By Ade Joseph Otor
As we move on gradually to the political realities of 2023, we need not pretend while stating the obvious that the stakes are getting higher in IGEDE as elsewhere. The intrigues are maturing with subtle, aggressive and near corresponding propositions, gesticulations and prevarications as different schools of thought and their proponents have sharply evolved with whooping and glaringly orchestrated sentiments which they believe are virile enough to compel the expected justifications for their political projections.
This piece attempts to dwell on the swaying and swinging issues, views and calculations upon which many expectations are hinged in pushing through interests in Oju/OBI Federal constituency. This writer believes that those differing perspectives constitute the major planks for the 2023 contest.
It may be expedient to state that Hon. Samson Okwu from Obi LGA presently occupies the position of House of Representatives and, by 2023, he would have held sway for twelve (12) years. The constituency has Oju and Obi LGAs as political component units while the entirety of Igede nation with 14 traditional clans and several districts as geographical sphere.
The power of incumbency remains the major plank upon which Hon. Samson Okwu’s ambition to return to the hallowed chambers is hinged. There is also a strand of opinion that he has also performed creditably well and should be further positioned strategically as a ranking Member for leadership in the Green Chambers.
Further to the above, there is a school of thought in Obi LGA that believes that it won’t be good for Oju LGA to have both the Deputy Governor and the Honourable Representative in 2023. It is on the projection that the Deputy Governor is automatically coming to Oju in 2023 if the Southern Benue is not given Governorship that is giving a leeway to the agitation of the Obi people to retain the seat. Hon Samson Okwu may not be alone in that political expectancy. Some stakeholders from Obi are subtly counting their cards without throwing them in the open yet.
Interestingly, some Oju stakeholders who seem to be interested in Deputy Governorship, knowing Hon. Okwu’s influence in PDP may have been convinced and are softly strategizing for Hon. Samson Okwu in order to get his support too. Such persons are many and are underdogs at this time.
Also, there is a general belief held and shared in most quarters that House of Representatives should return to Oju LGA in 2023. This is premised on the truism that by 2023, the position would have been occupied for twelve years by Hon. Samson Okwu of Obi LGA.
Trickling down from the above held view is the contention on which zone from Oju LGA should produce the Representative in 2023. Both Ukpa/Ainu Ette, Oju and Ibilla Council wards of Zone B are angling to have the position zoned to them. Zone A which is composed of Owo, Iyeche and Oboru/Oye are laying claim to the position. Nothing much seems to be heard from Zone C of Oju LGA.
It may be recalled that since 1999, Hon Altine Idikwu from Ibilla in Zone B was voted twice into the House of Representatives though, he didn’t complete his second tenure as the icy hands of death seized him. Hon. Augustine Adikpe from Ainu in Zone C occupied the seat for about six years . In some quarters, it is believed that Hon. David Ogewu was also voted into the House of Representativeness in 2019.
In Zone B, Ukpa/Ainu Ette Ward is contending that the position is theirs as Zone A has already been voted in 2019. According to them, Ibilla has earlier occupied the position. On the other hand, Ibilla is justifiably angling that it should be allowed to complete its second tenure as Hon. Altine died midway with his position returning to Ainu. This is considered a misnomer as the successor of Hon. Idikwu ought to have come from his ward. On its part, Oju Council ward is pushing on the plank of marginalisation. However, the next Chairman of Oju LGA seems to be automatically going to Oju.
The Adinu (Zone A) of Owo, Iyeche and Oboru/Oye is demanding for equity and fairness as it is believed that since 1999, all other zones except Zone A have occupied the position. Though, Hon. David Ogewu was voted and inaugurated in 2019, the judiciary annulled the election and asked INEC to recall his certificate of return after three(3) months. Consequently, Hon. Samson Aja Okwu was sworn in. It is therefore believed by the zone that in strict legal parlance, Hon. Ogewu was never a House of Representatives Member. The Zone is further contending that supposing Hon. David Ogewu is a serving Member, won’t the Zone be entitled to a second term? It is however more confusing to know that Hon. David Ogewu is seen and heard everywhere introducing himself as a former member of House of Representatives. This seems to be an implied attestation that the Zone was truly voted.
Be that as it may, Zone A seems to be appealing to good conscience and reason as a position occupied in a vacuum may not be substantive enough to obviate a whooping four(4) or Eight years tenure. Zone B will only have a case if it is taken that Zone A has been voted through Hon. Ogewu who was in the House of Representative for 3 months. It is also believed that except there is an explicit estoppel to a second term, Zone A’s quest ought to have some credence . Supposing Zone B holds sway, is it Ibilla Council Ward that should be entitled to it in order to make up its shortfall occasioned by Hon. Altine’s death or, it should be Ukpa/Ainu Ette Council Ward that should be given a new slot?
Whichever prism one chooses to view this issue from, one thing is sacrosanct. There is an urgent and a compelling need to have credible representation in 2023. Yes, credibility is not an indegene of a particular place. This has thrown up a perception that House of Representatives if returning from Obi LGA to Oju LGA should not be zoned. However, doing so might amount to a democratic heresy or infraction as it is believed that it will not be wise to rotate from OBI and halt rotation in Oju.
In the days ahead, it is the expectation of many persons that a body like IGEDE IN 2023 MOVEMENT which has evolved a vanguard for inclusive politics and a citadel of convergence for progressive politics in IGEDE will create an opportunity for the ventilation of sentiments and reservations. As brothers, we can’t afford the consequences of animosity and clanish confrontations. Collectivism as an approach to politics portends more promise for a minority group like Igede than individualism. It has therefore been suggested that IGEDE should gravitate towards the treasures of consensus building. IGEDE also needs to review the nature of its political representation since 1999 and make adjustments to accommodate the universal principles of equity and justice. Importantly too, IGEDE should seek more accommodation in the national and state political firmaments. IGEDE needs men and women who are worthy and will not quiver in the daunting task of political leadership.
Only time shall tell how ready IGEDE is for 2023. Let the contending views be placed side by side on the pendulum and the wind of justice shall swing its scale.
Categories: James Ibechi