Cross River 2017 LG Elections: Why Yakurr Chairman Must Come From Ekori BY ENO IYAMBA

In Columnists, Opinion, Politics
Barrister Eno Iyamba

The Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission (CROSIEC), the body statutorily empowered to conduct council polls in the State, has released the timetable and programs for the forthcoming local government elections slated for 17th June, 2017.

As the political atmosphere unfolds, it is necessary to emphasize the need for the people of Yakurr to adopt a consensus chairmanship candidate (irrespective of party affiliation) and consolidate on the new system of zoning political positions in Yakurr between constituency 1 and constituency 2.

It is imperative that in the spirit of fairness and even distribution of political positions in Yakurr, other sister communities should support and throw their weight behind an Ekori man to become the next chairman of Yakurr come 17th June, 2017.

Perhaps it is pertinent to note that the various communities that make up the Yakurr nation in Cross River State have a common ancestry. They are brothers and sisters who migrated from the proverbial AKPA in the Bantu tribe of Cameroon. This naturally knitted common affinity has come to stay and manifests itself not just in language and culture but also in political circles.

However, Ugep being the headquarters and epicenter of Yakurr has always dominated the other communities in Yakurr especially in political settings. This notwithstanding, the people of Ugep have always recognized their sister communities in Yakurr as their kith and kin and often subscribed to a consensus of evenly distributing political positions in Yakurr in the spirit of equity, fair play and peaceful coexistence.

A simple analysis of the political configuration in Yakurr in recent past shows that Ugep community produced 3 chairmen in successive order for four consecutive tenures from 1999 to 2012. They include; Hon. Godwin Ettah who was chairman from 1999 to about 2003; Hon. Ubi Arikpo was chairman from 2003 to 2006 and Hon. Ubi Itam Ettah (Bomboy) took over and headed the council for two tenures from 2006 to 2012. Thereafter, the political configuration shifted to Nko community and Hon. Akpama was chairman until 15th December, 2016 when their tenure generally expired. Also within the political dispensation under review, Hon. Obeten Okorn of Ugep was in the Federal House of Reps from 1999 to 2007.

In making this analysis, I have not lost sight of the fact that Hon. Bassey Eko Ewa of Ekori is still in the Federal House of Reps and has been there since 2007. The point however is that with the present political configuration in Yakurr, it is obvious that in 2019 when Hon. Ewa’s tenure would have lapsed no Ekorian would be holding any elective political office, and thereby creates gross imbalance and disequilibrium.

Already at the moment, the Honorable Members representing Yakurr 1 and Yakurr 2 State constituency are from Idomi and Mkpani communities respectively. Idomi community also have a commissioner slot in the person of Dr. John Inyang who is the present Commissioner for Lands, while the interest of Assiga community is effectively represented by Dr. Sam Igile who is a topnotch in government.

Again, the immediate past chairman of Yakurr is from Nko community likewise the present Minister of the Niger Delta, while the Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on public prosecution is from Ugep.

From the foregoing and given the present political configuration, it stands to reason that the position of Chairman Yakurr Local Government Area in the forthcoming elections should be zoned and conceded unconditionally to Ekori community in the spirit of equity, fair play and democratic principles.

In the same token, the people of Ajere and Ntan council wards in Ekori must see reason to concede the chairmanship position to their brothers in Epenti council ward who have never had their fair share in any elective political office in Ekori.

It is on record that all elective political positions in Ekori have always been effortlessly yielded to either Ajere or Ntan council wards. And the people of Epenti council ward famous for their wholesome support, have always voted en block in favor of candidates from their sister council wards of Ajere and Ntan.

I call on the elders and political stakeholders of Yakurr to urgently rise to the occasion and do the needful for posterity sake. To do otherwise would be grossly unconscionable, undemocratic, inequitable and capable of generating bad blood and political imbalance in Ekori community and Yakurr in general.

Eno Iyamba (Esq.) is a Legal Practitioner who hails from Ekori in Yakurr local government area and based in Calabar.

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