Cross River APC central stakeholders reject Ayade’s zoning governorship to south

From Judex Okoro, Calabar

The Cross River State All Progressives Congress (APC) stakeholders forum in the central senatorial district have kicked against Governor Ben Ayade’s pronouncement that the southern zone would produce the governor in 2023.

Governor Ayade, shortly after defecting to APC in 2021, had consistently stated that his successor would come from the southern senatorial district, adding that it would unjust and against the age-long tradition of zoning among the three senatorial districts not to allow the south to take over power from him in 2023.

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This has caused a number of former PDP politicians from the south to defect along with him hoping that they would be given the opportunity to take over in 2023.

But the APC stalwarts in the central senatorial district seem to be distancing themselves from the Governor’s arrangement as they have called for the opening of the political space in the state for the overall interest of the party and to provide for a credible emergence of candidates with regard to governorship rather than emphasising on zoning as a winning strategy.

In a meeting convened by the trio of Senator John Owan-Enoh, Barr Chris Agara (a close friend of Governor Ayade) and Dr Usani Usani, former minister of Niger Delta Affairs, and held at Ikom on Saturday, the forum said called on the party leadership to ‘lead with fairness and inclusiveness for all party men and women irrespective of the senatorial district.’

The stakeholders noted that the central senatorial district remains the most competitive senatorial district within the politics of APC in the state and therefore managing it to reap the maximum benefit of this quality must be guided jealously.

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They pointed out that the central senatorial district is the only zone in the state that has not witnessed any wave of defections since Ayade’s governor’s entry into the APC unlike the southern and northern senatorial districts, further calling on the leadership of the party to do everything possible to support the zone.

Speaking at the meeting, Sen John Owan Enoh said the central district offers the best chance for the APC to win next year’s governorship election, frowning at a situation where the APC state exco takes decisions without recourse to the stakeholders of the party as attempts to de-market the stakeholders will affect the fortune of the party in the election.

Enoh said the candidate who is competitive enough to win the election should be given the party’s ticket regardless of the zone he or she comes from.

On his part, Barr Agara said his attendance at the meeting does not mean that he is against the governor who is his close friend, adding that as a friend of the governor, he advises him when necessary.

Dr Usani Usani, in his speech, said the governor has the right to his opinion, adding that his (governor) pronouncement does not mean that they all agree with him.

Daily Sun has gathered that the trio who convened the meeting harbour ambitions to be governor.

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