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SENATOR Victor Ndom- Egba’s inordinate quest weakens the collective stands of Cross River State APC Stakeholders by Obi OJAGE

“Governor Ben Ayade is not to be blamed. I have no grouse no hold any grudge against our Governor.”

THE “peace of the graveyard” that we seem to be experiencing in the All Progressives Congress (APC) Cross River State chapter today cannot be blamed squarely on Governor Ben Ayade’s administration.

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IT’S more of a direct product of opinionativeness and series of manoeuvering of some of the so-called stakeholders in the party who are not holding any stake for members but are appointment seekers who, exhausted as one would’ve thought, would be above certain positions to descend to. Yet, they are often seen looking out to achieve their inordinate quest to craftily gain all such positions, especially those that are remunerated, to themselves often alone, thereby making it feel as though the Governor is selective and inconsiderate. They give the erroneous impression that all is well with the goings-on which is far from the truth. I am a fully entrenched APC man and a Buhari die-hard supporter. I can say so categorically, point by point, if I am asked to enumerate the misgivings.

NOT until the earlier part of Mr. Donald Duke’s second tenure in office as Governor of Cross River State, in the year of the Lord 2004, Chief Victor Ndom-Egba (SAN) was still practicing his law profession with office here in Calabar just like most of our able brilliant SAN’S here in the State who are bent on upholding the dignity of the noble profession of law to make sure that value is added to the lives of the ordinary citizens who are law abiding and all who are unduly maltreated against what the law proscribes. Even though most of them still go ahead to contribute one or two things in the political party of their choices, they still burry their heads in full concentration to see to the entrenchments of justice in our society, especially where there are compromises on the part of the enforcers of the laws being the various law enforcement agencies.

SOMEONE who has made great contributions to the political growth of our state once told me in a conversation of how Ndoma-Egba, during one of the trips they made together from Calabar to Lagos then, emphatically vowed before him that he will never attempt to venture into the ugly mud of politics unless over his dead body. Stating that the tricks of the so-called game of politics is far more than what they find and witness daily in the law profession. And that he is now full of amazement to find the same person (Victor) being so engrossed in the very tricks he swore not to be part of for which he now wants to be seen as the Commander-in-Chief of political mischief enforcers.

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MR. DONALD DUKE, I want to be quoted on this, was the person who suddenly and singlehandedly brought Victor Ndom-Egba (SAN) into politics and that of Cross River State, from the blues, and insisted on making him Senator at all cost. After finding him disposable and ready for use as a mechanical tools just to enlarge the frontiers of his fight of rivalry with his estranged Deputy, late John Oyom Okpa of blessed but horrible memories, who had opted to run for Governorship against Duke’s second tenure on another party platform. And this happened simultaneously when Victor’s childhood friend, Dr. Pius Tabi Tawo was given the ticket to run for the Senate under ANPP by late Chief Okpa who had reorganized the party in the state to be positioned to wrestle power from the PDP after he broke up with Duke as his Deputy, out of no serious issues that I knew of as Duke’s confidant, other than the consistent pressure put on the Governor then to see and interpret late John’s insistence on certain policies initiatived by the government to be done properly between them.

IN furtherance to that, late John also demanded, simply, for his supporters within the party to be adequately accommodated in the scheme of things that became misconstrued as being an affront to his boss, ably influenced by these evil men who go around using charms over elected Governors and Presidents in power just to gain where they didn’t sow. And such persons and their shenanigans still persist today; and its undoubtedly unlikely they maybe doing that to Governor Ayade, I guess. And until we stop these sets of backstabbing idiots, evil minded and turncoat politicians in the system, they’ll destroy our state.

AS one who had decided to go along with Late Okpa on that arranged journey in protest against my great and cherished friend Donald Duke’s highhandedness and gross inconsideration in retrospect to the role late John Okpa singlehandedly played in making him Governor against all odds then, I decided in principle (even though I had to lose in the cause of my decision, all that I was to gain in the system under Duke’s government then as his hombo-jumbo) before the Lord and in furtherance of my role to canvas for support for the movement. I had to convince Late Okpa of the suitability of one of Cross River’s businessmen based in Abuja to run for the Senate as a team under ANPP. And in agreement with late John I had to elope to Abuja on the next flight to also persuade Dr. Pius Tabi Tawo whom I talked about to late John, to be interested and to come onboard with us.

AFTER front and back argument for well over a week stay with him in his impressive mansion at Asokoro, Abuja, on the merits and demerits of his running in the election, Dr. Pius Tabi Tawo agreed to give it a shot. Later on the very day, I put a call to Late John Okpa in Calabar to break the news of Pius decision. And late Okpa came over to Abuja on a later date where we had a meeting in Tawo’s house from where myself, Tawo, and late Okpa drove at night to meet former Senate President, late Senator Chuba Okadigbo in his suite where John introduced Pius Tawo to Dr. Okadigbo as the candidate adopted to run for a Senatorial position in Cross River under the ANPP. And the deal was sealed. Hon. Etim John accompanied us that night to Late Okadikpo’s place in Abuja but did neither come in nor took part in the meeting. He can attest to that. This was after Pius Tawo had contested two major elections in the state previously and lost both the governorship and the Senate at two different occasions.

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IN a fiercely contested battle to the Nigerian Senate from the Central Senatorial District of the state at the time in question, which was now between Ndom-Egba who was being backed by the sitting Governor Duke against Dr. Pius Tawo of the ANPP, of cause, Tawo lost to the Governor’s candidate with a narrow margin whose matter was contested in court subsequently. But Duke had his way. The victory in earnest wasn’t Victor’s but Duke’s, since he had no structures on ground politically to sustain and win a contest of that magnitude. And it is so to date with Senator Ndom-Egba.

AND this was why he was easily removed unceremoniously, even though we didn’t like nor applaud the retrogressive action taken against Victor by the forces that aided his defeat from going back to the Senate by another former Governor of the state. He was being replaced with John Owan Enoh. This was carried out by Senator Liyel Imoke who came after Duke in that order.

That removal took place even when Victor had risen to the position of Senate Majority leader just like Dr. Bukola Saraki was, then from Kwara, who later became Senate President eventually by tint of hardwork and backed by a strong support from home based unrelenting, doggedly committed and well fed footsoldiers from his constituency in Kwara. You can’t give what you don’t have.

AS if not satisfied, Ndom-Egba switched camp immediately. He joined the APC soon after his problems with Imoke in PDP took another dimension. This coincided with when Cross River APC were in dare need of people of his calibre to strengthen the ranks in the state as ably canvassed then by the former National Vice Chairman of the party, Ntufam Hilliard Etta. He later lobbied and got for himself the juicy position of the Chairman of the all-money-spinning-for-free Board of Niger Delta Commission under Pastor Usani Ugburu Usani who was then the Minister in charge of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. The ministry had both as its supervisory authorities from Cross River State.

FEW years into that position however, not up to half into his tenure, Ndom-Egba, on hearing that the position of the Deputy Senate President is zoned to the South South states and believing that, likely, it would be given to one of his type based on seniority, and being a former Majority Leader of the Senate at the time before his removal by Imoke, he decided to forgo our chances in the position given to him to represent Cross River’s interest in the Board of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, just like that, without minding how we would feel. He thought solely on what he would rather gain purely for himself as Victor Ndoma-Egba alone, period!

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HE resigned from such high and rewarding position as Board Chairman which he would’ve used to empower at least those of us who had admired his God-enhanced elevation and were hoping to benefit from it. A short street (a distance of four electric poles) on which I built my house here in my village in Calabar municipality, is the only street left untarred within that area for purely political reasons, and has remained so till today. He had assured me a contract has been awarded after I was asked to send a specification of what I needed done. And I was even given the names of the contractor by his aides but all to no avail. The street is still not tarred when he left.

HE dumped the appointment and came back down to the state to struggle for the Senatorial position again in the Central Senatorial District against the present Senator from that zone who is been nicknamed the Original Catapillar by his ardent party supporters and admirers in the PDP. And was also named the Orator-designate of the current Senate as pronounced by no less a person than the Senate President Ahmad Lawal himself.

SENATOR Ndom-Egba (SAN) again was massively defeated by this first timer to the Senate, Professor Sandy Ojang Onor of the PDP after being floored few years back by Senator Owan Enoh in close succession. Not only that both men were from the same zone, they were all from the same Ejagham tribe. I am equally an Ejagham man. This was just because Victor hadn’t a distinct political structure made up of his ardent supporters, of those he can readily call his at odd times without the help of an incumbent governor, who usually give him tacit support after much lobbying with delusive sacrifices made, incongruously, mostly at the expense of popular choices.

CHIEF Victor from my observation, I stand-to-be corrected, operates a close circuit of old friends and professional colleagues he knew a long time in his life and very few of selected elites in politics. And he hardly expand those cliques. These are persons you’ll get to meet in his house always bantering. And never a crowd of grassroots party supporters like you would easily find in homes of other stakeholders. He just wants to be a “king” calling the shorts always amongst the novo rich and middle class duds, and never the “king maker” of anybody. He will sort, lobby or be called to get the available position himself and neither sponsors anybody nor allow anybody but himself to take any juicy position.

IN the short stay of Governor Ben Ayade in APC, for instance, Victor Ndom-Egba had sort, lobbied or called to head, firstly, the Committee for the Settlement of boundary skirmishes between two waring villages in Biase Local Government Area of the state, where it was alleged that Ndom-Egba and three other members or so with him as Chairman were given 17 million naira of tax payer’s money as a sitting allowance in designated town hall-gathering that was to last just two weeks minimum to chop as is usually the case.

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AGAIN, Victor alone sort, lobbied or was singled out by Governor Ayade from amongst the stakeholders comprising the likes of Senator Prince Bassey Otu, Sen. John Owan Enoh, Prof. Eyo Etim Nyong, Pastor Usani Usani, Chief Ogban Ebock, High Chief Edem Duke of the APC amongst others, to be Chairman of the all important committee meant to Zone the position of where the state Chairman and Secretary of APC would come from, and from where each of those to occupy the different party offices at the state executive committee level would be selected. That committee ran into a lot of hitches. I doubt if all the disagreements have been resolved? Only Victor was qualified to so be in the Chairmanship position of the committee. Who, for the Lord sake, has done this to us as a people? I want to know sir! I am never against anyone’s progress but I abhor monopoly. It is this kind of monotony that breeds animosity amongst families and friends.

I AM not sure that Dr. Bukola Saraki of Kwara State, who once held the same position of Senate Majority Leader as Ndom-Egba did and whom as at the time of his holding that office attracted heavyweights including men of means across the country who paid homage to him (while in that position) where most Kwara State politicians who were closed to Saraki and gained from such visits, would ever have condescended to struggle for or agree to take local political positions in his home state as our former Majority Leader happily does, amusingly, against the wishes of many who thought such positions he takes, willy-nilly, should be reserved for others. Be it amongst the stakeholders or another Senator, if it must be only them, them, that wouldn’t have mattered much to me but the same man gaining all the time? Haba!

APC is known to use mostly Senators, those sitting or former to carryout their activities, especially in my state, Cross River. Maybe because the National Secretary, Caretaker/ extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Dr. John Akpanodoedehe, is himself a Senator. And since Senator Ndom-Egba is seen amongst them as a one time Principal Officer of the Senate, most of what he says or demands for is usually given attention to out of curtesy. And so, what he does is to simply take advantage of such gesture to apply a stratagem where he terms to play down on those legitimate demands that the statekeholders would have insisted on the governor to implement on behalf of the ordinary old members the Governor meet in the party, majority of whom go as the supporters of other stakeholders.

THIS would have been expedient to help synergize the entire gambit in fussing together, the old and new members, for equity sake by asking some of them now in APC who have been holding various government appointments over a large period of time that the Governor was in his former party with them in the PDP (unheard of) to forgo their appointive positions variously for the old and qualified members of the party now, who have none, to also enjoy such positions as a panacea to foster peacefulness, a rancour free and robust new APC with Governor Ben Ayade fully in charge of affairs as indefatigable as he does appear all of the times.

THIS is what the Senator wouldn’t bring himself down to do; he would rather support the authority of the current government in the state usually against popular decisions in order to gain favour from them. He would craftily argue, instead, in favor of those measures the Governor canvases so as to be seen always as playing along while he turns around to demand, subtly, for his personal interest for which the governor is often bound to obliged. This is so because he has less foot soldiers to cater for, who would have had to make series of demands from him as the leader, for their sustenance. He confidently asked for so many things the party can offer, knowing that the Governor will be in his support, and the rest of the old members like us can go to blazes.

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EVERYBODY knows that I had always projected Senator Victor Ndom-Egba as one of our prominent sons, especially myself being an Ejagham person, and a Catholic by faith as the Senator is, he deserves our support. It was on that still, that I became the first here to write about the suitability of Senator Victor Ndom-Egba (SAN) as the most qualified to be governor of our beloved state, Cross River, under APC from Central Senatorial Districts where I tried to state some of the sterling qualities of the SAN.

In those write-ups, I had forcefully paired him with Senator (Prince) Bassey Otu in an article that went viral and trended with many speaking for and against that proposition, mostly on the bases of his exclusiveness and reclusion as a politician and not the reasons I gave. The entire argument was that he is not generous enough for a politician of his status and for what he seeks to be endorsed by ordinary fellows in the party. He is expected to be open to all in a manageable form rather than outrightly blanking people off, especially those who would foot-drive his messages across.

I HAVE written so many good things about Victor using my platform on social media. But the Senator had not for once said any good thing, that I know of, concerning me to those of his former colleagues and friends in the Senate, particularly from other states, who are still in the party in Abuja or those at the party secretariat he visits. Neither has he spoken concerning all the efforts I put in propagating the party and in stout defense of President Muhammadu Buhari. One good turn they say, deserves another. When some of those in Abuja, who happen to come across my articles on social media and on the Internet consistently, and for which they try to enquire or say anything concerning my courageous tackling of issues of concerns and the dexterity with which I go about it, some of our so-called stakeholders would quickly brush that aside by retorting that: “eh”, they should leave me. That’s all I know. I should keep writing.” Surely, I will one day find time, the Lord willing, to address that sad incident which took place in Abuja between a certain bigman who accosted one of our stakeholders to enquire of me.

ONCE, I asked Senator Ndom-Egba politely why he hasn’t been talking about me to those he knows in the Presidency? He responded, saying that he is quite convinced and believes the authorities concern are reading what I write. I guess he doesn’t want that to be an issue between us or to feel indebted to me on such compulsion so as not to feel guilty of not helping to advance my course as a brother to the authorities concerning in Abuja for any party consideration at all being in position to do so expressly on my behalf.

WHEN I made up my mind recently to run for the office of the National Publicity Secretary in the forthcoming National Convention of our great party APC, again on merit, having done a lot for the party in the direction of Publicity and marketing on my own, for which I felt obliged to be in a position to do more as a National Officer of the party. As a matter of fact, I called the Senator on phone as my friend, brother, tribes man, and one in the position to help me push the desire through his big contacts at the National Secretariat in Abuja to fruition just as I usually do in promoting him in the series of write-ups I put out there in his favour.

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CANDIDLY speaking there isn’t any Cross Riverian man or woman holding higher public office in the country today or sometimes ago who was not helped by those from outside the state. But they hardly extend such gestures to others, be they Ministers or what have you. The only person who was known for doing that was Chief Edem Duke from Cross River, the former Minister of Culture and Tourism during President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s administration.

HOWEVER, Chief Ndom-Egba agreed to help. But he gave me the impression that there are a lot of interests and until those interest groups within the party sort themselves out, there is nothing he can readily guarantee that he would do. And never did anything thence after. In fact, none of the stakeholders in my State like others would do, are in my support for the position I now seek except Senator (Prince) Bassey Otu because of his broadmindedness. I guess the rest are afraid to do so, especially Ndom-Egba for fear that I would be so recognized such that they may not be given a chance to get what they too are still looking for as Shylocks from the party at the National level despite all they have so far gotten. They still want to get more as if they’re the only viable persons in the party from Cross River State.

TO confirm that, there are rumours all over the places, with articles to that effect, explaining why Senator Victor Ndom-Egba should be given the position of the National Vice Chairman South South, which was the position held by Ntufam Hilliard Eta equally from my state.

Initially, there was the story making the rounds that he (Victor) was seriously lobbying, sorts or would be called up to assume the office of National Secretary of APC through consensus. But suddenly that disappeared or he changed his mind now to seek the position of National Vice Chairman South South. All for one man. A former principal leader of the Nigerian Senate.

THE direct implications of all of that, therefore, is that the position of National Publicity Secretary zoned to the South for which I seek on merit would not fly if Ndom-Egba sorts, lobbies or is been given the position of National Vice Chairman of APC, being from Cross River State like myself. The state cannot get two distinct National offices. With his unholy alliances with the State Government he beliefs that’s a fate-a-acompli. That’s who High Chief, Senator Victor Ndom-Egba (SAN) appears to be.

HOWEVER, I leave him and his fellow travellers to the judgement of my Redeemer, the Lord of Host and time who operates in the void as a Ghost and Holy. Known as the Almighty.

End Time Message!

GOD WITH US.

Dear Distinguished Friend,

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Remain blessed!

Adesoji Omosebi
Editor-in-Chief
SOJ WORLDWIDE…an ONLINE NEWS with a difference.

Written by Adesoji OMOSEBI

BSc Agric Science

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