By Jonathan Ugbal
Mr. Akwaji Henry Omang emerged recently as the flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to contest for Bekwara State Constituency seat in the Cross River State House of Assembly. In this exclusive interview with CrossRiverWatch, he shared his background, aspiration and dream for his people and Cross River state at large.
The man Akwaji Henry Omang, who is he?
I am Akwaji Henry Omang, I hail from Ukpah village in Bekwara Local Government Area, Cross River State. I am the first son of Mr. and Mrs. Akwaji Joseph Oko, I was born in Ukpah, spent my early years there before moving with my mother to Akure where my dad was stationed as a Mobile Police officer in MOPOL 17, I started my primary education there before my mother, brothers, sisters and I left in 1991 back for Ukpah and completed my primary education at St Augustine Primary School, I proceeded to the prestigious Ukpah Community Secondary School which I left in my Junior Secondary School, JSS 3 to Obudu to stay with my uncle where I sat for my SSCE in 1997 before moving to Lagos. I gained admission into the University of Calabar in 2009 to study Law and by the grace of God I graduated about a month ago, and I am happily married with two lovely daughters.
Fresh from campus, what informs your desire to contest for a seat in the Cross River State House of Assembly to represent your constituency?
If I go deep to explain what prompted me to take the bull by the horn, you wont leave this place (pauses and breaks into a broad smile) I am a born progressive, if you visit any of the areas where I have lived or stayed, like UNICAL and Lagos where I was a youth President and ask about me, they will tell you this guy is a ”I no dey gree” type of guy. I am a humanist, some people call me activist, I am a realist, and I dont fake realism. To answer your question, Bekwara nation has been in the hands of scavengers, inhuman elements and barbarians. They connive and ruin the nation where I hail from, the people are downtrodden and have no voice, they come out and cast their votes in pain/agony and remain there for as long as the ruling class and oligarchs wants them to. I dont think David was bigger than me when he became King of Israel, or when he defeated Goliath. I want to bring the dividends of democratic governance, good governance to the downtrodden legislative wise because that is the crux where change can truly come from. I want to make them understand the essence of representation, to let them know it is not about buying big cars and building mansions with public funds, by God’s grace I will be a professional Lawyer soon, I am not hungry, I will remit whatever is accruable to the treasury of my people to them and leave up to expectation in my duties as a legislator if elected.
Cross River State is viewed as a PDP state, why go for the opposition rather than join the winning team as they are usually called?
I have always been a unionist, a human rights advocate and activist, I can’t queue in a party that I have studied over the years and come to conclude that which is practically so and empirical to Cross Riverians that they are anti-human and only about ”keep the people poor so that they will remain loyal to us”, APC is the clear alternative and solution, in APC I believe.
What are your chances against the PDP that has vowed to remain in power?
Great! I am like David and they are Goliath, like in the biblical times, by God’s grace I will emerge victorious except if the wishes of my people are robbed.
Briefly, what is your stand on the welfare of your people?
My mission is to expedite, bring to bear the principle expressed in the Latin Maxim, Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto translated as the welfare of the people is the supreme law and nothing but that.
Bakassi is a critical issue at the moment that the state legislature has been silent about, how would you react to that since you are going to join them?
Governance is about the people like I have always said, the public servant is a public property, he ought not to appropriate what belongs to the people to himself. For a Government headed by a legal personality, a Lawyer! to sit down, fold its arms and watch as a part of its administrative domain is given out on a platter of gold without serious legal challenges to that shows incompetence. If my people are going down, I will join them and lift them up. There is no welfare package for the downtrodden in Cross River State and many other PDP controlled states, only the ruling class enjoys welfare packages.
Cross River State’s debt is over 50 percent of her Gross Domestic Product, GDP, as an aspiring legislator what do think about that?
If the sitting governor approaches the Legislature which by God’s grace I will be a member of come 2015, I will be or champion the vanguard that calls for a proper and transparent audit of monies borrowed, that way Cross Riverians will know that for their state to be owing that much, much must have been done equivalent to the income/expenditure.
Considering the fact that times are hard, how did you raise money for your campaign?
(Laughs) It has not been easy, friends, relatives, well wishers and associates have been quite helpful; Odey Ochicha, the gubernatorial aspirant has been really a fatherly figure, both in cash and kind, people who know me and believe in me have continued to shower me with support and God will replenish their sources. The donations keep coming in because people are ready and willing to accept change and with the structures on ground, it is already here.
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