By Laureta Akpan
Video tapes have emerged showing the state governor, Senator Liyel Imoke endorsing the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma Egba, SAN for a third term in office during the 2011 campaigns.
In the video tapes of the 2011 campaigns in Yakurr and Abi LGA as well as meetings with stakeholders, the governor is seen vehemently advancing Ndoma Egba’s long years and experience in the Senate as strong points for the State and reasons why Egba should be returned.
He argued that Benue people have continued to return David Mark since 1999 because they appreciate the value of occupying the Senate Presidency and encouraged Cross Riverians to return Senator Egba to continue to guarantee a leadership position in the Senate.
While presenting Senator Egba to party faithfuls in a campaign ground in Yakurr in 2011, the governor who spoke in Pidgin English said: “This is the leader of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The man sabi talk! E sabi disturb! E sabi disturb people for Abuja say my people need road, my people need health care, my people need this… Because the man na leader, because this man na the oga pata pata for Senate, them dey listen to am. No go send fresh man o, no go make mistake, u go come send somebody wey no sabi how Senate dey. This na the person wey sabi Abuja. The good things wey we want for Yakurr, na this man go bring am. So vote, support for Victor Ndoma Egba.”
While addressing his kinsmen in Abi and presenting Senator Egba to them, Imoke also said: “When you look at the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is the place where people go and they talk well for us. When they talk well for us, the people will listen. Before, Cross River no get mouth, our people just dey there, dey there nyamaa, no fit do anything until we send person wey become leader. The leader of the Senate. Since wey dem create Cross River, since the beginning of Cross River, after Joseph Wayas from Ogoja, Cross River State has never seen any leadership. The one wey we don get, we go hold am. You send another person, that one na fresh man, e go start, na him salary na him e go dey take, e no fit bring anything come here. No make mistake. Anybody wey deceive you, this is the man wey when I call am, I say Gitto no dey work here, e go go meet Gitto them come do the work. When I call am, I tell am say Calabar Ikom road, say e no dey work, because e be leader, them dey answer am. Make we no make mistake o. Make we no send one person wey no sabi Abuja o. when e reach there e go dey look the bridge say kai this Abuja fine o. na so this place dey, four years go pass, nothing go reach una oooooo……. Nothing! So don’t make a mistake. Don’t be deceived. Cross River can never vote, Abi can never vote opposition. Abi will never vote opposition and Cross River will never vote opposition. So for the coming election, for the coming election, Cross River state will deliver and will deliver well for Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, the Leader of the Senate, we send him back to serve us well.”
In campaigns with party stakeholders, the governor also gave lavish endorsement of the Senate Leader:
“Our distinguished Senator Victor Ndoma Egba. A lot of people don’t even understand what the leadership of the Senate is. They don’t understand; since Joseph Wayas in 1979, Cross River state has never produced anything like a Leader in our Senate. Because we sent somebody that is articulate, learned, exposed, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, he became the Leader of the Senate. He is one person that I can tell, go and see the Minister of Works, tell him that the road from Ugep to Abomege, the contractor is not performing. He is the one that I can tell to go and see the Minister of Health, tell him that his Chief Medical Director of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital has to be a Cross Riverian. He is the one that I will send and will tell him, go and meet the Minister of Water Resources and tell him that Cross River people have said that they want more water. He is a leader. His role is to represent us in Abuja. Anybody that has no capacity to do the things I am telling you, let’s not make a mistake. Some people want to go to the Senate now, now and when they reach there, they will be starting from square one. Even committee Assistant Chairman, they won’t give them. How will they represent us? Assistant Chairman of Committee, they cannot get. The Senate is going into a sixteenth year, from 1999, we are in 2011; so the next set of Senators are in their sixteenth year. There are some Senators, the Senate President has been in the Senate since 1999. Do you think that Cross River State will send somebody new who is coming for the first time, he doesn’t even know the entrance to the Senate, he doesn’t know the door…to go and do what?”
And he told another gathering in this clip that: “For the place where them dey go, ehn hehe, you don’t send fresh people, it’s when people are strong. If the person you send before is not holding something, the person has gone there, he hasn’t done well, you can say ehn hehe, come back, let another person go. But these ones, the two that we have sent, this one, Senator Ndoma Egba is the, there are six states in the South South, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo, Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa. Each of them has three three three three Senators, the most senior, their oga of all of them is Senator Ndoma Egba. That’s why he is the leader. He is the most senior senator from the south. I am sure some of you are keeping abreast with what is going on in Nigeria and you know that even now David Mark who is the current Senate President, the people of Benue are sending him back, he has been there for 12 years, this is number sixteenth year because they know the value of being the Senate President. They know if they send another person, that person will be at the end of the ladder. So because Victor is the most senior person and the Deputy Leader of the Senate and because of his ability to influence things for the benefit of Cross River, if I need anything and I call Victor please see the Minister of Works, see the President, see the Vice President, see the Minister of Environment, see the MD of NNPC, Victor doesn’t need appointment because of his stature. You send a new person, you say please see the Vice President, he will first ask me, oga how I go take reach there? So we don’t need that. Cross River hasn’t developed, we are not a rich state yet, our economy is not that tight, we need those resources from Abuja that is why we want them to go back and continue with the good work that they are doing.”
The question then is what has changed between 2011 and now or rather, what went wrong?
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