Dr Alex Egbona, the member representing the Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency of Cross River State, recently concluded his re-election campaigns, after vising the 23 wards of his constituency.
He shared his thoughts with some journalists on the outcome of the campaigns and also spoke on his readiness for the general elections coming up in a few days.
You have just rounded off your re-election campaigns. How did it go?
It went very well. I did not expect anything less. The turn-out was very impressive. The support was massive. Abi/Yakurr people showed me so much love. I used to hear that people do hire crowds to attend their campaign rallies. But in my own case, I was begging people to remain in their wards. I stopped so many people from following us; yet the crowd was uncontrollable. And these were people who came out on their own, whenever and wherever they heard it was me. I felt really honoured and loved, that from all the nooks and crannies of the two local governments that make up my federal constituency, people voluntarily came out to support us.
See, people gave so much for the campaigns. Apart from their time that they donated without asking for anything in return, they donated other gifts. Some gave us customised water for the campaigns, others gave their vehicles and so on. Remember that we are in a season of fuel scarcity. Yet, we had support in that area too. That was why we were able to campaign freely, with all the vehicles in the convoy. We spent about a week in Yakurr, then took a short break and resumed in Abi. We went to all the 23 wards of the constituency and had direct contact with the people.
The one that really touched and made me want to cry was at a primary school at Usumutong, where school children stopped our convoy and insisted on thanking me on the main road for supplying them with writing desks and chairs, as well as educational materials.
These are children that used to sit on the floor to learn. So, they could not hold their joy when they heard that I was passing through their school to Afafanyi. You needed to see those children as they prayed and sang for me. It touched and gingered me to strive to do more as I get ready to return for my second term.
I must not forget to thank God for being with us throughout. You know, before we hit the road for the campaigns, we went to my church for blessings and we were sufficiently prayed for and empowered spiritually to go and conquer. Throughout the campaigns, there was no negative incident. From start to finish, we campaigned safely. It was a demonstration of God’s extravagant love towards us and I give him all the glory.
You talked about the crowd that attended your campaign rallies. Are you aware that not all the people that followed you about are truly your supporters?
It is very easy to know fake and genuine supporters. Fake supporters will want you to foot all their bills for them to join your campaign. Fake supporters will not ask you what they need to do to help out. Fake supporters will wait for you to bring buses for them to join your campaign. Fake supporters see anything they do for you as an investment or a business venture. But genuine supporters, on their own, will do things secretly to support you. The people around me are genuine. But that is not to say that there are no few Judases around. You will always have them. It did not start today. But when you have more genuine, committed supporters, then you are good to go.
If I tell you what people are doing on their own to support my re-election project, you will be shocked. So, I can tell you for free, that God has blessed me with sincere, selfless supporters who have decided to embark on what my state party chairman calls political evangelism. I am so confident of victory.
Very confident? But there are two very strong opponents from the PDP and the Labour Party.
I wish I had more of those people you call strong opponents. Anyway, they are strong in their own right. But I can tell you that the peak of their strength is what I actually see as my low moment. You know, when somebody’s fuel gauge shows that the fuel level is half tank and they are very happy, especially now that fuel is scarce, there are some persons whose fuel gauge would just be a little below full tank at all times and they will feel not too happy. That is how life is. That is why God even says that what men call wisdom is foolishness before him. You will think you are a superman until you see a man who is double your size and you will run away.
I respect all my opponents and I wish them well. But you see this election? It is the masses who have enjoyed representation like never before in Abi/Yakurr, that will take the decision with their PVC.
I know what I am talking about. I know what I have seen. I know that the people are happy with me. I am not saying that I will get 100 per cent votes from all the polling units. No. I will lose in some polling units. But that will be very infinitesimal. I will win in majority of the places. Afterall, I do not expect everybody to like my guts. There are people who may even be angry with me because of the way I help the less privileged, or the way I walk, or the way I play and eat with everybody, not minding who the person is. There are people who will be angry that I am very open to everybody. There are people too, who may not be happy that, perhaps, they called my line when I was in an event or on a legislative duty and couldn’t pick their calls immediately. People get angry for very flimsy reasons. You cannot really stop them from behaving that way. But I know that majority of my people are with me. They have not allowed me to walk alone. They demonstrated this during the last campaigns and in the next few days, you will see them on every door, mobilising support on their own. The elders, traditional rulers, women and youths believe that I have done well and should be supported to go back for a second term. You can go and verify.
So, how prepared are you for February 25?
I am already ready with my dancing shoes. My people are also ready with their dancing shoes. There is no stopping me because in less than four years, I have done what some people could not do in 12 years. I have done what another could not do in eight years. I can beat my chest and say that I have broken the record. But you know what? In one of my campaign posters, I said that I will break my own record when I return to the seat.
We have met the people and we have been assured and reassured that we are good to go. Get to my constituency and you will see the street lights I attracted to all parts of Abi and Yakurr. You will see classroom blocks that I attracted to some of the schools. You will see the federal polytechnic in Ugep, which I joined other sons of the constituency to bring. Very soon, a college of agric is coming, you will see the boreholes, you will see health projects and so on. The bill I sponsored to this effect has since been passed by the two arms of the National Assembly and is now awaiting presidential assent. My footprints are everywhere. I can tell you that there is no ward in my federal constituency that has not benefitted, one way or the other, from my projects or empowerment programmes. That is why the people are happily mobilising for my return. So, I am not just prepared for the election, I am prepared for my second inauguration as member of the House of Reps, which will take place sometime in June this year.