For the sake of equity, justice and fairness, Akwa Ibom must uphold zoning in deciding which part of the state the next governor comes from
Several and mixed reactions have trailed the onset of preparations for the take-over of the mantle of leadership from the present Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio. Stakeholders and different groups have emerged with their views and opinions on the available options to determine who succeeds Akpabio at the Hilltop Mansion, come 2015.
One of such major stakeholders is our group- the Ibom Progressives and Equity Advancement Association, a civil group of indigenes clamouring for a shift of power to Eket Senatorial district, one of the three in the state.
We strongly hold the view that in the interest of peace and good neighbourliness, Eket Senatorial District should be universally supported to produce the next Governor since the two other Uyo and Ikot Ekpene had, at different periods, took their turns at the Hilltop mansion. This is because the brotherly love and harmony that had been the basis of coexistence between the Senatorial districts in the State would be further enhanced if Eket was allowed to take its overdue turn at the Hilltop Mansion.
I want to make reference to a certain publication which dwelt on the issue of zoning as well as its unprejudiced interest in peace and harmony of the state. We the Ibom Progressives and Equity Advancement Association have deemed it right to declare our stance on the recent developments concerning the succession of our dear beloved brother and Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, come 2015.
First and foremost, we refer to the position of the Honourable Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. Rt (Hon) Sam Ikon on his reiteration of competence as a sole determinant of the succession process without reference to zoning. We do not perceive any flick for reasoning in the direction of his submission, especially regarding that there is sensibility in applying the competence theory after an initial application and institution of the zoning factor in the circumstance and as the practice had been in the past.
We also want to allude to the position of the Secretary to State Government, Mr. Umana Okon Umana, who noted that the contest field should be open to candidates without reference to zoning. This, the group said by its clear understanding, is a constitutional right of every citizen to aspire to his/her desired position in the land.
But in the prevailing circumstances, it is believed that a good leader should have certain qualities that are worthy of emulation, the chief of which is fairness, especially taking into cognizance the political situation precedent in 2007 and the three senatorial districts, for determining where leaders had been produced since 1999.
We reckon that a worthy leader should also be sensitive to the yearnings of his people and not be of a self-grandiose standing. This is why we are confident that prior to the emergence of the party’s candidate for the coming 2015 elections, a referendum, if conducted, would indicate a landslide victory by the proponents of zoning; it noted that such would definitely be a strong reference point for what should be expected in the final elections. Besides, it stressed the importance of Oron as a major financial power house of the state.
For the records, Oron in Eket Senatorial District produces and houses a very large reserve of oil and gas and documented and available statistics have shown that Oron is rich in natural resources, possessing one of the highest natural gas deposits in sub-Saharan Africa. By this position of Eket Senatorial District in Akwa Ibom State’s wealth accumulation, would it be justifiable for our land to be the goose that lays the golden eggs while other areas continue to enjoy rulership?
It is imperative to make it clear that Oron prides herself as an ethnic group in Akwa Ibom State that parades the finest and most competent brains that are ready to pilot the affairs of the state, come 2015.
It is incumbent on all Akwa Ibom sons and daughters in Nigeria and the Diaspora, to rise up in favour of the God given land to ensure equity and fairness and even distribution of opportunities.
Above all, we must recognise our dearly beloved ‘digital’ Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, for his landslide achievements in the state and we trust in his abilities, based on his past records as a visionary, competent and reliable leader with a deep sense of judgment that had always guaranteed unending peace and progress in the state.
-Isong is the coordinator, Ibom Progressives and Equity Advancement Association