That means that all the National Working Committee and National Executive Committee members of APC are products of zoning.
Here in Cross River, the leadership tussle in the party has been only within the power brokers in the central senatorial district where the chairmanship position was zoned to.
The apostles of no zoning and not using PDP zoning template have never argued that people from other senatorial districts other than central should be considered for the chairmanship position.
Why always the north?
Oh! is it because the north has just five local governments against six and seven of other senatorial districts?
During federal appointments, most of these very people worked, blackmailed and frustrated qualified party members from the north from getting reasonable appointments because they had ulterior motives.
They did this to ensure that nobody from the north has the resources to contest the governorship election.
But they have failed because all the aspirants from the north have even spent more than those who are distracting the party from other zones.
One thing is certain, the highest party official from the state, Ntufam Hilliard Eta, National Vice Chairman, South South is a product of zoning.
We are waiting patiently to see how he will pass the message of zoning to the national leadership of the party.
The National Vice Chairman is a man who believes in justice and equity.
The unending tussle in the party in the state where he has insisted that the right thing must be done against the background of evil plot by some leaders is a pointer to his commitment to equity.
It is on record that he has in different public fora, insisted that the zoning system in the party must be maintained.
We are trusting that he will be guided by his integrity to continue to preach that message even if he is a minority of one.
Most times, you don’t need a crowd to effect a change. You just need sincere and committed lieutenant(s).
We are hoping that he will continue to be that good egg among the many compromised eggs in preaching equity as it concerns zoning.
Besides, it is logically fallacious for anybody to assume that best brains or leaders are exclusively from central and south.
The north produced one of the best Senate Presidents in the history of this country in person of Senator Joseph Wayas, yet those who seem to be so committed to blackmail and campaign of calumny against the north don’t make reference to him when discussing the north.
The plot and the daylight robbery/ conspiracy theory against the north under any guise won’t give APC victory in Cross River State.
Like other zones have benefitted from the zoning system in electing party leaders, the north should also be allowed to enjoy its zoning if APC is ever ready to give PDP a serious challenge in the next election.
In Akwa Ibom, all leaders of the party swallowed their personal ambitions in the interest of the party by insisting on zoning the governorship ticket.
But here, people are more interested in their personal ambitions than taking steps that would help the party win election.
The north is not inferior to any senatorial district in Cross River State.
Northerners are not in APC to just complete numbers.
They are also there to build the party and benefit from the opportunities that abound afterwards.
Inyali Peter is a journalist and member of the All Progressives Congress.
NOTE:Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Inyali Peter, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.
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