by crossriverwatch admin
Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma Egba SAN has replied Rights Activist and APC Chieftain, Barrister Okoi Obono Obla who accused Egba of turning down his appeal and refusing to help him get a brief because he is in opposition.
Barrister Obono Obla in an article posted recently on the Cross River State Coalition for Change facebook wall alleged that: “I fortuitously ran into Senator Ndoma-Egba (SAN) at the popular Amigo Super Market along Ademola Adetokubo Street, Wuse, II where I had gone with my wife to do some shopping.
“I was really excited and delighted when I saw somebody I had regarded as a mentor, Senator Ndoma-Egba. I briskly walked towards him with my wife to greet him. After exchanging greetings and niceties with him, I told him “Chief, kindly tell your friend Chief Bayo Ojo (the then Attorney General of the Federation) to give some prisons decongestion briefs to us….
“Senator Ndoma -Egba bluntly turned down my request. He looked me straight and in his characteristic pointedness said to me “you are in the opposition, you are not hungry yet”.
I was shocked to my marrow. I then told him “Chief, you know I am strong and even if I am starving, I will never beg you for food. I have since kept my distance from Senator Ndoma-Egba”.
Obla also questioned the justification for seeking a record fourth term by Senator Egba.
But in a reply to Barr Okoi Obono Obla also posted on the facebook wall the Cross River State Coalition for Change; the Senator explained that he thought it was a usual joke between the two of them.
Senator Egba said: “I recall the incident in Amigo vividly. I thought it was one of our usual jokes, we shared many of those ‘wicked joke’. I recall some of yours at the last election petition tribunal while I was struggling to protect my mandate. I took yours in stride believing like I did in Amigo, that it was on the lighter side”.
The Senator also clarified issues around his performance in the three terms he has spent in the Senate and how he has impacted on his friends as well as his constituency.
Below are the full texts of Barrister Obla’s article and Senator Ndoma Egba’s reply.
Senator Victor Ndoma Egba (SAN) BY OBONO OBLA
One of the persons I admired most as a young legal practitioner in the early 1990 in Calabar trying to cut his legal teeth was Chief Victor Ndoma-Egba (as he then was) .
However after I finished my NYSC programme in Benin City in September, 1991 , my desire was to join the practice of Victor Ndoma-Egba where I had done my internship as a student in the Nigerian Law School between January-April, 1990. However this was not to be.
Somehow my cousin Eno Ofem Ndidi rather took me to Kanu Godwin Agabi (SAN) sometimes in February 1992 who graciously employed me as an associate in his law firm then located at 75 Marian Road, Calabar. I was in this law firm until May 1994 when I moved into 98 Marian Road, Calabar with Barrister James Binang to join Barrister Margaret Utande to form a firm known as Utande, Obono and Binang.
Chief Victor Ndoma-Egba then had his practice at 101 Marian Road, Calabar that was a walking distance to my office.
Being a person I admire and too forward I made it a habit each day to visit his office and greet him. I also had some friends such as late Barrister Richard David Ebri; Late Barrister Charles Duke and late Barrister Victoria Duke working with Chief Victor Ndoma-Egba.
So his office became a sort of rendezvous for me. I also did my legal research there as it was fairly stocked with a lot of legal books, texts and materials. I then saw Chief Victor Ndoma-Egba as an public intellectual, cerebral, straightforward and idealistic. I would now and then popped into his office unannounced to chat and engaged him on tropical issues confronting the country then.
I was then a young pro-democracy activist very much involved in the campaign to end military rule in the country. I saw Chief Ndoma-Egba as an ally although he had previously served under a military regime as Commissioner in 1984-1985 in the State.
Later Chief Victor Ndoma-Egba moved his practice to 104 Calabar Road, Calabar that was also close to my office so naturally the relationship I had developed with him continued. Chief Ndoma-Egba was nice to me then.
He visited me each time my wife had a miscarriage with his spouse After the return to civil rule in 1999 I used to go to his office to trouble him to venture into partisan politics. He would always tell me ” look Okoi, the Ndoma-Egbas are not liked in Ikom so if an Ndoma-Egba runs for a councilor in Ikom he will not win”.
Chief Ndoma-Egba gave me the impression that he was not interested in politics at all. He said he had distasteful and messy experience when he ran for the governorship ticket of the defunct National Republican Convention in the early 1990.
However, in 2003 Chief Ndoma-Egba decided to venture into politics. Surprisingly he pitched his tent with the PDP. In the election he ran against Pius Tawo and Barrister Otu Uket Oka (my father in law) and won.
I was happy and dreamt that he would make a great national impression taking into account his legal background, pedigree and intelligence. I was proved right when he was appointed the Spokesman of the Senate between 2003-2007.
He was also appointed the Chairman of the Senate Committee that conducted public hearing on contract scam in the Petroleum Technology Development Trust Fund. This was a delicate assignment because the Petroleum Technology Trust Fund was alleged to be the source of slush funds for the then Vice President, Atiku Abubukar who was then engaged in a deadly political squabble with his principal, President Obasanjo.
I decided to draw a wedge with Senator Ndoma-Egba (SAN) sometimes in 2005. I had visited Abuja from my Base then in Calabar with my wife. I fortuitously run into Senator Ndoma-Egba (SAN) at the popular Amigo Super Market along Ademola Adetokubo Street, Wuse, II where I had gone with my wife to do some shopping.
I was really excited and delighted when I saw somebody I had regarded as a mentor, Senator Ndoma-Egba. I briskly walked towards him with my wife to greet him. After exchanging greetings and niceties with him, I told him ” Chief, I kindly tell your friend Chief Bayo Ojo (the then Attorney General of the Federation) to give some prisons decongestion briefs to us.
Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN) was Chief Victor Ndoma-Egba’s class mate at the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos. I had developed at intimate relationship with Chief Ojo at the instance of Chief Ndoma-Egba when the Calabar Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association hosted the NBA Annual General Conference in 2001.
I was one of the frenetic and passionate canvassers for Chief Ojo’s aspiration to be the President of the Nigerian Bar Association. Chief Ojo was eventually elected President of NBA. I was the Public Relations Officer of the NBA Calabar Branch and Chief Ndoma-Egba was Chairman. I have digressed a bit.
Senator Ndoma -Egba bluntly turned down my request. He looked me straight and in his characteristic pointedness said to me “you are in the opposition, you are not hungry yet”.
I was shocked to my marrow. I then told him “Chief, you know I am strong and even if I am starving, I will never beg you for food”.
I have since kept my distance from Senator Ndoma-Egba. I am glad that Senator Ndoma-Egba is today the Leader of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Undoubtedly he is one of the powerful figures today in Nigeria. He is surely close to the corridors of power.
How has he used his closeness to the levers to cause the Federal Government to impact on the Central District in particular and Cross River in general?
It is axiomatic that the position of Senate Leader is eminent, exalted and strategic in the vortex of the politics of who get what when and how in Nigeria.
This was the position late Dr. Abubukar Olusola Sarki of Kwara State used to the ultimate in doing a lot for his people so much so that he succeeded to a large extent in establishing his political dynasty in Kwara before his death.
How has the Senate leadership of Senator Ndoma-Egba leveraged on us?
How many federal projects has he attracted to the State?
What was his role in the loss of the 76 oil wells to Akwa Ibom State?
What was his position on the Bakassi imbroglio?
Why is the Calabar -Ikom Federal Highway in such derelict State?
Why is the Calabar-Itu-Aba Federal Highway in such a state of benign neglect and disrepair?
How many young people has he assisted to gain employment at the Federal level?
Is Senator Ndoma-Egba politically intolerant?
Has access to power changed Senator Ndoma-Egba?
Does he still remember his professional colleagues?
What has he done since 2003 to assist his professional colleagues?
How many politicians in the State has he helped to get federal appointments?
How many business people in the State has he helped to win federal contracts?
Has his extensive contacts and networks benefited the State?
Is Senator Ndoma-Egba’s alleged support for Godwin Jedy Agba’s ambition and aspiration to be Governor in 2015 utilitarian or for selfish consideration?
What has Senator Ndoma-Egba done to deserve a record fourth term in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?
Senator Egba’s Reply:
DEAR OKOI OBONO-OBLA,
I HAVE ALWAYS SEEN YOU AS MORE THAN A FRIEND, INDEED MORE OF FAMILY AND I STILL DO AND BECAUSE YOU ARE FAMILY I WILL NOT BE JOINING ISSUES WITH YOU, NOT IN PUBLIC. I RECALL THE INCIDENT IN AMIGO VIVIDLY. I THOUGHT IT WAS ONE OF OUR USUAL JOKES WE SHARED MANY OF THOSE “WICKED” JOKES. I RECALL SOME OF YOURS AT THE LAST ELECTIONS PETITION TRIBUNAL WHILE I WAS STRUGGLING TO PROTECT MY MANDATE. I TOOK YOURS IN STRIDE BELIEVING LIKE I DID IN AMIGO, THAT IT WAS ON THE LIGHTER SIDE.
I HAVE ALWAYS KNOWN YOU TO BE A VORACIOUS READER AND A KEEN FOLLOWER OF CURRENT EVENTS. MY ROLE ON OUR LOSS OF BAKASSI AND THE 76 OIL WELLS WERE WELL IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN AND RECORDED. IT IS FOR YOU TO REVERT TO THE RECORDS. I WILL FIND IT VERY STRANGE THOUGH THAT YOU DID NOT FOLLOW THE REPORTS IN THE MEDIA.
AS FOR MY FEDERAL PROJECTS, THOSE I HAVE ASSISTED TO GAIN EMPLOYMENT ETC I CAN ONLY PLEAD YOU READ “THE REPORT” MY CONSTITUENCY MAGAZINE WHICH IS PUBLISHED QUARTERLY.
AS FOR WHAT I HAVE DONE FOR MY PROFESSIONAL COLLEAGUES, INDIVIDUALLY AND COLLECTIVELY, I CONSIDER PRIVATE. IT IS ONLY THE BENEFICIARIES THAT CAN SPEAK ABOUT IT.
GOD HAS BEEN VERY KIND AND MERCIFUL TO ME AND THE ONLY WAY I CAN RECIPROCATE IS BY SERVICE TO MY PEOPLE, STATE COMMUNITY AND HUMANITY; SERVICE FROM MY HEART AND SOUL.
I PRAY FOR HISTORY JUDGEMENT NOT POLITICAL JUDGEMENT.
I TRUST YOU, TINA AND THE FAMILY ARE DOING GREAT.
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