By Comrade Onah Ogbale
That moment in every four years when the view of the people is sought by power seekers is here again and Igede land is not kept out of this perennial chess game.
To that extent, post primary election consultations and permutations have begun ahead of the 2019 general elections with the searchlight majorly beamed on the Oju/Obi federal constituency seat. Every discussion, be it in the family, burial, beer parlour and even church among Igede folks have an element of this contentious subject embedded.
The issues about this federal constituency have been subject of discussion in high places by the leadership of the two major political parties in Nigeria today. If we agree with those who believe that civilization means not only comfort in daily necessities but also the refining of knowledge and the cultivation of virtue so as to elevate human life to a higher plane, we can consequently accept Igede as a cradle of modern political civilization. If on the other hand, we are guided with primordial sentiments of clan and hamlets and will allow this to tower over competence and aptitude in the choice we make, and commit our senses to form an ambuscade for the weak, our land will become a crucible of strife
Therefore those who sing the song of zoning of the House of Representatives to Oju in 2019 without taking into cognizance the right of Obi to complete her turn of twelve years have thrown equity to the abyss. Zoning was a serious issue before the primaries of the various political parties and it can be summarily concluded by any discerning mind that Obi local government have been allowed to complete their turn of twelve years before the seat can rotate to Oju in 2023.
The three major political parties in Benue State today are, People’s Democratic Party PDP, All Progressives Congress APC and Social Democratic Party SDP. The trio held their respective primaries and honoured equity and fairness. This is eloquently evident in the victory of Rt Hon Samson Ajah Okwu, Rt Nick Odukelaho Eworo and Sir Ogbole Ishegbe in the primaries of PDP, APC and SDP respectively. They are all from Obi Local Government Area.
On the other hand, All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA, Labour Party LP and African Democratic Congress ADC produced Evangelist David Ogewu, Engr Benson Obega and Rt Hon Egbiri Idaah respectively without any contest at their various primaries. The trio of Hon Egbiri, Engr Obega and Mr David Ogewu are all from Oju Local government curve of the federal constituency; this is not in line with zoning as far as the 2019 election is concerned. It was rather viewed by many as desperate efforts to fill the vacancy in those parties. Something worthy of note is that the last occupant of the House of Representatives from Adenu axis is from Owo and parity therefore demands that Owo ought to thread the path of honour and allow discussion for that office to be restricted to Iyeche and Oboru/Oye in 2023.
It is rumoured in some quarters lately that some of the contestants who lost out in the APC primaries recently have held nocturnal meetings in Abuja with a resolution to support Hon Samson Okwu so that Okwu will back Iyeche in 2023. One wonders if that will not cost these actors from Iyeche anything. Is it not rather safe for them to allow the APC candidate win so that tension for state appointment (from Obi) will be reduced should APC emerge victorious at the gubernatorial poll? Is it possible for their younger elements in APC to follow blindly this directive of voting Sam Okwu without weighing the impending disadvantages? Will the APC aspirants from Iyeche not need votes from the six council wards of Eke (Nick Eworo’s home base) when her time is ripe? It will amount to doublespeak on the part of those who have hitherto been on the vanguard to change the incumbent occupant to turn round to endorse him. If performance is the question, then Sam Okwu is surely not the answer
All the candidates contesting for this election are qualify by all the electoral laws of the land but competence is the capacity to do a given work according to set standards. Rt Hon Nick Eworo has not only courted the esteemed admiration of the elites of Igede nation by his first-rate legislative prowess. He has been one of a kind politician in Igedeland as his revolutionary intervention through the Benue State House of Assembly during the processes leading to the emergence of the maiden first class chief spots him up as one with dexterity to challenge any might in defence of his people. This Obi born legislator has earned the unofficial reputation of the representative of Igede nation before the government and people of Benue. His balance of intellect, energy, patriotism, charisma will meet with his formidable political party to put Igede in the central scene of national discourse in 2019 – 2023 if we are truly determined to move further.
Finally, I am guided by the immortal words of Franklin D. Roosevelt who said that ‘’ Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safe guard of democracy, therefore, is education’’. Let us bring development home. That is civilization. But if we twist the right sequence of our common pacts for self-serving purposes, we are beckoning on strife. Choose the former