I support Donald Duke, There’s Nothing Like Zoning says Okoi Obono-Obla
Donald Duke Rejects that he was elected on zoning:
His excellency, Donald Etim Duke, Governor of Cross River State of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007, in an interview on Channel Television has categorically and unequivocally rejected the proposition been banded by proponents of zoning of the office of the governorship of Cross River State in the 2023 governorship election based on geographical consideration.
For clarity and avoidance of any doubt, permit me to Quote Mr. Donald Duke :
“I have never subjected myself to zoning. When I ran for governor, I was not afforded zoning. Everyone and anybody was about to run in Cross River. Besides, it is my constitutional right to run, and You can’t zone my right. I think it is unconstitutional to the zone.”
I recollect vividly that in 1999, Donald Duke emerged the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP! from a keenly contested Primary Election. His opponent was the formidable Kanu Godwin Agabi SAN. Donald Duke is from Cross River South, while Kanu Godwin Agabi is from Cross River North.
In the Governorship election, late Etubom Bassey Ekpo from Cross River South was the defunct Alliance for Democracy, AD. From Cross River North, the late Mark Ogbeche Ukpo was the governorship candidate of the defunct All Peoples Party, APP. The governorship election was held in December 1998. I Donald Duke was elected the 3rd Governor of Cross River State of Nigeria and inaugurated on 29 May 1999.
I witnessed all these events, that had shaped the politics Abd dynamics of the State in the last two decades. I was the Counsel to Etubom Bassey Ekpo Bassey when he challenged the declaration by INEC of Mr. Donald Duke as the Governor-elect, having satisfied the constitutional requirement before the Election Petition Tribunal, Calabar.
However, the Petition of Etubom Bassey Ekpo Bassey was struck out by the Tribunal for being incompetent. The Counsel to Donald Duke in the case was late Obong Ekong Bassey, SAN, of blessed memory.
Now that Donald Duke has spoken the truth that he was not elected governor based on Zoning or terms of the so-called Calabar Ogoja Accord, I urge proponents of zoning to give us a break.
Whether from Cross River South, Cross River Central, and Cross River North, everybody that thinks that they have what it takes to be governor, should to step into the arena. It will afford the electorate an opportunity to assess their manifest, programs, and road map judge them accordingly by voting for any candidate. The electorate can give us a clean break in the State. This is what democracy is all about ; freedom of choice, competitiveness.
I commend the honesty, broad-mindedness, statesmanship, and integrity of Mr. Donald Duke on this issue, which has become somewhat controversial.