Tuesday, 1 May 2018


| 1 May 2018 | Igwe Austine Kenor-Olom

The political vibes resonating across the length and breadth of Cross River state appear to wear different tones for different purposes according to the priorities that lay untapped before the people. While the tone may be that of gleefulness and jubilation in one political region,it is that of teary indignation,suffocation,perspiration and blatant agitation for justice in another region.

Politics and governance are the inextricable bedrocks that determine the growth and development of any society at all levels,even the rural communities,hence the scramble for political fairness and social justice.This write-up however intends to have an overview of the political trajectory of the northern senatorial district of Cross River State,with a view to finding a justification for Ukelle Nation,otherwise known as Yala II state constituency to produce the next Senator to represent Cross River Northern Senatorial District come 2019.
Northern Cross River State comprises 5 Local Govt Areas,among them are; Ogoja,Obudu, Obanliku,Bekwarra and Yala.

 Yala is subdivided into two; Yala 1 and Yala II. Each political dispensation has had one of us represent us at the National Assembly,the Senate precisely.
From the get-go of civilian rule,power sharing has being one of its cardinal elements. It was this reason that saw Dr Joseph Wayas from Obanliku LGA elected twice in the 1st and 2nd Republics as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Dr Joseph Wayas rose from being a Senator on the floor to become the Senate President in the 2nd republic.

 Then,in the 3rd republic, Dr. Paul Ukpo from Yala 1 was elected Senator,however, their stay at the Senate was short-lived by the military intervention.

Fast forward to the 4th republic which started in 1999,Barr Kanu Agabi from Bekwarra was elected Senator to represent the northern senatorial district. But in a twist of fate,he discontinued his senatorial position as a result of his nomination and subsequent appointment as Minister by former President Olusegun Obasanjo,where he served as the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of justice. It was then that a by-election was conducted and Mr Musa Adede,the owner of Kings Airline at the time, from Obanliku emerged as the Senator where he served for three years.

Subsequently,in 2003, Mr Greg Ngaji from Yala I was elected Senator,a position he occupied for four considerable years and was re-elected in 2007 where he served till 2011,making it 8 straight years. During the 2011 general elections,Prof Ben Ayade from Obudu was elected Senator,where he served for 4 years before he became the current Governor of Cross River State.

In the same vein,just in 2015, Senator Rose Okoji Oko from Yala 1 again was elected Senator to represent northern Cross River,a position she is currently occupying and seeking re-election in 2019.

So,in summation,it is seen that Yala1 has produced three (3) Senators within a stretch of four Democratic dispensations,leaving Yala II (Ukelle Nation) with nothing! This is a very pathetic situation and it is even more saddening to see very young and notable Ukelle citizens not bothered about this bitter reality.

Comparatively,the situation is even more pathetic with the Federal House of Representatives. Now,the Federal Constituency is usually comprised of two LGAs,and in our own case,it is Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency. It is therefore noteworthy to state that, from the days of the 1st Republic till date,no Ukelle Indigene has ever occupied a space at the lower chamber of the National Assembly, rather, it has always been shuttled between Yala 1 and Ogoja LGA.

Going by the political analysis above,I have deliberately REFUSED to join the bandwagon to castigate all the political elite of Ukelle Nation even if they have not delivered to expectations, but I would rather commend them for the different efforts they have made to have a shot at the national level even if they have not secured victory.I am quite aware that most of them have made tremendous efforts to give it a contest for National Offices,but that has only been limited to the scope of their empowerments and political dominance. 

This is not in any way meant that I have hard feelings towards the Yala community, of course, not at all, we are one and we remain so,but we must take into consideration mutual respects and recognition.

It is my considered opinion therefore that,since the Senatorial position is still within the domain of Yala LGA,it will be wise to allow Yala II (Ukelle Nation) to produce the next Senator in 2019 to serve for four (4) years to complete Senator Rose Oko's eight (8) years.

I do not care what political platform any Ukelle person wants to pursue his/her political ambition at the National level either for the House of Reps or Senate, but I would rather spur them to pursue their tickets vigorously at their party levels,where any of them is able to clinch the ticket,such a candidate should have the full backing of the entire Ukelle Nation because we have a shared priority to have a space at the National level,regardless of the political party involved. In politics,there is no mathematical certainty to guarantee any promise or verbal agreement, we must work for it if we must achieve it collectively. 

We must rise to stretch our presence across the entire Senatorial district and bury any form of selfish inclination that can jeopardize our chances. No one can tell the Ukelle story more than the very stories we can create and share in our contemporary world. The time is now that the seat is still within our domain.