By CrossRiverWatch Admin
On June 13,2006 in his sitting room at the State Housing Estate Calabar, we were watching the live transmission of the final debate and vote on the third term scheming by OBJ.
Ken Nnamani then Senate President was presiding. With animated interest we saw the dazed Sen Ibrahim Mantu protesting to no one and for no reason.
Third term had gone and millions of unappropriated funds with it. An excited former governor Clement Ebri treated us to a hastily arranged lunch.
He proceeded to enlighten us on the implications of the victory to Nigeria. As then state chairman of Action Congress, I had gone to persuade him to lead the opposition parties into a coalition.
But he pleaded with me to spare him the agony of having to be seen to be contending with his boys – then Governor Donald Duke and Liyel Imoke.
As governor, Duke was his Commissioner of Finance while Imoke then SA to OBJ was sponsored to the Senate – all of them in 1992.
His personal assistant drafted from a rural community secondary school on level 8, was Usani Usani the present Minister for Niger Delta Affairs.
The horror of this tale is to show not the kindness of the man but his vision for the state and his country. What he saw in these young men in their 20s is a lesson in mentoring.
At 39, Ebri was elected governor. At 41, he was forced out of office. Yet in 20 months, his visionary investment in human capital is what Bill Gates came to echo 26 years after to the Nigerian government.
This does not diminish his infrastructural strides. Without contradiction, Clement David Ebri, is the FATHER OF MODERN CROSS RIVER.
How and Why? After the second republic misadventures that saw the ouster of squandermaniacs in Lagos and Calabar, the military interregnum produced flashes of hope.
Ebri was and remains an amazing sample of that hope. Today’s Cross River is populated with products and bye-products of H.E. Clement Ebri.
The exceptions are largely influenced by the Ebri Brigade. Every political actor on the Cross River political stage is directly or indirectly related or influenced by the Ebri legacy.
Since he left office, his Finance Commissioner, Donald Duke, in 1992 teaming up with the Senator Liyel Imoke, governed from 1999-2007 and handed over to the Senator from 2007-2015.
The present governor Ayade, is an original copy of governor Imoke who himself was a carbon copy of gov Duke.
Both Imoke and Duke have produced every state and National Assembly members from 1999 till date.
Only in our strange land can we find that the grand father of these children is living without any benefit from either his children or grand children.
In political terms, former governor Ebri has demonstrated a high capacity for utilizing human capital to mobilise for development.
At the National level his contacts are unparalleled. He served as Chairman of the Constitutional Review Committee. Was a member of the1989 Constituent Assembly.
Strategically, it is politically expedient that the office of National Chairman be zoned to not just the South South but to Cross River state.
This will ensure that the low hanging fruits are plucked with ease to re-enforce Edo state.
It will be politically suicidal to bring a stiff-necked chairman or continue with an Edo chairmanship where we are already having a government to hold the ground for APC.
Of all the zones in southern Nigeria, only the South/South is not likely to gun for the Presidency in the near future.
Therefore, the choice of a mediator and conciliatory should be an exposed former governor,former national party chairman, a constituent assembly member, 1999 constitution review committee chairman, Editor of Nigerian Chronicle, a national daily and chief executive officer of a private company, bank director and a widely travelled personality, H.E. Clement David Ebri.
He is the fit and proper chairman for APC at this turbulent moment. He is a former governor; so governors and parliamentarians will respect him.
His reach is rich enough to steer the ship of our oarty to winning ways. His age and intellect are assets in abundance within the southern Nigeria.
Clement Obun is a chieftain of the APC and wrotes from Cakar.
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