…Obono-Obla’s Comment Is Sophistry, Presumption Of A Political Neophyte, Oji
Andy Esiet , Calabar
Former Special Assistant to President Mohammadu Buhari, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla has called on governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state to stay clear of Cross River state politics saying, “undoubtedly, colonialism and slavery are brewing!!”
It was reported that Wike, had on Wednesday night, hosted Cross River State Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidates for the State and National Assembly elections and donated 25 brand new buses for their campaigns in the state.
The delegation which included Chairmen of the party in the various local government areas was led by the Cross River Governorship Candidate of the party, Senator Sandy Onor who said, “today is historic. Wike is a trailblazer for justice and equity. He speaks the truth fearlessly…We thank Wike for being a good friend when Governor Ben Ayade defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC). Wike has defended us and protected us from intimidation and has made PDP a party to beat in Cross River. There is nothing that Wike is asking for that is personal. All he seeks is justice”.
But Obono-Obla in a statement said, “Rivers State is plotting to put Cross River State under its thumb!! Cross River State, cannot be a satellite colony of Rivers State. Rivers State was also created on 27 May 1967. Therefore Cross River State and Rivers State were born on the same day. They were part of the defunct Eastern Region of Nigeria.
“All the leaders of the Calabar Ogoja Rivers State Movement that championed the creation of a State out of the defunct Eastern Region, were from the present Akwa Ibom and the Cross River States.
The Calabar Ogoja Rivers State movement started in the defunct Eastern Region House of Assembly in Enugu in 1953. It was a protest against an act of injustice and disrespect meted out to our illustrious son, Professor Eyo Ita, leader of Government Business in the Eastern Region”.
He said, “after 69 years, it is sacrilege for politicians from Cross River State, to troop to Rivers State to beg for political support, favours and money to run elections here in our State. Our Governor comes in 2023 and must be a local and home breed. He must source money and materials to fund his election from our State.
“His allegiance must be to the good people of Cross River State, not to a local potentate in Port Harcourt.
Our Governor must not be beholden to external influences and interests.
The people of Cross River State are well-educated enlightened, good-natured, peaceful, clean, proud and fiercely independent.
“One of the first schools in sub-Africa was the Hope Waddell Training Institute, Calabar, founded in 1895. The First capital of the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria was Calabar from 1900 to 1906.
We have a proud and illustrious history and one of the richest cultural heritage in the World. Our Governor cannot kowtow to some principalities and godfathers in Rivers State over filthy lucre!!”
In a reaction, a chieftain of the PDP in the state, Mr. Gabe Odu Oji in a similar statement described Obono-Obla’s comments as a mere “sophistry, presumption of a political neophyte! Nothing can be further from the truth! In politics moral or material support can come from anybody or anywhere in Nigeria! In fact, in political brinkmanship and masterstroke, moral and material support can even come from an opposition party to an opposition party during election!
“Such was the curious and paradoxical case when in the Presidential election of 2019, the then PDP Governor of Cross River State, Sen Prof Ben Ayade funded the Presidential election of Muhammadu Buhari of APC! So also did PDP Governors, Sule Lamido of Jigawa State and Babaginda Aliyu of Niger State in 2015 financed the APC Presidential election of same Muhammadu Buhari! In all the extant examples of the Governors in question, did their States become under the thumb of Buhari?”
Oji said the reverse has been the case as “Ayade has remained as independent and self opinionated as ever in governing Cross River State! Again, a litany of cases of moral and material support from bigwigs nation wide for emergence of Cross River Governors serving and past abound! Tom Ikimi, Aliko Dangote, Olusegun Obasanjo and Government Tompolo! All these great names, across Nigeria (non Cross Riverians), but distinguished men of goodwill, have been moral and material catalysts in the emergence of Cross River Governors! Yet, none of these Governors placed Cross River State under the thumb of their helpers! Nor did their helpers as sufficient as they were, sought for Cross River State to be placed under their thumbs!
“All Governors acquitted themselves in their independence! Conclusively, his Excellency, Nyesom Wike, Governor of the richest oil State in Nigeria, former Chief of Staff to Rivers Governor, former Federal Minister of Education, and two times Governor of Rivers State, a multi billionaire nation wide philanthropist; cast in the mould of MKO Abiola of nostalgic past, a man whose Cross River Allocation for one year does not equate his stupendous wealth, does not, therefore, need anything from Cross River State!”
He said “just like his Excellency, Rotimi Amaechi former Governor of Rivers State, was at one time, without any strings attached, freely and selflessly, morally and materially supporting APC, Cross River State so is Wike doing same today for PDP, Cross River! And since what is good for the goose is also good for the gander, may any contrary mouth, henceforth, be closed!”