By Inyali Peter
The conspiracy against Chief Okoi Obono-obla confirmation as the Non-Executive Commissioner of the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) by some Senators of the 8th assembly from Cross River state is not unconnected to the ambition of a serving Senator who harbours fears that Obla may challenge his reelection in 2019.
The senators are allegedly banking on the fact that Obla is holding appointment already in the government and therefore cannot receive double salary as Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution and as a Non-Executive Commissioner of NCC. This assumption is frivolous. The NCC act provides clearly that the job of a Non-Executive Commissioner is part time without salary. Only sitting allowances are paid and the board sits for less than five times a year.
The action of our distinguished senators which was contained in an open letter addressed to Senator Owan Enoh (Alleged Leader of the conspiring team) by Chief Utum Eteng has caused discombobulation in the state. This is because it is the first time in the history of the state that a nominee for federal appointment is allegedly thwarted by serving Senators from the state.
Senator Owan Enoh is reportedly doing this because he is threatened by the fast rising political profile of Chief Obla who he sees as one of the few politicians from the central Senatorial district of the state with the political influence to unseat him in 2019.
Obla in the other hand is still keeping his plans very close to his chest despite reported calls from all quarters to join the race for Senate in 2019. The outspoken activist turned politician, a native of Yakur local government area which is also in the central senatorial district of the state has represented the state very well that does not deserve this treatment from our lawmakers.
There are insinuations that a top appointee of President Buhari and a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress from the central senatorial district who is also nursing ambition for 2019 has played a role in the conspiracy to reverse Obla’s confirmation.
Senator Owan Enoh is alleged to be more comfortable with the ambition of the top government official who he feels is not as popular as Obla and therefore may give him a smooth ride to the red chambers in the next election. Also, there are feelers that the senator is likely to defect to the APC ahead of 2019 because of his rusty relationship with the Governor and the leadership of his People’s Democratic Party in the state hence the conspiracy to break Obla’s wings and influence.
For him to grab the party’s ticket, Enoh has identified Obla as his major trait therefore has vowed to use his position to frustrate Obla’s appointment. Even the APC chieftain supporting the conspiracy is said to be working assiduously to cut Obla’s influence in the party hence the alignment and unholy marriage with the PDP senators to reverse Obla’s confirmation.
The new twist in Obla’s appointment may prove to be a huge political miscalculation if the state loose the position to another South South state. Politics of vendetta and personal selfish ambition is one of the major reasons that caused the state lack of federal presence in past administrations. We can’t continue this wicked tradition.
It is very surprising to imagine that a state which before now was neglected in major federal appointments have senators who are now fighting against confirming appointee from the same State. This is outright wickedness and illogical political move of the highest standard.
Never has the state benefitted from federal appointments like the President Buhari administration where over eight Cross Riverians have been appointed to some sensitive offices. Now that luck is on our side, we must harness our energy and structures to justle for more appointments and federal projects rather than fighting ourselves for individual benefits.
The ambition of Senator Owan Enoh or any other person is not bigger than the interest of the state therefore the senator and his cohorts must retrace their steps. Cross River has suffered a lot already ranging from the lost of Bakassi, ceding of our oil wells to Akwa Ibom to complete absence of federal presence in the sixteen years of the past administrations. We can’t afford to abuse this opportunity.
The senators will gain nothing if the state interest is scarified for the pettiness of reversing Obla’s confirmation. Posterity will hold them all responsible if this disgraceful and shameless act continue. This is a set back that we must all fight against despite our political affiliation.