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In Cross River State, apart from the incumbent governor, Prof Ben Ayade who although has not officially voiced his interest to recontest except for his 'body language'; there is already a line-up of governorship aspirants jostling to upturn the status quo in the government house. However, at play in the state are two key factors: zoning and performance. Since when the country returned to democratic rule, PDP, the dominant ruling party adopted zoning of the governorship between the three senatorial zones. It was based on this agreement that Donald Duke from the south led the state between and Senator Liyel Imoke from the central succeeded Duke from to before handing over to the incumbent governor from the north.

This group's main argument is that zoning should adopt the old Calabar and old Ogoja power sharing agreement which recognized just two power blocs in the old Cross River State. The group believes that both the central and northern senatorial zones are one and constitute what is popularly known within political circles as the Atam Congress - a formidable political pressure group comprising heavy weights from the area. But political analysts in the state have dismissed this argument describing it as archaic and dubbing those who think along this line as 'living in the past' and a bunch retrogressive thinkers.

Precisely this accord was repudiated as soon as a new state, Akwa Ibom was created thereby excising a huge chunk of old Calabar from the mix. Today, the federal authorities have put a nail to the coffin of that argument with the creation of three senatorial zones in each state to make power sharing within the state, a walk in the park.

Anthropology Matters, Vol 9, No 1 (2007)

Interestingly, ahead of Ayade's decision to run for second term or not, his support base is already widening with the recent gale of endorsements. This is not surprising.

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The governor maintains the lead record of hiring the highest number of appointees in the country to whom he religiously pays salaries every 25th day of the month and sometimes the first day of the month depending on the circumstance. The gale of adoptions of Ayade for the governorship race does not appear to be slowing down with several groups from the three senatorial zones throwing their weights behind him. The latest adoption of the governor came from the leaders and people of Odukpani and Calabar Municipal Federal Constituency, barely two days following similar endorsement by Akpabuyo, Bakassi and Calabar South Federal Constituency of the state and about 80 political groups.

His agro venture project, the dualisation of Calabar Odukpani junction, the garment factory, the virgin city which will offer opportunities to decongest the city centre are a few of his several projects being executed in our Calabar and Odukpani Federal Constituency. According to him, the people of Odukpani and Calabar Municipal can proudly give the governor and his deputy a well-deserved pass mark.

While asking the governor to be given an overwhelming endorsement, he requested Ayade to among other things, "create additional federal constituency out of Calabar and Odukpani as well as an additional state constituency. Also speaking on behalf of the traditional council, representative of the paramount ruler of Odukpani, Clan Head of Odukpani, HRM, Ekpeyong Effiok said: "There is no doubt that Ayade has acquitted himself in so many areas of socio-economic spheres.

He has been consistent in not only prompt but regular payment of salaries of workers. It is on this note that he needs our collective endorsement for to complete his many projects spread across the state. Apparently sensing that Ayade may decide to opt out of the race at the last minute, a group, Team Ayade, has threatened Ayade with a lawsuit if he fails to seek a second term in office. Addressing supporters, associations, women and youth groups bearing banners with different inscriptions at Ndidem Usang Iso road, Calabar, venue for the unveiling of 'Team Ayade's office, Director-General of the group, Mr.

Goddy Ettah, said although Ayade was not desperate for a second term, the team would view it as a disservice to the state should he fail to seek another term in office. He then turned to Ayade, who was present at the event and said: "We are here to beg you that you cannot stop, for it will be a disservice if you decide to change your mind considering that your dream in eight years would have succeeded in decoupling Cross River from federal allocation.

We will encourage other support groups with our maturity and our experience since we are the mother support group. You cannot do Cross River a disservice by terminating in four years. We will go to court to get an order of mandamus restraining you from taking such decision. We started with the administration of Donald Duke.

He did very well and left legacies. It seems that Gowon immediately faced not only a potential standoff with the East, but secession threats from the Northern and even the Western region. Ambassadors from Britain and the United States, however, urged Gowon to maintain control over the whole country. Gowon followed this plan, repealing the Unification Decree, announcing a return to the federal system.

From June through October , pogroms in the North killed an estimated 80, to , Igbo, half of them children, and caused more than a million to two million to flee to the Eastern Region. The pogroms I witnessed in Makurdi, Nigeria late Sept.

Cross River State of Nigeria: Africa Rediscovered - Part 1

Before, during and after the slaughter, Col. Gowon could be heard over the radio issuing 'guarantees of safety' to all Easterners, all citizens of Nigeria, but the intent of the soldiers, the only power that counts in Nigeria now or then, was painfully clear. After counting the disemboweled bodies along the Makurdi road I was escorted back to the city by soldiers who apologised for the stench and explained politely that they were doing me and the world a great favor by eliminating Igbos.

The Federal Military Government also laid the groundwork for the economic blockade of the Eastern Region which went into full effect in The deluge of refugees in Eastern Nigeria created a difficult situation. Extensive negotiations took place between Ojukwu and Gowon representing Eastern Nigeria and the Nigerian Federal military government.

In the Aburi Accord , finally signed at Aburi, Ghana, the parties agreed that a looser Nigerian federation would be implemented. Gowon delayed announcement of the agreement and eventually reneged. On 27 May , Gowon proclaimed the division of Nigeria into twelve states. Now the Igbos, concentrated in the East Central State, would lose control over most of the petroleum, located in the other two areas.

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On 30 May , Ojukwu declared independence of the Republic of Biafra. The Federal Military Government immediately placed an embargo on all shipping to and from Biafra—but not on oil tankers. Although the very young nation had a chronic shortage of weapons to go to war, it was determined to defend itself. Britain supplied amounts of heavy weapons and ammunition to the Nigerian side because of its desire to preserve the country it had created.

The Biafra side received arms and ammunition from France, even though the French government denied sponsoring Biafra. An article in Paris Match of 20 November claimed that French arms were reaching Biafra through neighbouring countries such as Gabon. Several peace accords were held, with the most notable one held at Aburi , Ghana the Aburi Accord.

There were different accounts of what took place in Aburi. Ojukwu accused the federal government of going back on their promises while the federal government accused Ojukwu of distortion and half-truths. He was warned by his advisers that this reflected a failure of Gowon to understand the difference and, that being the case, predicted that it would be reneged upon.

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When this happened, Ojukwu regarded it as both a failure by Gowon to keep to the spirit of the Aburi agreement and lack of integrity on the side of the Nigerian Military Government in the negotiations toward a united Nigeria. Gowon's advisers, to the contrary, felt that he had enacted as much as was politically feasible in fulfillment of the spirit of Aburi. Their advantages included fighting in their homeland, support of most Easterners, determination, and use of limited resources.

The UK-which still maintained the highest level of influence over Nigeria's highly valued oil industry through Shell-BP [90] and the Soviet Union supported the Nigerian government, especially by military supplies. Shortly after extending its blockade to include oil, the Nigerian government launched a " police action " to retake the secessionist territory.

The Biafra strategy had succeeded. The federal government had started the war, and the East was defending itself. The division was led mostly by northern officers. After facing unexpectedly fierce resistance and high casualties, the right-hand Nigerian column advanced on the town of Nsukka , which fell on 14 July, while the left-hand column made for Garkem, which was captured on 12 July. The Biafrans responded with an offensive of their own when, on 9 August, the Biafran forces moved to the westside into the Mid-Western of Nigerian region which is across the Niger river, passing through Benin City , until they were stopped at Ore in Ondo State just over the state boundary on 21 August, just miles east of the Nigerian capital of Lagos.

The Biafran attack was led by Lt.

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  5. Banjo, a Yoruba, with the Biafran rank of brigadier. The attack met little resistance and the Mid-West was easily taken over. This was due to the pre-secession arrangement that all soldiers should return to their regions to stop the spate of killings, in which Igbo soldiers had been major victims. General Gowon responded by asking Colonel Murtala Mohammed who later became head of state in to form another division the 2nd Infantry Division to expel the Biafrans from the Mid-West, as well as to defend the West side and attack Biafra from the West as well.

    As Nigerian forces retook the Mid-West, the Biafran military administrator declared the Republic of Benin on 19 September, though it ceased to exist the next day. The present country of Benin , west of Nigeria, was still named Dahomey at that time.