A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River, Mr. Sam Bassey, and some community leaders in Biase Local Government Area of the State have pledged support for the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sen. Sandy Onor.
They made the declaration at a stakeholders’ meeting on Sunday at Biase, near Calabar.
Mr. Bassey said he and his followers decided to work for the success of Sen. Onor, while still in the APC.
He said their action does not in any way amount to anti-party activity, but that it is rather meant to correct the “injustice meted out to their constituency”.
“The zoning structure adopted by the State chapter of the APC in their primary elections is in itself anti-Akamkpa/Biase Federal Constituency, where we all hail from,” he stated.
Mr. Bassey, a member of the APC legacy group, said the time has come for the political class and political parties to demonstrate equity, fairness, and justice in sharing political offices.
The APC chieftain pointed out that using zoning or rotation to deny or marginalize other minority segments of the State is against the spirit of brotherhood.
He lashed out at the proponents of back-to-south zoning arrangement, saying that the agitators of such rotation were mostly those who want to continually dominate the other sections that make up a zone.
He stressed that every senatorial zone has credible people and resources to lead the State, and regretted that both the APC governorship and senatorial candidates are from Efik and one local government area.
He said the zoning arrangement has excluded Akamkpa and Biase local government areas, and that it was an “attempt to perpetually marginalize the minorities in the south”.
“I am vehemently opposed to this kind of arrangement where some people will remain underdogs and cannot occupy certain positions.
“Against this background, I, some community leaders, and hundreds of our followers in the Akamkpa/Biase federal constituency have endorsed and adopted the PDP governorship candidate, Prof. Sandy Onor, ahead of 2023 polls.
“I believe that Sen. Onor can help us, as we have discussed. He is very approachable and has a listening ear. We would try our best to mobilize for the election,” he stated.
On whether his support and campaign for the PDP candidate does not amount to anti-party activity, he said: “I am still in the APC and a legacy member of the party.
“I have not defected, but the truth is that I am supporting the PDP because that is where the happiness of my people comes from. Besides, if my people are not happy with politics, I cannot even call myself a politician.”
He advised all the candidates and parties to play by the rules rather than engage in politics of propaganda and sentiments.
Also speaking on behalf of some community leaders, Mr. Emmanuel Ogban, said, “Some of us have already made up our minds and are mobilizing our people to work for the PDP governorship candidate to fight marginalization in the south. We have been neglected.
“This 2023 election is not about party affairs, it is about capacity and credibility as well as who can deliver and redeem us from sufferings and economic doldrums,” he said.