For allegedly daring to speak about the Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, in disrespectful terms, a member of the House of Representatives for the Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency, Bassey Ewa, has attracted the wrath of the people of Abi Local Government Area.
Imoke is from the local government.
Ewa had alluded before journalists during a media parley in Calabar that Imoke as an Abi man had been in office for so many years without the Yakurr people raising eyebrows and that his desire as a Yakurr person to return to the House of Representatives for a third term was nothing compared to Imoke’s long years in office.
He was responding to a question on the fairness or otherwise of his quest for a return to the National Assembly for a third term.
His response was: “When you say fair, I will ask you another question: In 1999, his Excellency (Imoke) was the Special Adviser from Abi. Can you compare that with the Federal House of Representatives?
“The answer is no.
“He was minister.
“Can you compare that with the Federal House of Representatives?
“The answer is no.
“Can you compare a governor for eight years with the House of Representatives?
“The answer is no.”
The comments did not seem to go down well with the Abi people.
Already, a group, the Abi Union of Democrats, has expressed bitterness with the legislator for daring to compare himself with the governor.
The President of the group, Vodina Enya, said in a press statement made available to journalists in Calabar that Ewa’s claims were insulting to Imoke as a person and to the people of Abi.
They have declared war with him over the issue.
The statement reads in part: “Our attention has been drawn to media reports credited to Hon Bassey Ewa, the member representing Abi/Yakurr in the House of Representatives in which he said among other things, that he was entitled to a third term in the House of Representatives because one of our illustrious sons, His Excellency, Senator Liyel Imoke had been in power for a very long time.
“We view his media statement as a very serious affront on the people of Abi. We are even more irked that he had to bring in the person of His Excellency into his battle for a return ticket to the House of Representatives, after serving for almost eight years in the National Assembly. Let us not forget that he has been in the state house of assembly for four years before going to Abuja; only him.
“While we understand that as a desperate person who is battling to succeed himself in the House of Representative, despite glaring odds against him, especially considering the fact that Abi Local Government has never occupied the Abi/Yakurr Federal seat since the advent of our current democracy in 1999, we are however shocked at the audacity to poke his hands into our eyes as Abi people.
“We see the personal, direct attack on the governor who is our own son, as a direct confrontation on the peace loving people of Abi. We see this as an affront. We see this as a direct attack on our person. We have therefore decided not to gloss over this.
“Hon Bassey Ewa cannot compare himself with His Excellency the governor. How can he be so bold to make such insulting statements against the governor? How can he open his mouth to declare that Governor Imoke has been in power for a very long time as an Abi son and therefore he also should be allowed to remain in the House of Representatives for as long as he wants, not minding the fact that the governor occupied any political seat at any point in time to the detriment of any other part of the state, the local government or even the federal constituency, not to talk of Abi where he comes from.
“His appointments have always been on merit. When it was time for him to become governor, it came to him naturally because it was the turn of the central Cross River to produce the governor. Hon Bassey Ewa needs be told that Governor Imoke is a true, selfless democrat who believes that political offices must go round so that every part of the state could taste power. That is why he is standing on his feet, to see that the next governor moves to the northern part of the state, which has never produced a governor.”