These two gentlemen, Peter Akpanke a.k.a. ‘Peter the Rock’ and Ela Ushie, are both angling to represent Obudu/Obanliku/Bekwarra Federal constituency of Cross River North in the House of Representatives come 2023. Not forgetting that the incumbent, Legor Idagbo, is still preparing to return. I am from Obudu. Whoever wins will be my representative and I will be their constituent.
Peter Akpanke, I personally know him and have been relating with him and asking questions. I do not know and have never spoken with or met Ela Ushie, but I have been reading snippets about him on social media from his supporters. Legor Idagbo as our incumbent rep, is known to all of us from the constituency and I have been relating with him. For now, this trio appears to be the gladiators.
I have been listening to the sound from the supporters of the three and even from the aspirants themselves that I relate with, and I am still yet to get a clear message of the plans they intend to execute on the floor of the Green Chambers in the 10th Assembly. What I see is all of them struggling to out-give themselves as they do their routines back home to meet our people. For instance, Mr. A, doles out 10 okada and Mr. B comes to give 15, therefore Mr. B has more capacity than Mr. A.
It is looking more like a queue of power seekers taking advantage of the excruciating poverty of our people to flaunt who is the most generous giver, with a view to winning their heart. While this is not bad in any form, as acts of benevolence to cushion the effects of the economic hardship, the near absence of intellectual content in policy expectation and issues-based representation at the Green Chambers, should worry anyone who cares about the future of our constituency.
Our federal constituency boasts of some of the most intelligent people in our State not just in politics but in several other sectors, scattered far and near. We need to demonstrate that depth in our search for quality leadership and avoid pitfalls that have stagnated us despite our potentials.
While we tarry in these year-in-year-out methods that have obviously won elections for those who patronize them, we should also tamper it with starting and sustaining a discussion about the maximization of these potentials, bearing in mind that, giving aid, doing charity and philanthropy have never and do not bring development. They are intended as stop-gaps.
Obudu has a landmass of 453 km² and an estimated population of 215,800 people. Bekwarra has a landmass of 306 km² with an estimated population of 141,000 people, making it the smallest Local Government Area in Cross River North. The population of Obanliku at the last count is 146,500 while its land area covers 1,057 km². So, with a combined land area covering 1,816 km² and a combined estimated population of 503,300 people, anticipated to be nearing a million already, the predominantly youthful population of our constituency holds a lot of promise.
What are the kinds of planned legislations or oversight that will provide leverage for profitable utilization of our arable land space and youthful labor?
With prevailing progress limiting factors like acute energy shortage, lack of access to digital tools, lack of access to capital and agricultural incentives in our constituency, what are some of the planned legislations or oversight or even budgetary appropriations that will break the bridges and turn the tide?
What are the alternative or supplementary health interventions that are planned to ease existing challenges and expand access to primary health care in our communities?
What can constituents begin to do now in support and preparation for some of these new developments?
All these ingredients are missing in the ongoing conversation and while you may think these issues aren’t what will win elections for you, you should at least know that they are the issues that will promote development and that a critical section of your constituents will only be satisfied after seeing that.
After the Yuletide, I really expect to see another flavor unless we are resigned to the fact that what our people deserve, is what they are getting, then we should also prepare for a future waiting for us with a knife.
Citizen Agba Jalingo.
Citizen Agba Jalingo, Publisher of CrossRiverWatch and a rights activist, is a Cross Riverian and writes in from Lagos.
NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Agba Jalingo and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.
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