By RICHARD NDOMA, Calabar
Cross River State governor, Sir Ben Ayade has implored the people of South South geographical zone to come together and speak with one voice on the injustices of the ceding of the Bakassi Peninsular and the attendant suffering its inhabitants are facing.
He said that the region lays the golden egg yet suffers unspeakable deprivation in the Nigeria project.
The Cross River state governor spoke in Calabar while receiving his Edo state counterpart, Godwin Obaseki to his office.
The Edo state governor was in Calabar in continuation of his thank you visit to South south governors who rallied behind him during the electioneering campaigns leading to the September 19, 2020 Edo governorship election.
His victory now makes the South south a wholly a PDP- controlled region.
Ayade said “the South South is in crisis. We are the greatest generators of the revenue of this country , yet you cannot come from Uyo to Calabar by road. You have to fly because within that 45 minutes journey you will have to do it for four or more hours. We must tackle such fundamental issues.
“Our carnival is suffering because people cannot come in. Our seaport is suffering because it cannot be dredged. We cannot as a region sit back and watch this happen.
“Perhaps your visit will give us a great opportunity to bring to the fore, one of the greatest challenges of our state, as a people. We watch our brothers, our sisters, our sons and daughters of the Bakassi extraction being driven out of their ancestral homes, reduced to want in body, in spirit and in soul.
“ We watch with melancholy, anger and pain as they sleep in subhuman living conditions. As a country, we have a budget for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), we see how IDPs in other regions are properly funded by international organizations, yet the case of Bakassi IDPs is different.”
He said what is most painful is the fact that the ceding of the peninsula was an act of illegality, and therefore, called on the geo-political zone to collectively rise up in condemnation of it.
“The ceding of Bakassi was totally illegal because there was no ratification by the National Assembly, there was no plebiscite which is totally inconsistent with the provisions of International Law. I believe that it is time for the south south to come as a bloc to speak strongly for the people of Bakassi.”
He congratulated Obaseki on his victory, describing it as victory for Edo people.
Speaking earlier, governor Obaseki thanked Ayade for standing behind him during the campaigns, noting that Edo and Cross River share historical ties.
The governor pledged to work towards the revival of the South south regional body, known as the BRACED Commission, which is an acronym for the six states in the zone.
He bemoan the utter neglect of the South south, saying it was in the best interest of Nigeria that infrastructures in the region are fixed.