The 2023 election is by the corner. For the people of Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency, there is a major concern about where the next House of Representatives member should come from, especially considering the fact that Yakurr had occupied the seat for 20 years, from 1999, while Abi has only spent the last three years on the seat. So, will it be fair for Yakurr to launch a battle to return to the House of Reps to occupy the seat? A former presidential adviser, Obol Okoi Obono-Obla says it will amount to injustice and greed, for Yakurr where he comes from, to move against the interest of Abi people, for the seat.
He bared his mind in this interview with TNN that was conducted online, real time.
There is this clamour by Yakurr people to get back the House of Reps seat after occupying it for 20 years before now. You have spoken against it. But it does appear that Yakurr people are bent on getting the federal constituency seat again. How do you see this?
The Yakurr people are not clamouring to get the seat back. They cannot be doing that because that will be selfish, inequitable, insensitive and a gross act of injustice. I can boldly assert that mainstream Yakurr political leaders, traditional rulers and the majority of its population are disposed to Abi taking the seat. Yakurr was there for 20 years. This is the time turn of Abi. We are culturally, historically, ethnographically, and anthropologically related to the Abi people. So Yakurr cannot be that mean. Those who are clamouring for the seat from Yakurr are on the fringe politically. They are on their own. I can assure you that majority of Yakurr people shall not lend their support to a hegemonic and insensitive agenda!! What Yakurr want is the senate!!
Ugep cannot be looking for senate and House of Representatives simultaneously. It is not right. It is against my conscience and you know I have fought and stood for justice all my life. Both senate and House of Representatives constitute the National Assembly.
I don’t want Ugep to alienated. So I will not support the senate coming to Ugep. Just likewise will support it going to Ekori. It should go to Abi so that our brothers and sisters from there will have a sense of belonging. I don’t want Ugep to be alienated, so I will not support that senate coming to Ugep. Just likewise, I will not support the House of Representatives going to Ekori. It should go to Abi so that our brothers and sisters from there will have a sense of belonging.
But there are reports that about three persons from Yakurr in different political parties are contesting for the seat. The paramount ruler of Ugep, the Obol Lopon Ugep has also said in an interview he granted us, that the Ugep man has been cheated for too long, hence the decision of the Ugep people to contest strongly for the seat.
I think that there is a consensus by Abi people to support Yakurr for Senate. In the same vein, there is a consensus by Yakurr to support Abi for the House of Representatives. It is a consensual thing that is irreversible.
I cannot rely on what you are saying or attributing to Obol Lopon. I know Obol Lopon supported Ugep for Senate, not House of Representatives. Hon. Obeten Okorn was there for eight years. So it will be selfish and insensitive for Ugep to clamour for the seat when other parts of the federal constituency are yet to smell it. Ugep cannot be looking for senate and house of representatives simultaneously. It is not right. It is against my conscience and you know I have fought and stood for justice all my life.
So, where will your support go and as an Obol, how are you, in practical terms, preaching this sermon of equity and fairness?
Ugep wanted the senate but she, unfortunately, lost out. You know I am from Ugep and was a senatorial aspirant in APC.
If you meet the various candidates from Yakurr, those aspiring to occupy the House of Reps seat in 2023, what will you tell them? To what extent will you push your message of equity and fairness?
Even my wife is against the House of Representatives going to Yakurr again. She also frowns at Ugep going for both House of Representatives and senate at the same time. That is my position and you know I always speak truthfully and boldly. I will not hesitate to speak my mind on any tropical issue. My party is also against the House of Representatives going to Yakurr and I stand by that.
Let’s talk about the recent fatal accident that claimed the lives of some persons from Ekori and Imabana. How did you feel about it and how can this be avoided in the future….talking about eh state of the Calabar-Ogoja road
That road is a disaster, derelict, in a state of terrible disrepair especially from Calabar to Biase. Unfortunately, the road is in that condition. The contractor, Sematech has been working on the road for the past five years but not achieving anything. The contract was awarded to the company in 2011 during the regime of President Goodluck Jonathan. It was paid some money but didn’t mobilize to the site. In 2016, I was compelled to report the company to EFCC and it returned to the site but nothing tangible has been done. Because of the bad state of the road, it is prone to fatal accidents. I pray for the repose of the souls of all those who lost their lives in that ghastly accident. I urge the police and families of those killed to bring the driver and owner of the trailer involved to justice. I call on the federal government to revoke the contract and award it to a competent contractor.
Can you draw a road map for the APC ahead of the coming general election? What does the party need to do, what should they avoid, if they must win the election in Cross River?
I am not the leader of the party and I think he should draw that road map for the party to navigate.
The party has to be united, cohesive and disciplined. Credible and knowledgeable leaders representing all tendencies, wings and factions within the party should be appointed to the campaign organizations of candidates of the party to drive and lead the party. The dichotomy between old and new APC must end. Everybody should be carried along. The party should return to its members.