By Joseph Atainyang
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Engr Ita Awak has joined the debate for the 2023 gubernatorial election in Akwa Ibom State, praying the post be unanimously given an Oro person.
Awak who was reacting to a position canvassed by a journalist and human rights person, Franklyn Isong, stated that the hitherto rotational politics of senatorial district did not favour the ethnic tripod which was the foundation for the establishment of the state.
Oro Nation which is the third largest ethnic nationality in the state is made up of five local government areas of Oron, Mbo, Udung Uko, Urue Offong/Oruko and Okobo.
The Director of Air Worthiness in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority argued, that while Oro Nation harbours more than 65 per cent of oil resource in its land and territorial waters, which gives the state a fortunate place among others in the country, the area has not produced a governor since the return to democracy in 1999.
In an article entitled, “2023 Zoning Debate: Who Feels it, Knows it”, Awak explained that by 2023, the Ibibio majority “which spreads across all the three senatorial districts in the state” would have enjoyed the governorship office for 16 years with Annang people doing so for eight years.
The state’s pioneer APC Publicity Secretary insisted that “men and women of character and integrity from the larger Ibibio ethnic group” should unanimously call for a reset of the governorship zoning clock in 2023 in a manner that would favour Oro people.
His words, “Franklyn Isong, there is no doubt at all that if you weren’t of the larger Ibibio stock who are spread throughout the so called three Senatorial districts of Akwa Ibom, you would have written and argued differently.
“Indeed, I am convinced that if providence had made you an Òrò native, a minority ethnic group in Akwa Ibom from whose land and territorial waters more than 65 per cent of the petro-dollar commonwealth that runs the State is gotten, surely, you would’ve strenuously canvassed a position more favourable to your people than this.
“That said, granted that between 1999 and 2015 there was a governorship zoning that went through the three senatorial districts, favouring predominantly the Ibibios, who will be doing 16 years by 2023, and the Annangs who got 8 years, methinks men and women of character and integrity from the larger Ibibio ethnic group ought to seize the moment and ask that the State governorship zoning clock be reset in 2023 with particular emphasis that the Òrò ethnic group in Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District be the one to produce the governor.
“Indeed, this is the noble argument that one expects from human rights advocates like you to be advocating”, he concluded.
Meanwhile, Franklyn Isong had called for the dismantling of zoning in future governorship elections, saying the gesture could possibly throw up mediocrity, incompetence and deprivation.
In his article with the heading, “2023: The Myopic Debate on Zoning”, Isong stressed that “merit, pedigree, antecedents and track record should be the watchword against zoning, power sharing, and other parochial and pedestrian sentiments”.
2023: Reset the Zoning Clock for Oro governorship – Ita Awak
By Joseph Atainyang