By Edidiong Bassey

Etinan Federal Constituency deserves 2023 governorship slot

Expediency has to do with what is useful and necessary at a particular time. On the other hand, logic is concerned with sensible reasons for doing a thing. Put together, it would therefore mean that what is expedient would also be logical.

In a recent write up, someone wrote that following from the fact that Uyo Federal Constituency and Etinan Federal Constituency had earlier produced the Akwa Ibom State governors at one time or the other, it was the time of Itu/Ibiono Ibom Federal Constituency to produce the governor of the state come 2023. That may be logical. But what the person failed to state, categorically, is during which dispensation! Quite frankly, the three Federal Constituencies of Uyo senatorial District have had their shot as governors at different dispensations. Itu/Ibiono Ibom produced Navy Captain Edet Akpan Archibong during a certain dispensation; Etinan Federal Constituency had Obong Akpan Isemin at a particular time and Uyo Federal Constituency had Arc Victor Attah at a time. It is only Uyo Federal Constituency in Uyo Senatorial District that has produced a governor during this dispensation.

Logic would demand that for the 2023 election year either Etinan Federal Constituency or Itu/Ibiono Ibom Federal Constituency should have the slot. It is at this juncture that expediency rears its head. Not just who is qualified, but who has the goodwill of the people, who has been consistent as a true party man and who has the political pedigree to lead the PDP to victory come 2023.

The author of the article in reference picked Senator Effiong Bob as the person with the above mentioned qualities. He however did elaborate.

First, Senator Effiong Bob is a faithful and loyal PDP man. In 2011, a great injustice was done him in the run up to that year’s elections. He ran for a third term in the Senate but in spite of the gang up against him by the establishment, he only had to be rigged out of the race. Not minding this, he remained in the PDP. And more than this, he called all his supporters together, persuaded them to let bygones be bygones and even campaigned vigorously for all PDP candidates, including those who stepped on his toes, during that year’s elections. They were all victorious. Today, all those who ganged up against him and benefitted from his political goodwill have jumped ship and joined the other party. That is the difference between loyal and faithful party men and women, the difference between Senator Effiong Bob and others.

Again in 2019, there was pressure on him to leave the PDP and move to the APC but he refused despite the mouth watering offers that were made to him. In his words, “I am the Stationary Stores of Akwa Ibom politics” a euphemism for steadfastness. He deserves the people’s trust and confidence.

With regard to political pedigree, Senator Effiong Bob has a surfeit of it. He has served in all the three arms of government – executive, legislative and judicial. As a lawyer called to the Nigerian bar some thirty six years ago, he has sumptuous judicial exposure. In 1991, he was elected into the first Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly where he was further elected Deputy Speaker of the House. Senator Effiong Bob crossed over to the executive arm of government in 1999 when he was appointed Honourable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice – a position he served all of four years! In 2003, Effiong Bob was elected Senator of the Federal Republic representing Uyo Senatorial District. He was reelected for a second term in 2007.

Senator Bob has traversed the three tiers of government – local, state and federal. Apart from having served as Supervisory Councillor for Works in Nsit Ubium local government council, he was elected Chairman of the local government council in 1996, Honourable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in 1999-2003 at state level and senator of the Federal Republic at the federal level. He also served in the ECOWAS Parliament for eight years. How else could one be sufficiently qualified!

In addition to being a leader in his own right, Senator Effiong Bob is a true follower. While many seekers of power go about extolling themselves, Senator Bob gives support and advice to the present leadership in the state. At every opportunity, he calls on the people to give the Udom Emmanuel administration maximum support and understanding. A good leader has to be a good and responsible follower.

Perhaps, it is against this background that people are consistently asking him to declare interest in the 2023 governorship race. While others are putting themselves forward, the people are the ones putting Senator Effiong Bob forward, meaning that there are plenty that they see in him and that includes quality leadership potentials.

Lastly, let it be pointed out that the 2023 governorship election in the state will not be taken lightly by the other political party. They will be working extra hard to takeover the state. They would have learned from their mistakes in the last elections and any mistake on the part of the PDP in the state will be seized with both hands. A credible candidate in the mould of Senator Effiong Bob will do the trick. The PDP should veer away from any form of imposition. This is the time to look inward and come out with a candidate that meets the aspirations of the people. This way, the election will be easier.

It is indeed time to rearrange logic and expediency in order to get a better mix.