By Our Reporter
Former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke has cleared the air over his position on the contentious issue of zoning in the state.
Mr. Duke spoke when he received some members of his political party, the PDP at his residence in Calabar.
Chapter chairman of PDP in Calabar Municipality, Dr. Otop Otop who led other senior members of the party, said the purpose of their visit was to interact with the former governor as one of the founding fathers of the party in the state.
Reacting, Mr. Donald Duke expressed delight over the visit and called for more of such visits to keep the bond within the party strong.
Speaking on the issue of zoning for the first time after a video surfaced online, where he was seen supposedly taking a position against power rotation to the south. Former governor Duke said
“ I know I have been abused and called different kinds of names because of my position on zoning in the state. But I know that if you are into politics and have gotten to the level we are now and you are not ready to be abused then you have nothing to do with politics. So that does not bother me at all. You can call me all sorts of names but once I have take a stand based on principles, then I am not bothered.”
The former governor who maintained his position on zoning said. “ I believe under the principles of equity, that the south should produce the next governor, but that again is on the basis of morality and not constitutional. I am not against Zoning, but if it has to work, then it must be done properly. I said it longtime ago, that as a state, we need to call everyone, say 10 or 5 per LGA, get a hall, sit down and talk about this zoning issue but no one listened.
If we can do that, then we can get everyone, elders, leaders to sign and agree that once governorship position leaves one region, another region takes over and everyone supports them. Such a document would be adopted and signed by Leaders across the length and breathe of the State That way, no one will be able to come out and say it will not stand because we would have had everyone sign it. But what we are doing now is not the way to go about it.
“This is not a matter of, you are from a particular region and you do not want to support their cause. What I am saying is that, if we must do it, then we must do it right”
Earlier, the PDP chapter Chairman of Calabar Municipality appreciated Mr Duke for his numerous giant strides during his time as governor, noting that the reverse is the case in the state now.
Dr Otop said he led members of the party to meet with the former governor to interact with him and learn from his wealth of resources and experience.
He pleaded with Mr. Duke who is also a member of the board of trustee of the party to canvas for support for the party at the grassroots.
“ I can assure you sir, that since the governor of the state defected to the other party, over 90 percent of our chapter leadership are intact, we have not moved, at the ward level, we have over 85 percent who have refused to join them to leave the party. This is the same testimony across. What we need, is to have this kind of interaction with you and other leaders from time to time to motivate our people. But we know that this is a PDP state and as the election approaches we will win convincingly” Dr. Otop maintained.