By James Ibechi
It is now a cliché, yet true to say that certain societal hazards in our clime discourage good men – men of integrity, men of impeccable and unquestionable characters – from coming onto political platforms to give the society the right kind of leadership it needs, but not one it wants; or so to say.
This leadership bug caught up with politically stainless Dr. Isaac Egboja when he stepped forward once to seek to go to Senate to represent the good people of Benue South Senatorial District.
No sooner did his Igede people know that he had thrown in his hat to slog it out with David Mark than he dramatically, or shortly after, withdrew from the race at its early stage.
The back off of Dr. Egboja surely provoked a disappointment and annoyance of his Igede people and David Mark’s foes alike.
Tongues wagged with many hurling disparaging comments against a man who was hoped to propel the political emancipation of the Igede speaking people out of scaffold domination of the core Idoma race. But, who instead chose to dash his people’s hopes.
For, that was how his withdrawal was interpreted by many who did not bother to know the root of it.
It used to feel like no Igede man or woman looked at him or herself as politically inclined to go to senate. Either so, or they were not sophisticated enough to square up to the juggernauts in the core Idomaland, like David Mark.
In the estimation and calculation of many Igede people, Dr. Egboja’s Igede senate prospect was bright because in the spirit of the Igede-Idoma sharing formulae, until David Mark seized the seat and has since refused to relinquish it, the rotation of the seat was planked on three pillars – around Old Otukpo, Old Oju and Old Okpokwu, a rotation which already has both Old Otukpo and Old Okpokwu had their various shots and turns several times over in the past, leaving only Old Oju out in the hoop and equation; meaning the next turn then was for Old Oju, which Dr. Egboja represents.
But that was not to be, partly because of some of the hazards and interplay of intrigues combined with other considerations and factors.
It was discovered that Dr. Egboja backed down for David Mark on some gentleman pact that had to do with the failed promised Apa state pursuit, but since it was not immediately made known to the masses, it was thought David Mark intimidated Dr. Egboja out. No, it was learnt not so.
The scope of this brief piece would not permit giving the detail of the interplay of the dynamics that compelled the withdrawal of Dr. Egboja from the race then.
However, It was noted his withdrawal was not a fluke neither did he “chicken out” as many are wont to explain it away.
His withdrawal, rather, had more to do with the political pact he and the Idoma political machine purportedly reached, which as months brighten up to 2019, there is now a silver lining in the sky that tends to favour Igede senatorial ambition because of the pact and the focal political figure, Dr. Egboja, who is the referent point now in the 2019 conversation, as David Mark is being forecast to appear willing, in the event of his presidential ambition setting sail, to relinquish the senatorial seat to Dr. Egboja.
But, even if it doesn’t, the pact among other factors is setting the stage for shift this time. More details will come this way too.
So, come 2019, an Igede man will be the one to occupy the Zone C senatorial district seat. Yet, it does not all look like a done deal.
Dr. Egboja who is already up and doing to up the game this time around, is though widely accepted across the 9 LGAs of the zone, he will, however, meet the stiffest opposition from intending contenders like Okibe Onoja and the like of Steve Lawani.
Not only that, Dr. Egboja, after usually setting the pace, or awaken the consciousness in his own kinsmen to the reality of the need for an Igede to contend to the senate seat, as the like of John Enyi, if after sensing the coast is cleared by Egboja, would want to stand up or be engineered by Idoma mafia, so as to polarize Igede support base and then cash in on it by such Idoma contenders.
That will not augur well for Igede support base for Dr. Egboja.
It will be good to unite and throw up a formidable candidate in Egboja if Igede must thaw Idoma’s ice on the senatorial seat.
Dr. Egboja seems awake and set to up the ante in 2019 in expectation of historic and paradigm shift in Zone C political landscape.
Our Tiv brothers have over time criticized the Idoma people with the dictum: “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, ” while David Mark people have criticized Tiv political hegemonists of not allowing Idoma taste the state power in a state where they both claim equal rights as bona fide citizens.
On their part, Tiv hegemonists have in return challenged David Mark people to do to Igede people what they want Tiv do to them by relinquishing the seat of the Zone C senate in the maxim of “do onto others as you wish them do onto you.”
Idoma people want Tiv to allow them governorship of the state but are not willing to allow igede people taste the senatorial seat of their zone.
Notwithstanding, the battle in 2019 will be very interesting.
No matter where the pendulum swings, inferiority complex has got to change on the part of the Igede politicians, even as some say unfolding events in Igedeland, where for instance, Mark lost in the rerun poll against Onche in Oju and Obi, combined with the emergence of the Igede first class chief perceived to be a victory against Mark and his stranglehold on the Igede people, will have humbled him to submission in 2019
Those events will surely factor in 2019, but they may not define the result that Igede will get, whether positive or less.
Instaed, many strong Idoma people are already seeing Dr. Egboja as may be the game changer because of his bridge-building capacity, his sophistication, non-ethnocentrism, among other factors.
On this very desk, I shall try to illuminate why Idoma people will prefer Egboja to Lawani, Okibe and even Abba Moro and others
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