Alobo Eba/Wilson Udeh
In today’s politics of Cross River, it is difficult to wish away Dr Alex Egbona, the House of Representatives member from Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency. It is not just because of his finesse in grassroots politics, or the fact that he is open-minded and generous, sometimes to a fault. But he has redefined the concept of law making and representation.
He is merely two years old in the House of Representatives, but he seems to be showing the older ones how the business of representation should be conducted. For example, whereas nobody under the current democratic set-up in his state has thought of going back to those who elected them to give account of their activities, Egbona has done so with dignified grace.
The Abi/Yakurr people were shocked to see that their representative in the lower chamber of the National Assembly could assemble them for what is now known as the first of its kind town hall meeting, where all the people had the privilege of hearing first-hand from the lawmaker, all the things he has been able to achieve, even though he lost close to a year, due to protracted legal cases and rerun election.
At that meeting also, his former political enemies took time to confess how they worked hard to frustrate his election. Then they applauded him for standing out and showing others how to represent their people.
A lawyer and former presidential aide, Chief Okoi Obono Obla is one of them. He said at the meeting that Egbona had shown capacity, not only in the area of law making but also in the way he was able to attract projects to his constituency.
Frontline political leader of Abi, Elder Bolaji Anani spoke in the vein and said he was proud of the performances of Egbona so far, as his representative in the National Assembly.
Even the chairman of Abi, Mr Farathor Robinson Riman also spoke in glowing terms about Egbona. He was satisfied that the man he fought hard to stop during the 2019 election had over performed. All the political leaders, chiefs and stakeholders who spoke were united in one position: Egbona has done too well and deserves to be given a second term ticket to return to his seat in the National Assembly in 2023.
Perhaps, it was in that same spirit that the state governor and leader of the APC in the state, Prof Ben Ayade declared at a recent meeting with leaders of the party in the local government, that Egbona had secured for himself an automatic ticket for the next election. He dismissed speculations that his commissioner for health, Dr Betta Edu who is also from the same local government as Egbona, was warming up to drag the seat with Egbona.
Whatever people say or think about Egbona is well deserved. He has truly paid his dues and has served the people of Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency selflessly. From his days as Chief of Staff to the former governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, Egbona has demonstrated love and closeness through various empowerment programmes which touched directly on the life of the people, ranging from agricultural-related programmes, human capital development, employment opportunities amongst other initiatives geared towards bringing succour to his people.
He can best be described as the “people’s servant” who has never lost touch with the reality of his humble upbringing. He has made other men who are today leaders in their own right. His grassroots political mantra has over time endeared him to the people in rural communities across Abi and Yakurr local government areas.
Through the various Empowerment programmes facilitated by Chief for his people, many of the constituents have become self- reliant.
Some of his achievements in this regards include Empowerment of Abi/Yakurr women through collaboration with the Nigerian Directorate of Employment (NDE), distribution of relief materials during COVID-19, wading into the rift between Abi and Ebonyi, sponsoring of the Federal Poly Ugep bill to bring development closer to the people, facilitating employment for constituents amongst others.
In the comity of political gladiators in Cross River State, Egbona has distinguished himself as one of the most friendly grassroots politician of our time, a feat that he exemplified recently through the town hall meeting held at Itigidi, the Abi Local Government headquarters.
The singular act of rendering stewardship to the people not only endeared him to the masses but also earned him accolades. Egbona made history as the first representative of the people to present his score card within two years of occupying Abi/Yakurr House of Representatives seat.