Cross River state Commissioner for Rural Transformation, Edem Okokon Efiom, has told leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Central senatorial district that zoning the governorship to the South is not negotiable.
Some APC chieftains from the Central, led by the immediate past Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Usani, had earlier converged on Ikom, Central Cross River, to oppose zoning the governorship to the South, saying the position should be thrown open.
Also present in the said meeting were the immediate past senator representing the zone, John Owan Enoh, foremost business mogul, Chief Chris Agara and many others. The position of Pastor Usani’s group came weeks after Governor Ben Ayade said he would readily support agitation for the governorship to move to the South in the spirit of fairness and equity.
But Efiom, during a chat with reporters, weekend, described the anti-zoning chieftains as ‘political revisionists,’ saying “ I say so because if they are true men of vision, if they have not lost sense of history, they would have reminded themselves of what happened in 1999.
“As quiet and as docile as the South may look, it does not mean that it cannot bite. Demographically, the South has seven local governments out of 18 and controls over 45 percent of the population of this state.
“In terms of total voter registration, the seven local government areas of the South also control more than 45 percent of the registered voters. If the South is pushed to the wall, this number would be unleashed in collaboration with the northern senatorial district. I use this medium to appeal to our brothers in the Central never to dare the South.”
Asked to comment on pockets of personalities from the South who have already pitched their tents with candidates from Central, the commissioner said, “woe betides any man who shall attempt to sell his people for peanuts. The ancestors of the land would show such people where they rightly belong.”
On whether Governor Ayade would not renege on his promise of ensuring power returns to the southern senatorial zone, Efiom said the governor remained a man of his word and would not change his mind. He alleged that many supporters of both Pastor Usani and Sen Owan Enoh contributed to the failure of the party to defeat the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the just concluded Akpabuyo state constituency by-election.
“Their supporters worked against APC interests. I say a greater portion of their supporters refused to work for the party because their leaders have no grip over them,” he stated.