1. The discourse on zoning in our body-politic is natural. We recognise that we are a rainbow society with beautiful colours of ideas, competences and visions dotting the landscape.
2. The responses to zoning are not to conjure any negativism. They constitute wholesome reminders to our nature as a people given to justice, equity and fairness as the bedrock of our corporate existence.
3. We are all Cross Riverians, from the farmer at Utugwang hill to the fisherman in Adiabo creek: we are our brothers’ keeper, a loving kindred and a godly heritage.
4. Our shared problems of inadequate development, scanty resources and deficit supplies are felt by all. Our collective desire to build a strong and virile state that guarantees happiness is a burden borne by all.
5. I join in this discourse on the rotation of political power especially that of governor from the above viewpoints and in pointed salutation to my brother and friend His Excellency Senator Professor Ben Ayade whose height of magnanimity and depth of empathy have already placed him as the forerunner in sustaining this decade old template.
6. When the train took-off in 1999, the agreement was to start from the Southern District. The Central and the North bore the weight of waiting for their respective turns while lending the necessary support to the governance structure then.
7. The Central waited for 8 years while the North had to wait for 16 years, pretty long time one would say. But they went through it with joy and understanding that 16 years is not eternity.
8. Once the Central took over, the South went into their own 16 years incubation, coming to a close in 2023. There is no gain-jerking the fact that the South is almost bursting at the seams with ideas to consolidate on Gov. Ayade’s achievements, and go ahead to put on ground strategically thought out architecture to move the state to a higher pedestal of development.
9. The highest value of sustaining the zoning pendulum is the entrenchment of peace and harmony as the grounds for progressive coexistence which is human’s highest aspiration: to live in peace with him/herself and with his Creator/Nature.
11. A philosopher once said if a social formula is working, why change it?
12. The baseline in our Constitution is the character of federating all constituent units where everyone is sure that no one unit will deploy tact, population, opportunity or coercion to put others under in a bleeding democracy.
13. If the axiom that what is good for the goose is also good for the gander is anything to uphold, it behoves all to raise all the fingers and say yeah to the South’s turn for the Diamond House.
14. Finally, the labours of our past heroes, the Eyo Itas, Margaret Ekpos, Okoi Arikpos, the Morphys, the Mbus, the Samuel Imokes are ringing loud in our ears. As the successors, we must sustain the heritage of peaceful coexistence and pass it on to our tomorrow carriers. This is the way history will be magnificently kind to us in generations yet to come.
Senator (Prince) Bassey Edet Otu
Monday 8th November 2023.