Monday, 7 May 2018

Abi/Yakurr 2019: The battle for PDP's ticket and matters arising

|  7 May 2019 | Ukorebi Esien 

As the 2019 general elections draws closer,  with the political tempo of Cross River State gradually taking a higher momentum,  Ukorebi Esien takes a look at the matters arising with special interest on who becomes the PDP's flag bearer for Abi/Yakurr  House of Representatives.

The Abi/Yakurr Federal constituency has two local government areas with about 10 ward's in each local government area. The build up to the 2019 general elections has seen no less than 5 persons from the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP)family indicating interest to represent the good people of Abi/Yakurr in the Federal House of Representatives.
I will take out time to do a little analysis of these aspirant before delving into the matters arising. My analysis of these aspirant should not be taken as final as it is my personal opinion and have not been verified by any formal medium. 

First on my list is Engineer Wofia  Ewa. Ewa is a technocrat and lectures at Cross River University of Technology.  He is a dynamic young man who believes it's time to change the status quo and dynamics of political representation especially in Cross River state. 

According to him,  'There is a lot WE CAN CHANGE, and this CHANGE does not end or even begin with Institutions of Governance, but FIRST with the Character and Competence of the Citizens so preferably chosen to REPRESENT THE People'.

Ewa has several months ago during his declaration to run for the Federal office rolled out his blueprint with wonderful 21st century mind blowing ideas. 

Ewa who is said to have a very strong online presence with a technology savvy media team of experts has captured the hearts of many young constituents but what is worrisome is whether PDP is ready to risk giving it's party's flag to a new political entrants to face the likes of Chief Alex Ogbonna of the APC. In the general elections,  Ewa has a great chance of winning the seat based on the level of works done by him and his team. 

Next on my list is comrade Jerome Egbe, a one time SUG President of Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH) and Vice President of National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS)  Zone B. 

Currently Mr. Egbe is a lecturer in the department of civil engineering, Cross River University of Technology CRUTECH. 

The dogged youth leader cum activist believes in carrying out 'wide consultations amongst power brokers and constituents than embarking on campaigns when you are not even sure of your ticket'. 

Egbe who commands the followership of thousands of youths, especially from his Abi extraction has some huddles before him as he bids for his party's ticket for the Federal Job. His major obstacle for now is the fact most of the so called power brokers or godfathers in the Federal Constituency all have vested interest in the same seat and it will only take more than sheer godatherism and hardwork for Egbe to clinch the ticket. Judging from his level of preparation, one will deduce that he has confidence in his chi that has always given Victory in his undergraduate days election to also do same. This assertion is so because following the leadership tract of Mr. Egbe, you keep seeing him as an unlikely candidate but some, he emerges the winner. I pray that works for him this time around. 

Unconfirmed rumours has it that one Francis Ettah,  a one time Local Government chairman of Abi is also eyeing the Federal job. 

Ettah who is currently an appointee of The state government is said to have a very slim chance of picking the ticket.

The Bahumono born politician's  slim chances may not be unconnected to the the fact that he hails from an Abi extraction which has few power brokers and political giants. Those he may want to turn to across the river already have their sons at heart. 

But it is also rumoured in some quarters that Ettah is only aiming for the sun with a believe that if he can't get the sun he might eventually land on the moon. That is to say that he is hoping to be compensated with a state house ticket. 
I also believe he is not the only one with the negotiation intention as they all file out for the race. 

It would have been a surprise if the boy with the royal blood who is said to be very hungry for political powers did not indicate interest to join the Abi/Yakkur Federal race. 

Edward Osim is the 7th son of the paramount ruler of Abi local government area. With this,  he chooses to nick name himself Prince7. The young energetic prince and inlaw to a former president of Nigeria and an international Icon has indeed created a brand around himself and brought the family's name to the glaring eyes of the public. 

Prince 7 has survived not less than two assassination attacks in recent times and both of which might not be unconnected to his political ambition or his warring community, as his Usumotong community is at dagger drawn with a neighboring community called Ediba.

With his strong connections, although he is a political novice, Prince chances of snatching  the party's ticket is said to be very high. He is indeed a strong contender to battle with as it is been analysed that while his Paramount ruler Father rally's support among the chiefs, his father-in-law will compel a former governor of the state and a very strong power broker in the state who is also loyal to the former president to ensure his emergence. 

Although some youths are critical about prince 7 emergence owing to his inexperience in politics and representation. Others believe the young and youth friendly Prince has not done well when it comes to using the powers at his disposal. 'The question is,  how many youths has Prince 7 placed in a position of influence or given jobs through his so much talked about connections, how many youths has Prince 7 helped? '. A constituent queried. 

Another constituent said 'I cannot have an international icon and a former President as my father-in-law and my political reps at least in my state is as low as that of Prince 7. The governor should be begging to be close to me and not the other way round as I see it happen with him'. 

In what looks like a defense for the young prince, a close ally to Prince Edward has said that Prince 7 is a humble young man who wants to build his own political empire and not to ride on the back of another person. that is why this house of representatives means so much to him. 

This may give reasons to why he quoted as saying that he has no godfather, nor mentor and does not read books.  The young prince was said to have made those statements while addressing a group of youth in a church in Calabar during the international Youth day celebration. 

The last on my list of PDP aspirants for the Abi/Yakurr Federal seat is the current speaker and a two time house of Assembly member representing Abi in the Cross River State House of Assembly,  Rt Hon John Gaul Lebo. 

Lebo was a practicing solicitor before joining politics in 2011 where he was elected into the state house of Assembly to speak for the good people of Abi.  

Many who have come close to Lebo will attest that he is a sound, eloquent, intelligent and smart lawmaker, although most of his constituents says he is as cunning as his political father. 

Lebo is an alumnus of Harvard with a sound ICT base and has special interest and certifications in social media laws. He is also a very strong advocate of effective representation who believes only people with capacity should be elected or appointed to lead. He often queries why the so called power brokers or godfathers will always want to file in candidates they know have no capacity to deliver. Recently he blamed the Nation's constitution for allowing school cert holders to contest for sensitive offices in the nation. 

As he seeks to grow his political career by going to Abuja to represent his people,  one major obstacle before him may just be the little Prince 7.

If I were to root for a candidate for the Federal job both those from PDP and other political parties, I will certainly root for the intelligent speaker John Gaul Lebo although majority of his constituents sees him as a stingy person. 

My rooting for Lebo will be because of his well of knowledge and experience in the art of legislature and his leadership capacity. But we all know that there's more to elective leadership especially in this part of our world. 

Despite the speaker's abilities, capacities  and connections, his chances of clinching the party's ticket may thwarted as latest rumours has it that a memo left Otueke recently to the governor's office in Calabar. The content of the memo which was personally delivered to the governor by one of his aides known as MC is yet to be known, but it is believed that it carries an instruction to ensure the ticket of Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency returns to Abi and the Bahumono extraction in particular. 

As such events and many more begin to unfold, one is tempted to wonder how possible this instruction can be effectively carried out by a governor who is not even certain of his own ticket and at this particular time where PDP has resolved not to impose candidates so it could have a better footing in the forth coming elections. 

Let's not also forget that governor Wike of Rivers state is believed to be behind the emergence of Uche Secondus as the PDP national chairman and both Wike and Secondus will be nobody today where it not for Mama 'P'. It will only be wisdom in their part to go against party's resolution to ensure Mama 'P's  beloved son-in-law picks the party's ticket. And we all know that the former first lady will go to any length to see that happens. 

Taking a broader look across party lines, I will want to say that the three major contenders for the seat aside the incumbent Rt Hon Bassey Ewa who is rumoured to be seeking for a senatorial seat, I think the likes of Rt Hon John Gaul Lebo,  Prince Edward Osim and Chief Alex Ogbonna. 

In terms of preparedness, I give it to Wofia Ewa,  he is a prepared as the word go. His blueprint is intact and very apt,  recently he just unveiled his charter and some set of proposed projects he wishes to embark on if given the chance.  Wofia is one of the prepared Nigeria Youth who knows what he wants and just waiting for opportunity.  His organised campaign structure is just so amazing that looking at him, I feel he is already a lawmaker. 

If there were to be a deputy lawmaker in the house I would have suggested Lebo becomes the lawmaker for Abi/Yakurr while Wofia deputises him just for the sake of experience and growth in the business. 

But that may never happen because political power players in the state and PDP have gotten their games play ready. According to an insider's information,  Prince 7 has been slatted for the seat while speaker Lebo will be settled with the office of an Attorney General of the State and Alex Ogbonna will be settled with a national appointment. The powers has promised to make Alex appointment possible whether APC or PDP wins at the center. This arrangement will only be possible if and only if Sen. Liyel Imoke does not pull a smarter string on his boss and former President as he is known taking everyone by surprise with his eleventh hour magics. 

May be the cabal should consider the likes of Wofia Ewa and Jerome Egbe for an appointment or state house representation.

But whatever turns out to play in the run of the game, one thing is certain 2019 will definitely not be a work over for anybody in Abi/Yakurr especially in the general election where electorates have been massively enlightened and mobilised to vote, 2019 won't be as usual for politicians. 

Ukorebi Esien blogs and edits for TDN. 
He is also a Social Media Strategist who tells the Nigerian story one article at a time. All views are mine.