Andy Esiet, Calabar
The people of Cross River have commended the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godswill Akpabio for breaking the jinx of hoarding welfare and relief materials meant for the nine Niger Delta state.
Speaking on behalf of the people while distributing bags of rice to the people of Cross River South Senatorial recently, the Coordinator of the distribution programme, Otuekong Orok Duke said, “it is a normal yearly ritual from NDDC, to the nine NDDC States. It has been on for about 25 years now.
“It is also unfortunate that for over 22 years, it’s not been so widely distributed like it is been done at least within the last two years”.
Duke who was a former Deputy Speaker in the State House of Assembly, said this jinx has been broken and “all thanks to the honourable minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabuyo, because he insisted that it should touch as many youths as possible”.
He explained that some people misconstrued the idea of amnesty and the normal largesse meant for the youth saying, “the youths we have in Bakassi as the strike force, there are other youths in Ogoja and in Boki and all that. So let this little largess go as wide as possible. And that is why we use wards. Basically, there are 1096 wards in the state, last year we gave every ward 4 bags, that’s about 780 bags , we still had 600 bags to shear to groups of interest like, Niger Delta youth movement, ex-militants Bakassi Strike Force. We did all that and after that we came back and faced women groups and everybody was happy, no friction no nothing no fight”.
they just paid 10million. So I said go ahead and supply 10million naira Worth of Rice.
He said for this year, so far N10 million worth of rice has been supplied by the contractor for the state out of the estimated N35 million and as more are supplied based on payment, same will be distributed to the people across the state.
On the state politics and zoning, the former member of the Constituent Assembly said, “when we were campaigning in 1998, Donald was campaigning with Calabar Ogoja accord documents. I had a thousand copies and when we won, he now went away four months later came with the list of commissioners and said Speaker should come from Bekwara and Deputy should come from Ikom, I told him it will never happen, it was bad enough that we were loosing out, let’s go back to our gentleman agreement over the years.
“That is why I voted for Ada from Obudu, and I became deputy speaker, because it was 13 to 12 and since then, has anybody attempted to take away deputy speaker from the south?? It is not possible, because we are nine we need to deal with just three or four people and we are good”.
On whether the South can do without the Central, he said, “ no, the three or four people can come from Central or North. You see, this game to be governor, you just need Abi and Yakurr, and we have won… and we continue sharing amongst ourselves
“Let them know that is the level we can go, if the second son does not try to sleep with the father’s wife, they will never marry a child for that son, so when it gets to that extreme, they will know and those of us who survived the last we are still alive. So let them not look down on us, their progenitors were not stupid to have agreed to work cordially with the south, so some greedy people should be careful. What is Etung with 6,000 votes? Why are they giving us stress? That is why Attah Ochinke, said ” if they say central bring governor, Etung will never, they will come last. So why are they giving us stress?
“I know this is just rabble rouser, it will never work. But at times when people ask me a say let us consider, how far can they go?”