Chairman of the Cross River State caucus in the National Assembly, Senator representing the Cross River State Southern Senatorial District, and top stalwart of the People’s Democratic Party in Cross River State, Senator Gershom Bassey, has clarified the party’s position on the issue of zoning of electable positions.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, January 4, 2022, Senator Bassey said that the claim by the people of the Southern Senatorial District to the governorship was in order and that it was indeed the turn of the South to make a governorship claim.
Speaking directly to the assertion made in circulated videos on social media by former Cross River State Governor, Donald Duke who had earlier spoken on zoning, the Senator stated, “The Constitution of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) explicitly stipulates the Parties position on the principles of rotation and zoning in Party activities and political candidacy.”
Quoting Section 7(3)(C) of the PDP Constitution, he said, “The Party shall adhere to rotation and zoning policies in public elective offices in pursuance of the principle of equity, justice and fairness.”
Senator Bassey added, “Therefore, the significance and recognition of these principles by the PDP cannot be overemphasised. Moreover, the applicability of these principles in the Cross River State PDP Governorship candidacy selection process, are embedded in the Party’s Constitution.“
Stating that it was important to make a clarification on the issue as the incumbent senator representing the South, Bassey revealed that the people of the Southern Senatorial District had “solidly stood behind the power rotation principle.”
“After Donald Duke’s tenure in 2007, they wholeheartedly supported a candidate from the Central Senatorial District. They did this in my party, by not presenting any candidate from the South in that election. Furthermore, they voted massively for the PDP candidate from the Central Senatorial District. Of course, power shifted to Central and Liyel Imoke became our Governor.”
Senator Bassey added that in the following elections, “the people of the South stood solidly behind the North and the zoning principle that was applied in the PDP. The South did not present a candidate in 2015. They supported the North.”
“In my party specifically, the PDP, we expect that the Governorship will be zoned to the South in 2023,” he asserted.
The senator further revealed that “when my brother, Donald Duke, was not in the party, there was a caucus meeting which zoned this Governorship to the Northern Senatorial District, with the understanding that after the North, rotation would continue with the South.”
He said that “the vast majority of Cross Riverians agree with this rotation and agree that it is the turn of the South.”
Senator Bassey who has declared his intention to run for the governorship said that he was not depending on the zoning principle to run as he was very capable of contesting for the seat.
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