by crossriverwatch admin
Hon. Nkoyo Toyo is one of the only two female federal lawmakers from Cross River State. She is the member representing the Calabar Municipality and Odukpani Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives. In this interview with CRW, she expresses strong concerns about the declining status of Cross River State in the National Agenda and suggests way of mitigating the decline.
CRW: What is your agenda in the National Assembly; in other words, what were the things you observed were not right that made you desire political power?
Hon. Nkoyo: Cross River State is a state of many diversities and hopes but few are the advocates of its issues. After over 400 years exposure of the coastline people of Calabar to Europeans and also a century of engagement with the transatlantic slave trade, by the late 1990s the huge influences of wealth and institution were gone and even the visible role of Calabar in the National agenda almost forgotten.In order to arrest this decline and create a basis for reflections by the state on its diminishing presence in National discourses and developments, I figured that getting into the National assembly was a powerful and visible way to work on these concerns and ensure reversals. Howbeit there were other dimensions to the challenge, this included the low perception by the people of state about their relegation, the dilution of their identity and so the absence of enterprise, alternative forms of negotiation; and the growing need to have more organized ways of addressing inter-governmental and inter-communal relations without essentially creating a vacuum in power.
CRW: What is the Change you seek?
Hon. Nkoyo: I seek a change that is driven by conversations around equity, recognition of the need to preserve and protect the rights of micro-minorities and the assurances that one can be as much a Nigerian, Cross Riverian and Efik as is practicable and nothing will make any one of these identities less valued or effectively undermined. It about the question of equal opportunities and bridging of the widening gaps of inequality even in the region –south south to which Cross River State belongs.
CRW: How do you intend to achieve all these at the National Assembly?
Hon. Nkoyo: In terms of our growing marginalisation, getting the nation to hear our concerns when they arise and getting our people to demand things from the national government should be driven by effective representation which I will bring to bear. Such supply and demand driven style of leadership is needed as it is unlikely that one can push the change needed in the state without a critical number of voices and on-going endorsement of the actions of their representative.
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