By Ade Joseph Otor
I woke up this morning with a troubled heart. Know that I have lost no one dear. It is rather a feeling of a heightened bad blood flowing through my political nervous system. It truly gets me berserk and blank and, I have been putting my thoughts together with well knitted filters of reason, passion and an uncompromising Igede nationalism. This way, I know, I won’t derail off the sensible lane.
Yes, the unfolding reality in the zoning brouhaha of the 9th National Assembly reveals that the position of the Deputy Speaker is of the North Central. Benue has ample opportunities in this. Benue has well ranking Members like Hon. Samson Okwu and Hon. Herman Hembe. The duo will be both third timers if the electoral hurdles before Hon. Okwu are cleared on time.
As it stands now, while Herman Hembe is of a far opposition stock of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) with an inconsequential number in the House of Reps, Hon. Samson Okwu’s PDP has a compelling numerical strength though still in same opposition.
It is also been feared that the APC will completely cow the opposition elements in the evolving politics of the 9th NASS leadership. This way, even if Hon. Okwu wins, he might be on the sitting floor with no much impacts.
Given these realities (though confusing) and obvious calculations, one would have wished that Hon. Samson Aja Okwu should scale through the present hurdles for him to partake in the leadership tussle of the 9th NASS Assembly. He has been in the Assembly for a while both in the Civil Service and political (representative) capacities. He ought to have garnered the requisite experience for this position. He should know where the keys and banana peels are kept. I learnt, he is an unassuming power broker and having close ties with his colleagues across party lines.
If the position of the Deputy Speaker will be filled with the consideration of seniority, I think, Hon. Okwu will have an ample opportunity as I doubt if there are forth timers in any North Central State.
Be that as it may, Hon. Okwu’s fate in going to the 9th Assembly hangs in the balance. It is dependable on INEC’s charitable legal conclusions/ considerations.
I m particularly afraid that if this present impasse is not quickly resolved by INEC, Igede might not have a representative when the 9th National Assembly will be prorogued/inaugurated.
INEC had severally contradicted itself on this vexatious issue with its conflicting positions. One can only hope and pray that my people are not denied representation especially when it matters most. I surely know of the interesting novel, moral and legal issues involved in this case.
As it stands now, Hon. Okwu of the PDP has the highest number of votes declared by INEC across Oju/ Obi LGs while Evangelist David Ogewu of APGA, a candidate that has no majority of the votes was controversially declared by INEC as the winner with results from only Oju Local Government. This imbroglio might only the resolved at the behest of the Court of Appeal.
In the final analysis, it is Igede; the Oju/ Obi Federal Constituents that will suffer the fate of denial of representation. You may argue that Igede has never benefitted from representation in the House of Reps, that should be a topic for another day. Nobody is even saying that Hon. Samson Aja Okwu is a saint without shortcomings. At a critical time like this, all grievances, sentiments, reservations, bad politics and cleavages should all be forgotten in order to push a ‘home’ agenda.
We need to review our approach and disposition so that we don’t collectively miss out from the golden opportunities inherent in the unfolding politics of Deputy Speakership. The evolving power equation in the National Assembly demands some tacts and experience.
We must marshal out culpable strategies that seek the inclusion of the Igede nation in the national political space rather than alienating it. I remember how Rt. Hon. Gabriel Suswam of the PDP had canvassed the Senate Presidency for Sen. George Akume of the APC in 2015.
According to Suswam, the benefits of Senate Presidency will trickle down the multi-facets of the Tiv nation.
*Ade is a concerned citizen and public affairs commentator.