BY: Wilfred Okoi
The Central Senatorial District in Cross River State is comprised of Abi, Boki, Etung, Ikom, Obubra and Yakurr local government areas. And in the district’s politics, three things are cast stone, the power bloc of Boki, Etung and Ikom sit-tight on the Senatorial slot, the absence of equity, fairness and inclusiveness, and the failure of power rotation among the other power blocs of Abi, Obubra and Yakurr referred herein as the Old Obubra in the Central Senatorial District.
It is on this premise that you don’t have to be surprised that conversations, in this respect, that should come up in 2023 has rather come upon us in 2020, and has found a home on some quarters in the media. Moreso, a segment of politicians from the Ikom, Etung and Boki power bloc are currently in the thick forest of desperate politicking cutting out woods with which the polity will be cooked to dish out the Old Obubra.
The pertinent question here is, why has the Old Obubra politicians allowed themselves to be continually left out of the Senatorial slot over the years? Is Abi, Obubra and Yakurr devoid of competent and sincere men and women to become senators?
The situation is essentially a style of bondage and marginalization that has shackled and subjugated the people of Old Obubra. The truth is that the socio-political realities and the legitimate aspirations of the different communities that are congregated to constitute the Central Senatorial District have been hijacked by a privilege few in and out of the Old Obubra extraction. The government in Calabar which was supposed to be a people- oriented agency, has rather assumed the status of a patronizing feudal over-lord , and had deliberately rendered the Old Obubra politically redundant and barren in this regard.
And, the situation is worse now, that the legislators in Abuja are pushing for the emergence of a new crop of leadership that will replace the one in the state to perpetually relegate the old Obubra to the background.
It is this aberration that this write up and the platform “OYA” an acronym for Obubra, Yakurr, and Abi seeks to remedy, by making a case for a Senator from Old Obubra come 2023. It is time for the Senatorial slot for the district to shift to Old Obubra. Since the return of civil rule in 1999 , nobody from the old Obubra has ever been elected Senator of the Central Senatorial District. Past Senators ranging from M. T . Mbu Jnr, Victor Ndoma-Egba, John Owan Enoh to Sandy Enor, the incumbent alternate between Boki , Ikom and Etung respectively. We believe it is time the Senatorial slot must shift to old Obubra to compensate the people for the years of loss.
If we really want to refer to Cross River State including the Central Senatorial District as politically United after 21 years of civil rule, then someone from the old Obubra must be elected Senator come 2023. This advocacy is right on point. It may look like playing to the gallery, call it anything you want, but this is the truth.
Yes, they are those who do not believe in power shift. Their main argument has always been that whoever becomes the Senator should be mainly on the basis of competence and merit regardless of the area the person comes from. They claim there is nothing like zoning or power shift in the Constitution which , in theory, is correct as far as the Nigeria 1999 constitution is concerned. However, in reality, those in the political class, in view of the heterogeneous nature of their districts and plurality of tribes and languages have always designed a way, though unwritten, to ensure that power moves between the southern and northern poles of their areas.
Likewise, political operators in the state and the federation have imbibed the culture of power rotation among the power blocs along north and south to allow for equity, fairness, inclusiveness, and to eliminate tribal and ethnic distrust which could sharpen tension and crisis if not well managed. There is no area that is devoid of competent men and women who can become senators or governor as the case may be.
Sadly, the twin reasons of greed and fear ,on the part of politicians of the old Obubra, have been the primary cause of the long delay to have one of us at the Senate. Efforts made in the past are usually sabotage by enemies within the old Obubra. Greed on the part of the corrupt vested interest in corridors of power who profit from our flawed political system, and an irrational fear on the part of our self appointed praetorian guard who imagined that if not them, the emergence of another individual from the old Obubra extraction could lead to their relegation in the political landscape.
What this group seem not to appreciate is that nothing threatens our political well being today, more than our continues subjugation and relegation by other power blocs, which has for over 20 years made us servants of the Ikom and Etung champions, and has consequently ensured the widening of our fault lines and progress as a people, as examplified by the growing lack of political understanding and cohesion to have a Senator since 1999.
It is our humble submission that the stated points are the reason why we would gladly support and urge the re-start of the conversation for a senator from old Obubra come 2023. This is a necessary course of action, if we are to emancipate ourselves from this political isolation or quarantine. It is also submitted that the shift of the senatorial slot in 2023 to old Obubra will signal the rebirth of the Central Senatorial District , resolve most of the socio-political differences that have covertly and overtly weakened our political strength.
Wilfred Okoi is a legal practitioner and Public Affairs Analyst.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Wilfred Okoi and do not represent the opinion of Genuine Reports or any other organization the author works for/with.