BY: Vitalis Ugoh, Calabar
Delegates from Ejagham Federation comprising of all Ejagham groups in eight out of the 18 local government areas of Cross River State, have consented to Back To South power shift agitation in the state.
Their total and overwhelming support came on the heels of “the ethnic argument in this year’s general elections in the state by the People’s Democratic Party PDP gubernatorial candidate, Prof. Sandy Onor recently.
Addressing newsmen in Calabar, the spokesman and convener, Ntufam Hillard Etagbor Etta, in a 21-point communique said “that all the ethnic groups in Cross River State have before now witnessed peaceful and harmonious co-existence before, during and after every electioneering cycle.”
The communique said “such harmony has come about through unwritten but widely consensual agreements on a three zone structure of the state, that thus tradition of peace and togetherness, which has over time characterized our state, can never be compromised for anything, economic or political”.
It further stated that “following the principle of rotation of the position of the state governor, and taking into consideration the completion of the first cycle of rotation in Which all three zones have produced a governor each, Duke, Imoke and Ayade from (1999-2023). Therefore, it is only just, fair and proper to give the South an unchallenged opportunity to produce the next governor of the state”.
The communique condenmed the ferocity and tenacity with which the Ejagham ethnic argument is being pursued in the 2023 gubernatorial elections, if left unchecked, is capable of presenting the peaceful and friendly dispositions of the Ejagham people in ways undeserving of us by other ethnic groups”.
It said that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) which today champions the Ejagham ethnic argument had the easiest chance of presenting an Ejagham candidate for the party in the person of Rt. Hon Daniel Asuquo (Dansuki).
The communique further stated ” following the inordinate display of selfish interest and the aggressive pursuit of it, the Ejagham people are not prepared to eat the sour grapes of Sen. Sandy Onor’s governorship ambition today only to set our children’s teeth on edge tomorrow”, that the 2023 governorship election is not the last opportunity Ejagham people have to vie for the position of governor, and with our presence in the Central and North as well, a clear opportunity will certainly present itself in the not too distant future “.
It went to state “that the Ejagham Federation fully supports the principle of zoning and the rotation of positions at all levels, as well as the Back To South movement in the election of a candidate for governor, which is an expression of it”.
“It is unreasonable and ultimately self destructive for Ejagham people to go against the tide and lose out in the distribution of democratic dividends in the coming dispensation, we support totally the legitimate back to South clamour by governor Ben Ayade as well as the generality of Cross Riverians and the candidacy of Ntufam Sen. Prince Bassey Otu for election as governor of Cross River State “.
It called on all Ejagham sons and daughters should purge themselves of the sentiments of injustice in our desire to produce a governor in the state, as no ethnic group is capable of that. Rather, urge them to begin by building viable bridges across the length and breadth of Ejagham Federation, awaken consciousness and enter genuine negotiations with other ethnic groups, as a way of life rather than invoking Ejagham sentiments on the eve of every gubernatorial election “.