On the heels of an interview granted calitown.com by former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Venatius Ikem, declaring his support for the fourth term bid of Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba because of “the strides the Senate Leader has made at the national level”, social commentator, Okoi Obono-Obla, has replied Ikem that his declaration “is despicable as it is hollow… (and) … amounts to grandstanding or playing to the gallery.
Obono-Obla went on to say that “you (Vena) do not have locus standi on this matter”. When calitown.com sought to know from Obono-Obla why he maintained that Ikem has no ‘locus standi’, he was quick to reply that “Vena is not from the Central Senatorial District”.
“He therefore cannot be heard to canvass that Senator Ndoma-Egba is entitled to a fourth term. Ikem cannot vote or be voted for in the Central Senatorial District, so if he cannot vote and be voted for, what right has he to contend or advocate a fourth term for Ndoma-Egba ?”. For him to have ‘locus standi’ he continued, “he must be shown to have sufficient interest in who becomes the senator of the Central District. His interest must be real, not illusionary. It must be tangible, not intangible”, he concluded.
Perhaps taking sides with Obono-Obla, several comments on the social media took a swipe at Ikem. One Klinsman Ekwomayang Asap wrote that, “Vena is looking for political relevance. Kindly dictate for the people of the Northern Senatorial District…” Mark Henry Obi on his part wrote that, “I thought Vena will be relevant in the search for a Northern governor for Cross River State, but with his support for Ndoma-Egba, I am disappointed…”.
However, Calabar-based legal practitioner, Okimasi Ojong, told calitown.com in his office that “as far as Vena Ikem is a card carrying member of the PDP and moreso a former national officer of the party, it is enough ‘locus standi’ to comment on the matter and any other party matter”. Ojong went on to say that, “in Abuja, Ndoma-Egba represents CRS and no Cross Riverian can be barred except by law or personal reasons from supporting him and it is not because he is incompetent that he was elected Senate Leader. Those like Obono-Obla who say he has not performed, perhaps need to look up Part 2, sub-section 2 of Part 1 of the Second Schedule, Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazzette, 2011 Constitution (As Amended), to understand that it is not Ndoma-Egba’s function to build roads and hospitals. His duty is to make laws”.
Again, one James Odey Ogbaji and Oshen Ebuara lent support to Ikem’s declaration. For Ebuara, “Ikem has a right as a Cross Riverian to endorse any candidate of his choice …every sena or from the state is of concern to all of us irrespective of where the senator is from”.
In response to all the dust raised, Ikem maintains in a mail to calitown.com, minutes before press time, “tell Obono-Obla that I don’t need any ‘locus standi’ to express my opinion. We are not in a court of law, we are talking politics. Even in the American Presidential election, I have been called into a panel to express my opinion before”.
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