Tuesday, 5 June 2018

CR Central Senatorial Seat: Setting the Record Straight —by Dominic Kidzu

5 June 2018 

The political space has been abuzz, of late, with a testy conversation about the proprietary of returning the PDP ticket for Cross River Central to Old Ikom or farming it out to Old Obubra. Proponents of the two divides have regaled the reading public with strident arguments that are passionate at best and histrionic at worse. In fact, the current flippant commentaries and even gloating from commentators and competitors speak alarmingly, but most defectively, of any understanding of the pivotal and reconciliatory role of zoning in the pursuit of a redoubtable democracy. 

Some of these pundits have advertised an oracular diagnosis, employing a cocktail of reasons to show that Old Obubra has since 1999 been the "Scolombo" child abandoned on the sidewalk, without food, water, care and love. They have with consummate guile painted the picture that aims to suggest that Old Obubra has been neglected, marginalized, psychologically tormented and politically passed over. The authors have relied on poetic license to choose their time and space and therefore situate their argument in such a manner as to dramatically suspend disbelief and dupe the public. They propose that to assuage the years of famine and bind its wanton wounds and scabies, everyone else should lay down their aspirations and allow the people of Old Obubra a free ticket to the Senate in order for Paradise Lost to be regained. 

There are however those who have argued otherwise, and have suggested that positions available in government for a particular region should be scaled and awarded weights in order for the determination of due fortune to be arrived at without the seasonal rancour and duplicity. This scientific analysis should perhaps help to determine how many Senatorial tenures, for instance, would equate a Governorship tenure, in terms of the sheer, power, resources, dispensation of privileges and authority that is available to a sitting Governor, Senator, Minister or indeed a member of the House of Representatives. It has been my ardent belief that once we are able to put all these through the measure - machine, we should arrive at a place where we shall no longer cry wolf and change the goalpost wherever the appetite takes us. 

Backers of Old Ikom, are of the strong view that the proponents of Old - Obubra - For Senate - Or - Nothing are not arriving at the doorstep of Equity with clean hands, having been in charge of commanding positions in the polity and governance since 1999 until recently. 

The Central Senatorial Zone has produced two Governors, both from Old Obubra. It has produced one Deputy Governor, also from Old Obubra. It has produced three Ministers, all from Old Obubra. It produced Central's first Senator at a time when the Governor also came from Old Obubra. We are no longer children and therefore cannot be told "tales by moonlight ". The people of Old Obubra should not drag Senator Liyel Imoke into this web of deceit and tragicomedy. Senator Imoke is a national figure, occupied with the task of nation building and has of late been given the onerous task of bringing back those who had left the fold to PDP. It is not decent for political jobbers to continue to propose to dupe Old Ikom in his name, or to continue to use his name to campaign for a region that has been the proud recipient of God and man's beautiful favours at the highest level but is unable to return back to the Almighty in thanksgiving and to its brethren in appreciation. 

My advice is that rather than dwell all day long on where one comes from or does not come from, we should begin to interrogate the core essence of legislative demands and work and who has the intelligence and connectedness to be able to engage our current governmental system at that level. The near strangle - hold of government on all facets of national life especially in dispensing patronage and even decreeing life and death for an entire region or people requires that we send forth to the National Assembly, someone who has what it takes intellectually, materially and morally to rise and shine in the red chamber. It is no longer a secret that our representation in the National Assembly over the years, with a few punctuations, here and there, has been notorious for the absence of rigorous debate in our favour. Some of our representatives at the National Assembly upon resumption promptly blend with the woodwork and take the bath of the hornbill. They can be seen but not heard. They can build personal wealth but attract no projects. 

In Old Obubra, Rt Hon Bassey Ewa who has spent several legislative tenures at both the State and National Assembly has thrown his hat in the ring. Chief Patrick Iwarra, a retired technocrat, the young and determined Willy Usani and a few others have come out to run for the Senate. In Old Ikom we have seen the vastly experienced intellectual, Dr Sandy Onor , Chief Chris Agara, a business mogul and of late the learned wig, Paul Erokoro, SAN, indicating their interests to run the race. And I say, the more the merrier. Let more come out to vie. Let the best take the crown. Let us put our best foot forward. We cannot be chained to the floor with this hocus-pocus about old this and old that. What is old is gone. Let us look to the future henceforth with hope. A future of bold and excellent representation, of intellectual and ebullient engagement with the apparatchik of power. Let our representatives speak in the comity of the disparate but federating peoples of Nigeria and table what is best for our people before Nigeria. The time for bench - warmers is over. It's a new day here. We must scrutinize the aspirants rigorously to identify the serious and able from the pretenders to the crown of Pontifex Maximus.

Those who consider themselves fit to run for the Senate from Central should come out and show their credentials and track record in academics, enterprise, public office, statesmanship, professional excellence, public giving, leadership and the capacity to sustain a well researched intellectual conversation at the highest levels for the overall benefit of our people. These are the parameters, the tests and measurements upon which our candidate would be selected. Those who think that the PDP will award them the franchise to run based on where they come from are living in a bubble. The long dark night of impunity is gone and buried. We must now set forth with the brightest bulb in our chandelier.

Dominic Kidzu
Is a Social Commentator 

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