Akwa Ibom Politics: Obong Bassey Albert ‘s 2nd Term: What Does the Deal Offer?
During the Christmas holiday, few elders of the PDP from Uyo Senatorial District, majority of whom are from Etinan federal constituency dared the people of Uyo federal constituency, and picked a concession for Obong Bassey Albert, to return to the senate in 2019. That decision defies existing zoning arrangement in the senatorial district; and may have been aimed to spite Uyo federal constituency whose turn it is to take the shot at the senate in 2019.
From time, the Uyo senatorial seat has been revolving equitably round the three federal constituencies. The first round started with George Daniel, from Nsit Atai (Uyo federal constituency); then, Ime Ikpatt, from Nsit Ibom (Etinan federal constituency) and Anietie Okon, from Itu (Itu/Ibiono Ibom federal constituency). The second round started with John James Udoedehe from Uyo (Uyo federal constituency); succeeded by Effiong Bob (Etinan federal constituency); then Ita Enang and Bassey Albert, both from Ibiono Ibom (Itu/Ibiono Ibom federal constituency). Note that in the second round, Etinan and Itu/Ibiono Ibom federal constituencies have taken two terms each; Uyo has taken one term. Contemplating a return ticket for OBA seeks to give Itu/Ibiono three terms.
From this background, the fairest and equitable decision the PDP must take is to allow zoning subsist.
I understand that the governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel is playing against his wish on this matter. It is alleged that Udom has given Bassey Albert “blessings” to return to the senate because advisers have stampeded the Governor into believing that OBA will deploy arsenals as gangsterism and blackmail to weaken the governor’s second term ambition, as he did in 2015. I will be disappointed if it is true that Governor Udom Emmanuel has bought into this inane threat. Udom is a product of zoning. He has acknowledged this fact times out of number. As the leader of the party in the State, the governor must defy the odds to ensure that zoning is kept, because he benefited from it. The Governor must not change the rule, irrespective of OBA’s threats and blackmails.
Unfortunately though, some elders of the PDP in Uyo senatorial district including the former military administrator of the State, His Excellency Idongesit Nkanga; Senator Effiong Bob; State chairman of the PDP, Obong Paul Ekpo; Speaker of the House of Assembly, Barr. Onofiok Luke; commissioner for finance, Mr. Nsikan Linus Nkan; political leader of Uruan, Ekpe Atakpo; Enobong Uwah, and others have purportedly endorsed Obong Bassey Albert. These men are pursuing their very personal interests. Their deals have nothing special to offer the citizens. Obong Bassey Albert’s second term deal is such a bad belching that would ripple the stitches on the umbrella.
For instance, Obong Paul Ekpo, the State chairman of the PDP who should be an unbiased umpire in this matter lifted his hand high above his head when votes were called for a second term endorsement for OBA. It is alleged that OBA has promised to support Paul Ekpo to succeed him in the senate by 2023. As much as I won’t be in a hurry to believe this; Paul Ekpo has a history. In 2014, he ditched the interest of Uyo senatorial district for the position of deputy governor, to get a second term as State chairman of the PDP.
Furthermore, OBA is said to have also deceived Mr. Nsikan Linus Nkan, that he will support him for Senate in 2023. Has OBA arrogated the power of the people to himself such that he affords to promise everyone the senatorial ticket?
I’d believe that very many people who purportedly endorsed OBA did so in error. They did not think of the implication such divisive deal to shoehorn a third term for Itu/Ibiono federal constituency would cause.
If I should rely on the report of that contraption served up on Facebook by Anny Michael, Senator Bassey Albert’s media aide; our dearly beloved speaker, Barr. Onofiok Luke read the resolution of that meeting. I don’t seem to understand why the Speaker supports a second term for OBA, yet seeks to unseat his brother, Elder Sam Ikon, who seeks a second term to the House of Representatives. This is inconsistent with whatever reasons Barr. Onofiok Luke, advanced for the selective justice entered against Uyo federal constituency.
Uyo federal constituency has stood by Etinan federal constituency in thick and thin; at many times against her own interest. Uyo supported Etinan to produce Speaker in Mr. Anietie Etuk, even when Senator Effiong Bob was still serving in the Senate. It supported a successor to Anietie Etuk in the person of Elder Samuel Ikon, still from Etinan federal constituency. Barr. Onofiok Luke who now finds OBA a better friend, against the people of Uyo federal constituency got the support of Uyo to sit as Speaker, even when it was the turn of Uyo. You will call it providence; love gave that grace a place to berth. I must note that Barr. Onofiok Luke has recently taken to making arbitrary declarations against the masses on whose strength he has drawn great support and goodwill. He first declared that Governor Udom Emmanuel will proceed to the Senate after serving out two terms as governor. Now, he has concessioned the turn of Uyo federal constituency for the senate to OBA. And, I wonder if my dear friend has suddenly become a political negotiator for the State.
Without prejudice, Senator Bassey Albert is very smart in his political tacts, but I am dazed that he is quick to believe that Senator Effiong Bob whose third term he vehemently opposed, has forgiven him or will support Ibiono Ibom to take a third term he was denied. Interestingly, Effiong Bob’s son who was recently endorsed by a section of Ubium people for the House of Assembly will be benefiting from zoning. This should tell OBA that Effiong Bob won’t be speaking zoning in Nsit Ubium and something else in Uyo senatorial district. What a paradox this divisive deal places before us! OBA should not forget that, to Senator Effiong Bob, politics is “mbre ikid”.
Similarly, it will be interesting to have former governor, His Excellency Idongesit Nkanga lead the campaign for Udom Emmanuel’s second term against the All Progressives Congress in 2019. Will he avoid the underlying campaign theme of 2015 which was zoning? Will he and the campaign team avoid stunts like, “It’s the turn of Eket”. “So that Uyo will take her turn by 2023, let’s return Udom for a second term”. To borrow the words of Etorobong Inyang, “I am just seriously thinking” where his conscience would be by that time. I understand that His Excellency Idongesit Nkanga said at the endorsement ceremony that Uyo should look at representation, not zoning. And I just wonder whether OBA’s performance is anywhere close to the towering performance of Senator Ita Enang, whom Nkanga could not defend in 2014. Or what representation of OBA in the Senate is worth denying Uyo federal constituency her turn?
Interestingly too, the PDP sanctions zoning This is what makes the party thick. She must not abandon it. However, I am surprised that despite much reforms the party in the State claims to have undertaken particularly in strengthening policies and entrenching internal democracy under Obong Paul Ekpo, the party has been most arbitrary in her actions now than ever. The public is familiar with cases of gross arbitrariness in the conduct of the party’s primaries for the last local government election, as reported by aspirants and stakeholders from Okobo, Ikot Ekpene, Mkpat Enin, among others. Has the party lost her conscience? This’s the poser members of the PDP in Uyo federal constituency must think on.
Also, it is important to think on this too. Does Itu/Ibiono federal constituency want a third term in the Senate? I have sampled the opinion of some stakeholders of the PDP from the federal constituency, and the majority answer is “No”. The member representing Ibiono Ibom in the House of Assembly, Barr. Ime Okon, stayed away from that endorsement. It was gathered that he was attending an event somewhere along Idoro road, Uyo. Ime Okon’s political moves indicate that he may be vying for the House of Representatives. This ambition is a pointer that Ime Okon is not on OBA’s second term project. This shrewd lawmaker is aware that OBA is serving out the turn of Ibiono Ibom in 2019. Ime Okon calls OBA his mentor, but his disposition shows he has taken the path of truth and honour on this.
OBA’s endorsement was not important, the absence of his representative was a broad chorus to that effect. However, it is not enough to say “OBA is on his own”. Itu/Ibiono should show solidarity to Uyo. By 2023, if Christ tarries, Itu/Ibiono will need Uyo to contend Etinan for the governorship ticket.
I appreciate the fact that Distinguished Senator Bassey Albert has built for himself a large financial empire, and can afford to wrestle any individual who stands against him. That’s the more undesirable reason he is pushing to take what belongs to Uyo federal constituency. OBA’s ally alleged that the senator boasted to him, ‘does anyone in Uyo have the money to contest the senate with me’?. Uyo federal constituency is not an individual; hence, my dear distinguished senator may have to buckle up because the voyage isn’t going to get easier for his might, and his seemingly large purse.
OBA’s purported endorsement will not translate to anything tangible when choices for 2019 would be made. However, it is important Uyo federal constituency profiles and datestamp the provocative venturesomeness of those people who are up against her. That event was an open evidence of a gang up to emasculate the federal constituency. Uyo federal constituency must arise.