Genius was always a two – way street. It can lead unto fortune. It can also lead unto damnation. The temperament is decided by the genius himself, and the fortunes thereof fall on the side of his wishes.
That is why an accused will confess to his lawyer how he stabbed the dead to death and the lawyer will advise him to plead “not guilty.” Many have gotten away with murder, because they hired a good lawyer.
By all tests and measurements, Attah Ochinke is a good lawyer. One of the best there is. He has argued that Boki people should not ask for a seat in the Federal House of Representatives, and already some of the jury are returning a verdict of acquittal. There lies the curse of the genius. To drive society and it’s thought processes this way or that way.
I don’t aim to give his wonderful homily a rain check. I only wish to point out the fallacy of his assumptions, especially where he feared that were Boki people to insist to contest in 2019, Ikom folks will not be obligated to respect zoning. Ikom people have never respected zoning.
There is a wide range of variance between facts and truth, and certainly, our great lawyer is in a better position to espouse these verities. For all the zonings he wrote about exist only in the hands of the giver of these offices, usually on the eve of the D – day. The truth is that there has never, ever been zoning of offices between Ikom and Boki. Alliances? Yes. Zoning? No.
Where there have been zoning at all, it would not have been possible for my own sister, the venerable and irrepressible Dr. (Mrs) Rose Wushishi to emerge Senator and the ebullient Prince Atibile (may their souls rest in paradise) to emerge as Senator and Member of House of Representatives at the same elections at the same time. I recall vividly that when Senator Imoke who was Governor wanted to send Chris Agibe to the House of Representatives, he asked the two caucuses of Boki and Ikom to meet, with Nzan Ogbe as the boogeyman. The first meeting ended without a resolution. At the second meeting at Axari Hotel, the late immutable Dr. Jimmy Ewa made the point that there has never been zoning between Ikom and Boki.
He asked, “When Ekok Ojogu defeated Michael Ogon, was there zoning? When Honorable (Dr.) Alobi Nyambi went to the House of Representatives, did Boki People not run?” No one had an answer and the meeting ended at that point, again without an agreement. I was in that meeting. Attah Ochinke was also in that meeting.
The truth is that the area has been a free forest to conquer, and the strongest has always taken the diadem. Honorable Jones Tamgban from Ikom ran against Eddy Ogon from Boki. In the two elections that Chris Etta won to the National Assembly, Ceejay Ojong and Ekum Ekok Ojogu from Ikom ran against him. In fact when he defeated Ceejay Ojong at the PDP primaries, he went and took a ticket in AD and ran against Chris Etta in the general elections.
In the case of the Senate, no zoning has ever been done before as well. Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba ran against Sir Patrick Iwara from Yakurr, Colonel Edor Obi (rtd) from Boki and others. The same thing is happening now. There are aspirants from Yakurr, Obubra, Etung, Ikom for the Senate. None from Boki, and that is the crux of the matter. Any other diversion to imaginary zoning patterns and agreements is simply going to Afghanistan. Boki people should and must offer themselves for elections into the two chambers, because we have the personnel, the resources and the gumption. That is what we have been saying all day long.
Attah Ochinke’s minimalist argument, I am afraid, caricatures the Boki man as inept and unproductive. Saying that the twelve years our sons spent in the National Assembly produced much less significance than his bosom friend Chris Agibe has done in three and a half years belittles our people and presents them as indolent in the eyes of the reading public.
It is a well-chronicled fact that it was Barrister Attah Ochinke and his associates who betrayed Boki sons and put Chris Agibe in the National Assembly. The least Barrister Ochinke ought to do is to allow Boki people lick their wounds of betrayal and defeat quietly. There is no reason to affront us any further with more insults.
I recall when we were planning the elections of 2015, in Ochinke’s residence, and needed money for a particular event, while appointees were struggling to raise fifty thousand Naira each, Dr. James Ewa announced that his friend, Chris Etta had sent five hundred thousand Naira as his contribution to that particular event. To my horror, many of our leaders told James Ewa to take the money back to Chris Etta. That is how much we hate ourselves. It was so, then. It is so, now.
Barrister Ochinke has never hidden his own desire to go to the National Assembly. Many times he has printed campaign materials for elections for Federal House. Many times, Senator Imoke and Senator Ndoma-Egba have persuaded him not to run. Could it be that his present arguments seek to protect his secret agenda with Chris Agibe to finish his tenure and hand over to him? That is not a bad idea in itself, judging by the sterling qualities of Attah himself, but to estoppel all aspirations for office by Boki people in order to protect that faraway event would be asking for a little too much.
I am not aware that the Governor has anointed any candidate for Senate. Boki people chose to run the lower chamber, perhaps, in recognition of the sheer force of the titans running for Senate. In Chris Agara, Sandy Onor and Bassey Ewa and others behemoths standing strong and tall like Iroko trees, and any of them can take the day. Barrister George Abang Ekpungu has resigned his Commissionership, Honorable Eddy Ogon, Honorable Feddy Ncha are already in the field consulting. I can wager a guess that more are coming. The more the merrier. Let the music play. Who the cap fits let them wear it.
If Chris Agibe has done as well as his friend, Attah Ochinke is arguing, so be it. And that being the case, he should sleep easy, knowing that he will win easy. We don’t run a one party state. Even if Attah forces Boki in PDP not to field a candidate in that election, there is APC, there are other parties. It is not business as usual anymore. If Chris Agibe desires to return to the National Assembly then he needs to begin to behave in a manner that shows that he is answerable to those who voted for him. Right now he believes he is only beholden to Ekiklema (the machine god), which is why Boki people must run elections for the Federal House of Representatives.
Dominic Kidzu is a journalist, he served as General Manager for the Nigerian Chronicle and is currently an aide to Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River on international donor.
NOTE:Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Dominic Kidzu, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.