Vanguard (Lagos)

25 January 2013

Nigeria: 2015 - Difficult Rivers Before Jonathan in Cross River

The maxim in politics is that there is no permanent friend, no permanent enemy but permanent interest. So, as the 2015 presidential election draws nearer, it is not surprising that more alignments and re-alignments are going on across the country. Groups, associations and states are reviewing their romance with the elected officers in the past years to know how far and how fair those given the mandates have justified the trust.

In Cross River State, the story has been that of lamentations. A cross section of the people have become disillusioned with the government at the centre, claiming that instead of being commended for the support given to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the last presidential election, they have been impoverished and some of them turned to aliens in their fatherland.

Accordingly, they are pledging that the era of sentiments when tribal or geopolitical configuration influenced their voting pattern is over.

Leading the push is the local chapter of the Peoples Democratic movement, a political group established by the late General Musa Yar'adua which has started consultations on how to bring the 'Joseph' that will know them to the saddle.

Among the reasons being given by the group for their disenchantment is the ceding of Bakassi Peninsula to the Cameroons, the ceding of the 76 oil wells to Akwa Ibom State and the delisting of Cross River from the list of oil producing states by the National Boundary Commission, NBC, and the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission.

Cross River after being removed from the league of oil producing states and the stoppage of the 13 per cent oil derivation, the state has increasingly found it difficult to meet up with its financial challenges.

Indeed some allege that the financial situation of the state may have contributed to the reported poor state of health of Governor Liyel Imoke who last November proceeded on leave.

Indeed, midway into the life of his administration some of the ongoing projects of the state were temporarily stopped as a result of paucity of funds.

Another reason that is being put forward for the expected difficulties of President Goodluck Jonathan in the state in 2015 is the way and manner the Bakassi case was handled by the Federal Government.

The administration's failure to examine the prospects of a reversal of the Court of Appeal judgment angered many.

Commenting on these developments, the former Coordinator of Atiku Presidential Campaign in the state Hon. Ernest Irek said that the machinery to ensure that Atiku Abubakar emerges the next president come 2015 had been put in motion in South-South geo-political zone.

Hon. Irek said all stakeholders in the zone are involved in the project of ensuring that Atiku emerges president in order to return the country to her lost glory as well as rescuing the state from its present financial mess as a result of the delisting of the state from the league of oil producing states.

Irek also said that going by the zoning formula of the PDP, the office of the president was supposed to be occupied by somebody from the North, adding that the zoning formula will be religiously kept to in the 2015 election and after the North had completed its tenure, power could go to the South East.

He said he was privy to the Atiku blueprint when he met Senator Ben Obi and that the blueprint will make the country great and more united if implemented.

A cross section of the state said that despite the fact that Governor Imoke was the Campaign Coordinator of President Jonathan in the last presidential election and ensured that he was overwhelmingly voted for, the state was paid back by being removed from benefiting from the oil derivation, while Bakassi was handed to Cameroon contrary to the appeals by Nigerians that the ICJ judgment should be appealed.

Besides, the embattled state chairman of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties, CNPP, Hon, Cletus Obun said that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, at the centre has inflicted more pains on the people of the state, stressing that bringing back President Jonathan would increase their sufferings.

Obun noted that virtually all the federal government facilities in the state have collapsed, stressing it will be disastrous if the same person comes back to power come 2015.

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