It looks like the race for the Leopard Town Road office of the governor of Cross River State may be blinding us all to the intense but subtle race for deputy governor of the state. In tune with feelers on the ground and www.calitown.com investigations, we run you down the men and women who are in the race for deputy governor of this coastal state.
1. NTUFAM JOHN OKON
He is from Cross River’s Southern Senatorial District. If you do not know him, know him now; he is the current chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Cross River State. It is not clear what political forces are dangling the deputy governor carrot before him but eventhough his body language gives away little, it is not out of place for him to suppress his ambition for now, maybe to whittle down, the criticism that may greet his ambition. In recent times, he has been viciously criticised for certain very controversial decisions that he has presided over. At some point, members of his EXCO bullied him in secret and before we could all hear about it was, they baptised the matter and called it “a family affair”. Age is not his best friend, that we know, but let us not forget that this is a country where contracts for airconditioners on highways can be awarded.Maybe, just maybe, Okon may just put a few toes in the right places and land himself a very unlikely plum job from within a party that can market stones for bread and make it the best loaf on the menu. Call him whatever appeals to you, if he gets the nod, he will have new friends and all his percieved sins will be forgotten.
2. ENO OQUA
Retired Permanent Secretary in the Cross River State Civil Service, politician, mother, prayer warrior and veteran of several kitchen cabinets, Eno Oqua’s logic for this position is compelling, subtle and comical. She is originally from the Central Senatorial District, but by the time you look up the OQUA in her name, it is clear that marriage has given her an added identity. Those marketing her candidature seemingly talk from both sides of the mouth; they throw it at you that if the position is zoned to the South or Central, she can eat her cake and have it. We remember that she disagreed bitterly with Gov. Imoke’s Chief of Staff, Alex Egbona, when the latter brought forth Edith Amadi as Chairman of Abi LGA. WHO KNOWS if that rift has been settled and forgotten? She has experiece, has seen the days, done this, done that…but almost doesn’t ever count; she has to dig in deep if she wants to be governor, forget that she has access to places.
3. GODDY ETTAH
Former Chairman of Yakurr LGA, current Secretary of the PDP in Cross River State; best definition so far for what he has come to represent. If he sets his sights on being deputy governor, maybe Efiok Cobham inspires him. Don’t forget too soon that Cobham rose from being secretary of the party to deputy governor and Ettah has a right to dream those dreams. He has swiftly put behind him the disappointment of being thrown out of office by an angry mob in his native Ugep, cupped up a few degrees in the UK and gotten back into the thick of political things. He may have age on his side, goodwill and ‘bad-will’, even the right benevolent political spirits, but seriously, it is becoming visible by the day that it will not be business as usual and have-been credentials belong more in the past than in the present. If he pitches in and gets the nod, his political fairy tale would have been complete. Almost forgot, he is from the Central Senatorial District.
4. FLORENCE ITA-GIWA
Someone once said hers is a dignified case of political ‘I no go gree’. He tried to define her reoccuring political stokes here, over there, everywhere as what makes her visible. Mindful of who she is and what she has over time come to represent, you should lose sleep if she wants what you want. Mama Bakassi as she has been branded, packs political punches in clenched fists that have pounded power. She represented the Southern Senatorial District in Nigeria’s Senate when this political dispensation commenced and was a BIG WOMAN in Abuja thereafter. She is nationally vocal, young at heart and a flex freak. Those dropping her name are banking more on who she knows in Abuja to rail road here into the No. 2 position in Cross River state. For the people of Bakassi, better not tell them that an intention is just what it is, it is not all of the deal. Can’t say if they will compulsively root for her, Bakassi or no Bakassi.
5. IVARA ESU
If you do not know him from his time as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar, there’s very little any one can tell you. Effortlessly, people tell you he is kith and blood to sitting governor Liyel Imoke but it does not ensure it will be a stroll in the park for him. Beyond what he has done here in Cross River state, this Okurike, Agwagune born professor has friends in Abuja; cultivated during his VC days and immediately after, when he walked the power corridors of the FCT as a cabinet member. Experience, he has, age…maybe, reach…doubtful, appeal…bland. OUR assessment of him may not count as nothing defies logic like politics, wish him the best if you see him but don’t be quick to raise his hopes.
6. BASSEY EKO EWA
Love him, hate him, despise or embrace him, it changes not the fact that he is unarguably the most successful politician from his native Yakurr LGA. He spent eight years in the Cross River State House of Assembly, four of those as Speaker before moving to the House of Representatives in Abuja to rub shoulders with those who thinker with Nigeria’s warped destiny. His friends “around in a d area” have been stealthily drumming up support for him and making sure burnt bridges are fixed and ‘sorrys’ said. While he may have mastered the political intricacies of his Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency, it is preposterous to believe that the cranking of his political machine has taken him to the relevant nook and crannies that can ice his cake.
7. JOHN OWAN ENOH
A few persons say the deputy governor’s position is Enoh’s plan B, incase he is unable to get Victor Ndoma-Egba out of the way and take his place in the Senate. He has already made it clear that he won’t be returning to the House of Reps but has not been very forward with his up and coming political steps. It is not in doubt that his foray into politics has left him smiling to the bank; if he seeks out another nectar sucking political position, chances are that it is part of the positioning process for life beyond the eight years Cross River’s North will hold sway at that place opposite 1895’s Hope Waddell.
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