by crossriverwatch admin
Honorable Larry Odey, the Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly has thrown his hat into the ring to run for the position of governor in 2015. He spoke to CrossRiverWatch recently on his ambition.
Honorable Speaker, we will like to find out why you also chose to declare your interest to contest for the post of governor of Cross River State in 2015?
Thank you very much, I don’t know if the word ‘declare’ is the appropriate word to use here because I think the word that is more appropriate at the moment is ‘consult’ because I am actually consulting by way of sharing my thoughts with the PDP family and the leadership of the party. I have tried to do this since December 2013 and have limited my consultation within the PDP because like you know, ours is a democracy that is platformed on political parties. So ones’ interest must first be generated within that platform. So The first thing I thought important to do was to express my desire to the leadership of the party and that is what I have done up till now. I have been sharing my thoughts and expressing my aspiration to succeed Senator Imoke, our governor if it is the will and interest of the people of the state. Like I said, the aspiration must be promoted from within a platform and mine is the PDP that is why am starting with the family.
Now that you are still consulting with the PDP family, what has been the response of the family members?
Well, PDP like you know will always allow a level playing field. This is what they have done so far. Like you said yourself, quite a number of us are in the field so to speak. Though we know eventually we will all be subjected to some form of criteria and assessment which too, I believe will be done at the level of the family. So for now, in terms of response, I can tell you that I have received quite some encouragement because I think that I have been able to clearly articulate my vision to the extent that those I have spoken to are convinced that if given the opportunity, I will discharge that responsibility creditably. So, the response has been quite encouraging.
If you look at national political representation and appointments, Yala where you come from is not at par with other LGAs in the north where the post has been zoned. Are you making a case for equity to be extended to that level?
I must confess that I haven’t pull it down to that level because I see the vision as larger than looking at it from that micro level, so to speak. However, that is not to say that one would not be making a case that fair representation should also trickle down within the north. But for now, I haven’t done that but rather am looking at the big picture which is what should be taken at this point. The big picture is yes, we have been able to make a good case and the leadership of our party in terms of the enlarged caucus of the PDP has agreed that the position should go north and anywhere in the north as a matter of fact is north; don’t you think so? So basically, what we should be looking at is capacity, pedigree and the ability to discharge this responsibility in the way and manner that one will not embarrass the people of the north, embarrass His Excellency – the governor that has done so much to secure the position for the north, that will not embarrass the people of Cross River State. That to me is what is paramount – whatever person gets the consideration of our party, the primary thing is to get that man.
Speaker, quite a number of people from the north are angling for the position, have you tried to form a synergy amongst the aspirants to forestall any bad feelings when one person finally emerges?
Yes, I have and that is truly borne out of my personal initiative and the reason I have done that is that I feel that we have to build confidence in one another. I feel that we should build confidence and have taken the initiative to meet a few of them, I actually haven’t gone round all of them to say look, it is important that we talk so that we can build confidence to the extent that if Mr A emerges eventually, Mr B will still feel part of the system. When we don’t talk and build that confidence, the tendency is that Mr B can say ‘oh my God, my own is finished for the next eight years let me look for somewhere to go earn a living’. But I don’t think that is the Cross River State we are looking for or the Cross River State that our leaders that brought us up want to see. I think we should be able to sustain the good relationship that exist amongst us no matter our aspiration.
Aside from politics, we like to know what is happening to the Bebi Airstrip. Last year when the Good Governance Tour came to Cross River State we heard that flights will start landing there from May 2013 but it’s about a year now and nothing is happening there?
Well, I would not say am speaking from a position of authority. However, I will not say I don’t know what is happening there. I am part of government and the extent I know is that efforts are in place to make the place functional. For example, the Instrument Landing System, ILS that was a problem has been imported from Italy and the delivery of that has been made. The next thing is to procure an airline by way of an MOU that would handle the flights. You know we are a state that is low on finance so we try to handle and apply them in such a way that will not leave us stranded.
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