Wednesday, 11 July 2018

The Avatar’s Breasts By Azogor Ideba

Which contemporary politician in Cross River has not suckled Liyel's succulent breasts; who did not find a generous supply? Which, including those in the opposition has not tasted the nourishing milk since 1999? Which after sucking remained the same?

Some tasted the breasts and became Governors, others fed from the breasts to become National Assembly members. Many suckled State House of Assembly, Chairmanship and Councillorship seats from the same breasts. What about those who tasted the milk of appointment and employment at the federal, state and local government levels. Yet, there are others who milked contracts and many other forms of favour or financial assistance from those pair of breasts. Who indeed has not suckled?

When in 1992 Liyel won election into the Nigeria Senate to represent Cross River Central Senatorial District, which was to be his major incursion into politic-sphere, riding on his father's spiralled popularity Dr S.E Imoke a reputable frontline first republic politician who had left his mark on the country's political track, Liyel was to write his name in the country's political register.

Even though the 3rd National Assembly was short-lived, the political Avatar or call him the political Architect of modern Cross River if you wish, Liyel Imoke, had conveniently announced the resurgence of the Imoke's political dynasty.   

After the botched 3rd republic by the Sani Abacha led military junta, Liyel had quickly withdrawn to rethink his chosen path. He had begun to strategize towards a re-launch whenever another opportunity came. In fact, he went on a voyage of reinvention. Contacts were made with strategic alignments and realignments within the period (1993-1998).

Coming forth, Liyel exuded confidence on the national scene and instantly became a force to reckon with.

When the stage was set for a return to democratic rule by the military administration of Gen Abdusallam Abubakar, Liyel had begun to lubricate his local and national contacts in readiness to play in the big league. As the military eventually turned on the green light which signalled the commencement of the process that birthed the 4th republic, the name Liyel Imoke resonated with the country's political class. He was among the first eleven.

The birth of the People's Democratic Party in 1998 created the pathway Liyel was to tread and the platform to consolidate his political tentacles while displaying his eccentric credentials.

Then came the time to partition the PDP ahead of the general elections that was to hold in 1999, Liyel was quickly identified and handed the captaincy of the PDP team that was despatched to Cross River State. And since then, the Liyel captained team has never lost any match. This is simply due to his leadership intelligence and his mastery of the turf. His uncommon passion for the people and the state is another factor. He loves his team mates dispassionately and carries everybody along. Charisma flows in his veins; its aura sometimes got people wondering the stock he is made from. He comes across often as an inexplicable character. The calm and humility at which he resolves seemingly repugnant issues is second to none. Every problem is surmountable with the right approach and attitude, Liyel believes.

From 1999 to present day, Imoke's grip of the system has been impervious; his biggest assets are his political children and this is irrespective of party affinity. He still remains father to all including the prodigals. He is more like the conveyor belt of Cross River politics. Undermine Liyel at your own peril.

Liyel was actively at the background when Donald Duke emerged as governor in 1999, had a successful 8 years reign and eventually transited power to the 'captain' of the team in 2007. Liyel was the chairman of the boardroom and the chief strategist when opposition eventually became non-existent in Cross River. The family grew in leaps and bounds; became stronger and more united under Liyel's 8 years administration.

Yet Liyel's super imposing political figure made it possible for His Excellency Senator (Prof) Ben Ayade to emerge as the governor of Cross River in 2015. Indeed, the biggest threat to the Liyel's political dynasty came during the build up to the 2015 general elections.   


He fought a fierce battle anchored on his conviction to bequeath a more promising future to Cross River. His firm belief in Ayade propelled him to go the extra miles in what was a make or mar political fight orchestrated by those who, in respective ways, had suckled from his succulent breasts.

Notwithstanding, Imoke had no enemies to fight but an interest to protect; it was the interest of the people of Cross River whom he holds in very high esteem.

As Cross River political class including those who today find themselves in opposition parties takes stock of the journey so far, one thing is crystal clear; Liyel Imoke has been there from the beginning; And for those breasts, they will never run out of milk, not in the foreseeable future.

 As a mortal, he has been through the pains and agonies of disloyalty and betrayals in the quest to evolve a better Cross River. Liyel might have stepped on a few toes and might have hurt a few more as well. Albeit, his selflessness and sacrifices will ever illuminate our paths and enlighten our consciences.  His sweats shall continue to water our political toils. Posterity shall bear witness to history whenever Imoke stands before time.