“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided” – J.K. Rowling
Rowling perhaps had the Southern senatorial district and the 2023 Cross River gubernatorial election in mind when he penned the above immortal lines.
Even the blind can see and feel it: That the South is sadly approaching the 2023 Cross River gubernatorial election a divided house. And should this be so? No.
The consequences of disunity in the Southern district and indeed among the Efiks as regard the 2023 election will be far-reaching unless urgent steps are taken now to unite all the disparate political gladiators and ethnic nationalities in the South- Ejegham, Effut among others- and forge a common front.
It is true that according to the Cross River charter of equity, it is the turn of the Cross River South senatorial district where the Efiks and other nationalities are domiciled to produce the next governor but this charter is unwritten and not cast on stone.The danger of the governorship seat eluding the South and the Efiks in particular is therefore, real.
This means that by omission or commission on the side of the South and Efik nation at large, the 2023 guber train may depart without them on board.
Truth be told, as 2023 approaches, the Efik nation is at crossroads. Never in our cherished political history have we been this polarised.
As a people desirous of producing the next governor of our dear state, I shudder in utter amazement that Woodrow T. Wilson’s timeless admonition, “we cannot be separated in interest or divided in purpose. We stand together until the end” rings no bell in our ears.
Should the Efiks and other stakeholders in out senatorial zone continue to work at cross-purpose towards the 2023 Southern governorship project, the looming danger is that the central senatorial zone will waste no time to capitalise on that to snatch the levers of power.
Already, indications are that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP is disposed to ceding its guber ticket to the Central zone and to Senator Sandy Ono in particular.
Senator Ono running with a Deputy from the Northern Senatorial district will seal politically, the fate of disunited Southern zone as far as the 2023 governorship election is concerned.
There could be a few fifth columnists and quislings in the Efik nation like former governor Donald Duke working against the political interest of the ethnic group but this should not be allowed to stand in the way of the larger collective resolve of the Efiks and indeed Southern senatorial district to attain political ascendancy in 2023.
The determination of the Southern senatorial district to succed politically must be stronger than the prospect of failure.What the Efiks need at this material time, therefore, is unity of purpose, after all, it is said that when spiders unite, they can tie down a lion.
His Excellency, Governor Ben Ayade, a fair-minded and refined leader, is committed to power shift to the Southern zone but this will be a Herculean task if the intended beneficiaries of that commitment continue to steer the ship of success farther away from the coast.
Those that reject hope sink in despair.This is not the character trait of the Efik.They are resilience and goal-getting.Therefore, all hope are not lost.
The 2023 governorship seat is still within the reach of the Efik nation only if its political leaders can collapse their individual ambitions into the common pool of Efik interest by selecting a consensus guber candidate to fly South’s flag in the contest.