For the sake of harmonious co-existence and to ensure less acrimonious and less expensive elections, the PDP caucus in Nsit Ubium decided to recognize three zones in the area for the purpose of zoning political offices as follows: Nsit, Ubium North and Ubium South. In fact, zoning of political offices in Nsit Ubium local government area’s gift to Akwa Ibom State and probably beyond.
In continuation of this political arrangement, when the present administration in the state came into office, the PDP caucus in Nsit Ubium noted that since the House of Assembly seat was occupied by an Nsit person, the body decided to zone commissionership slot to Ubium South. In addition to this, when the tenure of office of the last chapter executive of the PDP expired and a new one was due for constitution, the chapter chairmanship position was also zoned to Ubium South.
In August 2017, preparatory to the local government elections, the leadership of the PDP in Nsit Ubium met and in the spirit of brotherhood, give-and-take and the desire not to marginalize any area, zoned political positions that would come to the area.
After a long and harmonious deliberation and considering which zones were holding political offices at the time, zoned the chairmanship position for the Local Government Council to Nsit. The vice chairmanship position was zoned to Ubium South while the House of Assembly seat come 2019 was zoned to Ubium North (see the Ink newspaper of August 2 – August 14, 2017 and Prime Voice newspaper of August 7, 2017). This done, all the component zones were asked to go and bring forth their preferred choices for the various positions. Since the local government elections were to come up first, concentration was on those to fill the council positions. Although the axis to which an office had been zoned had to do the selection independent of other zones, the selected person had to be presented to the caucus for ratification before being put forward for the election. The process was followed through peacefully and subsequent elections were less acrimonious and less expensive.
The rest, in that aspect, is now history.
Perhaps, as a result of the huge success recorded in the case of the local government elections example, preparations for the choice of a worthy person from Ubium North axis to which the House of Assembly seat for Nsit Ubium State Constituency come 2019 had been zoned began.
The three PDP ward chairmen from the zone and PDP chapter officers from the Zone led by the then transition committee chairman for Nsit Ubium Local Government Council met. They examined the distribution of political offices in the area and decided that a person from Ubium North ward 3 should be the one to vie for the House of Assembly seat to represent Nsit Ubium state constituency. But who will that person be?
They approached Senator Effiong Bob, as the political leader of the zone to give inputs. Senator Bob told them, quite honestly, that it was not his place to come and occupy the seat but that they should look for a credible person from the area adding that he would support any credible person that they will put forward.
The transition committee chairman at the time, the ward chairmen and the chapter officers from the zone left and expanded the group to include ten party elders from each of the three wards and began the search. At the end of their search, they went back to Senator Effiong Bob and told him that they had found Barr. Otobong Effiong Bob to be worthy of the seat. Senator Bob, who was stunned, said NO, that his son was comfortable where he was and asked them to go and think again and to also examine other variables and options.
The groups, superintended over by the then transition committee chairman, further expanded the group by including leaders of thought from Ubium North and went back to Senator Bob and told him that they still stood by their previous decision that the cap fitted Barr. Otobong Effiong Bob. They said the same thing, not once, not twice but four times. It was during the fourth session that Senator Effiong Bob told them that since it was his son that they wanted, he would contact the son and sound his opinion. This he did.
Barr. Otobong Effiong Bob not being one to shy away from responsibilities and armed with quality education, stupendous exposure and coming from a family that is service driven accepted to shoulder the responsibility bestowed on him and made himself ready for the trust the people have in him. Barr. Otobong Effiong Bob saw this as an honour and believing like Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States that “no person was ever honoured for what he received. Honour has been the reward for what he gave”, set about to give his best. Not wanting to rest on the pedestal of what his family has already given to society, he set about to give his own. He consulted widely – the youth, the elders, the men, women and even the boys and girls.
The acceptance by the people of Ubium North ward 3 on Tuesday December 26, 2017 was the precursor to the great acceptance by the people of Ubium North as a whole on Wednesday December 27, 2017.
However, as they say, whom the gods want to destroy, they first make mad. The same immediate past transition committee chairman for Nsit Ubium who led a delegation of Ubium North people to request Senator Effiong Bob to give his son out to the people of Ubium North for the purpose of presenting him for election into the state House of Assembly come 2019 is the same person who is sponsoring a few misguided young people to turn against that choice. His new found group has employed every illegitimate tactics including impersonation, bribery, threat to life and positions. Having failed to disrupt the adoption process, the group is now sponsoring the writing of petitions and coercing unsuspecting persons to endorse them. In this fraudulent process, the group ventures to deceive some not so politically aware individuals by dropping the names of well placed persons in the local government area, the PDP in the local government area and in the state.
What were they thinking when they first approached Senator Effiong Bob to bring forward his son? Perhaps, having spent a greater part of their lives in fraud and fraudulent activities, they thought the people of Ubium North could be defrauded! If they had had a little bit of education and gone into history, they would have known that the people of Ubium North always take a decision once and that once that is done, they stand by it.
In the case of the House of Assembly seat for Nsit Ubium state constituency come 2019, the people of Ubium North have once again demonstrated their penchance to take a decision once and stand by it. That decision is embodied in Barr. Otobong Effiong Bob.
The beauty of democracy, however, is in its letting all voices, even fraudulent voices, to be heard. Democracy’s true strength is its ability to incorporate the needs and desires of a diverse population into a governing consensus. That has since been accomplished by Ubium North people.
Written by Patrick Efanga