Central Senatorial Seat And The Logic Of Power Rotation BY SAM ARIKPO

In Columnists, National News, Opinion, Politics, Reports

by crossriverwatch admin

Chief Sam Arikpo
Chief Sam Arikpo

As the twenty fifteen elections draw nearer, there are parameters and neo-parameters being figured out for the choice of representatives at the polls.

One noticeable feature of the forth coming polls is the adoption of strategies to ensure that no ethno-geographical entity is marginalized or left out in the power distribution equation.

For instance, in Cross River State, a very logical proposition by the PDP leadership is that the Governorship of the state should unequivocally shift to the Northern Senatorial District come 2015.

This laudable initiative is informed by the political reality that the Southern and Central Senatorial District of the state having taken slots at the Governorship of the state, it becomes clearly illogical, unjust, unfair and even prejudicial for power to return to any of the two Senatorial Districts without the North having a taste of it.

And so for now, in the psyche of right-thinking Cross Riverians, the Governorship of the state should shift to any of the five Local Government Areas that make up the Northern Senatorial District.

This reasoning is transferable to the Central Senatorial District.

This district is made up of six local Government Areas, i.e. Yakurr, Abi, Obubra, Ikom, Etung and Boki Local Government Areas.

Accordingly, three of the local government areas that is, Abi, Yakurr and Obubra belong to the old Obubra division while Boki, Etung and Ikom were once part of the old Ikom division.

This equation makes it simple for the Central Senatorial District to rotate representation at the Senate between the two old divisions.

Alas! that is not the case.

In 1999, Senator (Dr.) Matthew Mbu from Boki Local Government Area was elected into the Senate to represent the zone.

When in 2003 he could not return, for whatever reason, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba SAN, from Ikom Local Government Area took his place.

Right now Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba is still the occupant of the office, which through his robust legislative capabilities, has attracted the enviable position of Senate Leader.

It is this excellent performance at the Senate, his love for the people of his district by attracting meaningful projects to the area, that many Cross Riverians, (within and outside the Central Senatorial District) have agitated that he should go back to the Senate.

However, should a change be contemplated, that is, should it be considered at any quarter that Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba should not return to the Senate, then the logical step will be to move the Senatorial Representation to old Obubra.

This is because old Ikom has had a fair share in the Senate representation having moved from Boki to Ikom. If it now goes to Etung Local Government Area as some people are wont to speculate, then it will mean that the Central Senatorial seat is the property of old Ikom.

I dare say it is a slap on old Obubra, for it may mean one of two things: that old Obubra lacks the capacity to fill the Senatorial seat or that old Ikom is the only area fit for the Senate.

Even if that were so, it will be stretching the argument to severe limits.

Indeed, old Ikom alone cannot produce the votes to return a Senator neither can any right-thinking politician rely on Old Obubra alone to win.

There should be a symbiotic understanding of the sharing of the various offices akin to the Senate.

It therefore stands to reason that in a contest involving two axis, anytime there is a change in candidature, the pendulum should swing to the other axis.

As things stand, if old Ikom is to retain the Central Senatorial seat, it is best to stick with the present occupant, the Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, for many reasons, paramount among is that the District and entire State gains from the seat which he is occupying, otherwise, the pendulum should swing to old Obubra.

That is definitely the stand of old Obubra and it should be understood by all, including the PDP and all the aspirants to the seat.

This is also a clarion call on all sons and daughters of old Obubra that it will amount to selling off their due if they support the movement of power from Ikom Local Government Area to Etung Local Government Area, all in the same old Ikom. Indeed, any true son or daughter of old Obubra who does so should hide his or her head in shame!

For one is convinced that no true son or daughter of old Obubra, will support such oppressive and tendentious attitude.

Now, there is this argument in some highly placed quarters that Old Obubra has produced two Governors, Senator and Deputy Governor in Senator Imoke, Chief Clement Ebri and the Late Chief John Okpa hence the logic of shifting the Senatorial seat still within old Ikom to Etung Local Government Area.

I dare say that whoever is championing such an agenda is stretching the limit of logic!

It is clear enough that the six Local Government Areas that make up the Central Senatorial District are equally divided into two geo-political units of old Obubra and old Ikom?

It is also clear and fair that in matters of rotational sharing when one division takes, the other should also take?

If one were to stretch that argument, then the Senate slot should go to Obubra Local Government Area which has neither produced Governor nor Senator, while the Deputy Governor that came from there did not even exhaust his tenure.

The question is, is it fair, and just to keep changing Senators within just one block to the exclusion of the other?

Certainly not! If there is need for a change, the old Obubra should; otherwise let the status quo remain.

It is not debatable that for now Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba is Cross River State’s most prized political asset. It is also clear that one’s rise in politics is not just a common place thing. Indeed it is opportunistic and scarce.

For now no legislator in the state, or even the South – South has the capacity Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba by this position has, to attract Federal presence to the state.

Do we need to trade that advantage with the vaunting ambition of an individual who will be going to the Senate as an unranked Senator?

The problem is that we confuse the person of Victor Ndoma-Egba with the occupant of the office of the Senate Leader.

The office of the Senate Leader is an important office (and it is not allocated to Cross River State).

Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba is the Leader of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

In other words, we in the Central Senatorial District may be saying NO! We don’t want the office of Senate Leader. Give us another Senator, we don’t care what we shall lose.

Ah! A typical case of the Jews who said to Pilate, release for us Barabas, the armed robber, but kill the good man, the Christ?

Hmm! Can all the good and reasonable people speak up? Should we allow ourselves to be misled?

There is enough reasons to support the Senate leader back to the senate in view of the numerous gains accruing to the state and indeed the party hierarchy itself. I dare say that the party itself at the National level and the government still need his services.

The wisdom of returning the Senator is that he becomes a super ranked senator which in ordinary parlance is a privileged class within the senate.

This is why Benue North Senatorial District is returning Senate President, David Mark and Enugu State is working towards returning Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

There is need for Senator Ndoma-Egba to join these experienced leaders to work to stabilize the next republic. It is the Nation we are talking about and not the selfish thinking of turn by turn.

Is it not time all political stakeholders in the Central Senatorial District, indeed the state to call all their representatives together and ask them to show or publish their achievements, for the people to see? Not achievements in terms of handouts to people or their personal acquisition.

Or are we being assured that whoever is taking over from Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba will become Senate Leader or something better?

In conclusion, we need peace in that Central District, or is it a game of struggling for a higher position in order to be begged and given a soft landing by asking for the status quo to be maintained?

Of the two, one has represented his people in the state and Federal House for a total of 16 (sixteen) years while the other has done 11yrs in one house.

My appeal is let there be decency, respect, decorum, good ambition, peace and not lust in our political endeavors.

Chief Sam Arikpo is a journalist and media aide to Senator Ndoma Egba, he writes from Calabar.

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