by crossriverwatch admin
A few hours before the turn of the year and with the Harmattan fog enveloping central Cross River; amidst the din of pestles pummeling pounded yam mortars in the country-side, Hon John Owan-Enoh, who represents the Obubra/Etung constituency on the floor of the House of Representatives, was addressing members of his constituency in Etung.
“In a few months, I will cease to be your representative on the floor of the House”, he said, his misty eyes panning the sea of young men and women who had come to hear him speak, “My job….our job….in the next few months will be to find that young man or woman who will take my place and carry on with the projects I have begun…”
It was a valedictory address as cathartic as they come; one underlining just how much the quality of the next Representative of the people who had thronged the venue of the address, meant to the affable lawmaker.
Having served as a representative of his people in the House of Representatives since the dawn of Nigeria’s latest democratic experiment, Hon John Owan-Enoh has his eyes set on bigger things–a shot at the Senate perhaps.
It is little wonder that the competition for his successor has reached fever pitch. By the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) well entrenched zoning principle, Obubra Local Government should produce the next legislator from that constituency (Owan-Enoh hails from Etung).
CrossRiverWatch takes a peek at the candidates from Obubra LGA who are jostling for Owan’s job.
1. Moses Onoh: An astute politician who has been around the Cross River State political terrain for a while, Moses Onoh currently serves as a two time lawmaker in the Cross River State House of Assembly. He has however made more enemies than friends in Obubra which is his immediate constituency with his peculiar brand of politics. However, his bags of experience in local politics should compensate for this chink in his armor. He also boasts plenty of local know-how but with limited knowledge of the workings of politics on a national scale. Whether a shot at the House of Reps may prove a bar too high for Onoh, remains to be seen.
2. Ken Egbas: Urbane, young, smart and looking the part, Ken Egbas has waltzed into the Obubra/Etung constituency political landscape like some breath of fresh air. He churns out ideas with the regularity of a heart-beat, boasts an inner knowledge and workings of the private sector after decades of paying his dues in Nigeria’s economic capital of Lagos. You can call him a ‘Lagos Boy’. However, and has won plenty of local and grass root appeal in the last two years. He also has a philanthropic disposition and is loved by the youths of Obubra.
“The truth is that I have not run this race based on connections. I have run on ideas, competence, personal qualities, and an overwhelming desire to turn the fortunes of the people of Obubra around”, said Mr Ken Egbas. “People say Obubra doesn’t have quality people…I want to disprove that. Outside, people are actually surprised when they discover that I am from Obubra…and that both my parents hail from Ofodua. I see my candidacy as a catalyst for the youths in obubra”, he added.
This is Mr Egbas’ first foray into the murky waters of politics at any level, but his experience working with Nigeria’s lawmakers at the national level as the Boss of his thriving firm in Lagos, should make up for his seemingly “greenhorn” credentials.
3. Peter Egba: Another “PDP party man” in the truest sense of that expression. Mr Egba has been quietly paying his dues at the grass root level in both Etung and Obubra while courting political favors from the party’s rank and file. He also has loads of experience in the banking sector, having served as a Manager at Oceanic Bank in Ikom for several years. Mr Peter Egba will be angling for political office for the first time as well. According to Mr Peter Egba; “I wish to be in the House of Reps to positively represent the people of Obubra/ Etung LGAs. This can be done by initiating and sponsoring bills that would address our peculiar challenges. These challenges include, but are not limited to our forest resources which the constituency has a comparative advantage in. Also, we know that as we speak, people are being employed on a daily basis in Abuja. I will use the office and the network established while there to help my people get jobs”, said Mr Egba.
4. Fabian Okpa: A lawyer; Mr Okpa suggests he is the best man to take over from where Owan-Enoh is leaving off. “I have the strongest credentials of the competing lot. I served as a two term member of the State House of Assembly and I have served as a member of the state executive council. My experience stands me in good stead, going forward”, said Okpa.
Mr Okpa however doesn’t enjoy the wide spread support of his folks back home, said a source who would not want his name published for this story. He lost out at the last elections on the bill of the opposition party; as the Obubra people churned out votes for his opposite number instead as a mark of protest against his candidature.
Other candidates who are jostling for the House of Reps seat are Sylvanus Oyama Odong, Dr. Boypa Egbe, Dr. Walter Mboto and Nick Ayuwa. Like Owan-Enoh before them, Walter Mboto and Boypa Egbe are lecturers as well in the University of Calabar. Mr Sylvanus Oyama and Nick Ayuwa are still keeping their ambitions close to their chests, but their campaign machineries have all swung into action.
It promises to be one huge battle for the soul of Obubra/Etung federal constituency. But whoever emerges as the successor to Owan Enoh must learn some of those qualities that have endeared the lawmaker to the voters in his constituency since 1998.
In his own words, Hon. Owan Enoh says some of those distinguishing characteristics, “I have remained the same person that was first elected in 1998, I’ve remained me essentially, I’ve tried to respond as much as possible to what I think represents the best for those who have continued to elect me. I’ve kept faith with those that I’ve been representing. I told some people that you can make me Nigeria’s President today; it wouldn’t’t change the essential John Owan-Enoh. I’ve remained that person. Public office has a lot to do with trust, it has a lot to do with confidence; when you get elected you’re only elevated, your conduct especially in the kind of society that we come from is very important. And basically I believe that I have kept it simple, I’ve remained as simple as possible in terms of my relationship with the electorate, I’ve taken my work seriously as much as possible”, Hon John Owan-Enoh told CrossRiverWatch in an interview recently.
With a “say-so” in who takes over from where he is leaving off, Owan-Enoh will be hoping that the next representative from the Obubra/Etung constituency lives up to some of his own personal ideals which he so passionately outlined above.
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