The task for Yache to deliver bulk vote for the landslide victory of Ayade’s reelection in Cross River North became a feat due to the unusually strong political opposition that reared its ugly head in the state, particularly, in Yache ward where APC’s major political gladiators come from and had earmarked for landslide victory. Notably, apart from the fact that the factional APC Chairman John Ochala hails from Yache, a dogged fighter for the victory of APC from councillorship to the presidency, Chief Hon. Gabe Ugor – the former Chairman of Yala Local Government Council and DG APC Campaign Organisation, Cross River North – and other diehard APC members, in their zeal to win, made the whole struggle to look like a titanic battle for the PDP in Cross River North to win the majority votes through any means except through deployment of some form of intellectual wizardery. Note that feats are tasks that can be achieved by a pocket of people with some unique personal or professional qualities. This class of people, though are ordinary people, possess the capacity to carry out assigned responsibilities with extraordinary skills to achieve result that strikes the imagination of the people and leave them awe stricken, typical of genii.
The APC adherents, though worked like armies set for battle to reclaim lost territories, earlier took a leap in the dark and were mired in the illusion of Social Media popularity, the major arm of their campaign trail. They had a bloated, well funded, functional Media Team without voting capacity as most of them did not register to obtain PVC accredited for their wards. It is an open secret that, in the last election, one can only apply his PVC in the location of registration as transfer of PVC wasn’t effective, thus, barring those who reside in cities from casting their votes in their wards, back home.
Worse still, since most of the members of the APC Social Media, Campaign Team were strangers in their ward and Polling Units and could not influence votes in their Polling unit, on the election day, their electoral value to was at zero for their hero. Admittedly, before the election, they were successful in executing their nuisance agenda by propagating falsehood to smear the image of their opponents, but how did this “bad job” translate in producing votes at the polls? Of what effect is the blackmail on the Social Media on the vast majority of electorates in my community who barely have ears for gossips or afford the internet devices to be beguiled by the unholy activities of the desperate, ubiquitous Social Media influencers of the APC headed by one Joseph Odok known for his incoherent but consistent outpour of vitriolic criticisms on the PDP candidates? While I do not and can never downplay the power of the social media I also believe that even in developed world where ICT play a crucial role in all ramifications of human endeavours, the power of the Social Media poll that the APC apologists relied on during the most recent election is not a valid means to check the strength of candidates in an election because the requirement to use the voting card in an election cannot be compromised.
In the converse, the Social Media rather aided the victory of Ayade since the media was inundated with clear pictures of his industrial revolution evident in the Garment Factory, Calapharm, Cocoa Factory, Rice Seeds and Seedling Factory, Rice Mill, Toothpick Factory, Calabar Power Plant, Pile and Pylon Factory, Calachika, GRA – Ogoja Council – Ishibori Road of 2.5km, the Boki East West Road of 27km, Kakum – Bebuatsaun – Bedia Obusu Road of 12km, Dualisation of 148.65km Mfom – Okpoma – Okuku – Ogoja – Abuochiche – Obudu -Obudu Ranch Road construction in progress etc.
Apparently, in Cross River State, the name Dr. Odey rings bell in all the nooks and crannies of the eighteen (18) Local Government Areas for his uncommon managerial and administrative skills which he brought to bear with its concomitant results evident in the transformation of the Primary School subsector, as SUBEB Chairman. Besides, as Chairman of Cross River State Water Board, within few months of his administration as the Board Chairman, the people are left with the loud testimony of his uncommon reform that made the once moribund system under his jurisdiction to commence full operations. Given the presence of Dr. Odey now piloting political activities in Cross River North, specifically, his ward, Yache Ward, the conquest of PDP over the power thirsty APC APOLOGISTS WAS FORESEEN given the fact that he had laid a solid political foundation long before the election period which now obviously presents him with the opportunity to reap from his political investments.
While in the typical traditional political setting in Nigeria, politicians only emerge from the blues in our communities, few days to elections, to share cubes of maggi, salt, pepper, crayfish and other inconsequential domestic items with their ephemeral value, for Dr. Odey who had received adequate political education from his studies in sociology, he applied his wealth of knowledge by aligning himself with the people not just during the election period but long before the elections.
Consequently, the age long subscription to the axiom, “A prophet is without honour in his home town” is gradually waning off and being reversed as a result of recent events unfolding in Yache Land as Dr. Odey now enjoys deep admiration, kowtow and honour in his home and beyond through his effective representation of his boss, the governor of Cross River State, senator (prof) Ayade Benedict by relentlessly protecting the interest of his people through uninterrupted synergy with stakeholders in government, at the same time, upholding the principle of politics with ethics which has changed the perception of people about politics.
Dr. Odey’s transparency, philanthropy and delivery of the dividends of good representation to the people have rewritten the narrative on politics seen in the bygone era as a “dirty game”. Obviously, an uninformed constituents are barren of information about government and so they’re vulnerable to be misinformed and misguided by disgruntled politicians. Thus, through monthly Town Hall meetings with the people, Dr. Odey, in collaboration with chiefs, elders and political stakeholders of Yache have achieved the expansion of the political space and awareness of the people on the function of government, using Ayade led government as a case study, he broadened, deepened, and lengthened their knowledge on the responsibility of a responsive government by pointing at his agricultural/industrial revolution in the state with its effect of decoupling the state from overdependence on federal allocation, improving the IGR of the state, creating job opportunities and bringing development to the people to improve their standard of living.
Further more, apart from giving adequate political education on the need to participate in the political process by exercising their franchise to enthrone good leadership, early last year during voter’s registration, he mobilised multitude of his constituents to access the only INEC VOTERS registration centre located in far away location at the Local Government Secretariat, Okpoma. By this singular gesture of providing means of transportation to the indigent constituents, he was able to astronomically increase the voting strength of electorates in Yache Ward and having given them adequate political education, his support base for Ayade became bloated to gain the upper hand in any election conducted under a transparent, free and fair atmosphere.
An appraisal of his contributions to the critical needs of the people indicates that before carrying out the groundbreaking on behalf of the Governor, for the commencement of the construction of the ongoing Yache – Gabu road network in April last year, 2018, Dr. Odey had touched the lives of the people of Yache in various sensitive ways, namely; under the auspices of his principal, prof Ayade some exceptionally intelligent and talented students who are indigent indigenes of Yache have gained scholarships from him. Recall that award of scholarship dominates his principal’s second nature as credible statistics show that a number of students in universities in Nigeria and abroad have being enjoying his scholarship scheme even long before the beginning of his political career as senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Before Ayade’s administration, none from Yache was ever considered fit for such an opportunity to study abroad on scholarships from the state govt. as there was no one to serve as a bridge between Yache Community and government.
Additionally, his series of renovation of collapsed culverts in Yala and Uchu as well as panning of the Akreha – Okporku dilapidated bridge and his intervention in providing borehole at Osina Community – a measure to help in curbing the challenge of shortage of potable water supply in the rural areas, is highly appreciated by the people.
Also, Youths, in their large number, have had empowerments with some farm inputs to boost their agro based enterprise especially cassava and rice farming. This is his contribution aimed at encouraging both subsistence and commercial agriculture to boost food sufficiency and to earn a positive living. In this regards, he has indirectly keyed into the state government’s agricultural revolution in line with that of the president Muhammadu Buhari led Federal government agenda in agriculture to boost food sufficiency in the country, and to include Nigeria among rice exporting countries.
As C’River SUBEB Chairman, he had erected some new school buildings and revamped dilapidated old classroom blocks and equipped them with adequate learning materials such as computers, books, generating sets, tables and chairs including other learning aids. This specific intervention is connected with his rescue mission in SUBEB, the mandate given to him by the governor to ensure that he leaves no stone unturned in order that the basic education subsector in Cross River State achieves its core objective according to the National Policy in Education and in sync with global best practice in educational management.
Moreover, with the decades of embargo that was lifted on employment by Ayade-led administration and its concomitant vista of job opportunities been opened up by his agricultural and industrial revolution in the state, in addition to the Two Thousand, Five Hundred jobs in the primary school subsector, and the One Thousand jobs created at the Primary Healthcare Development Agency, psome Yache unemployed youths, through Dr. Odey’s assistance have received some share of employments that was squared up with their ward as determined by the sharing formula of equitable distribution of job opportunities among the political wards in the state. This opportunity went a long way to endear Ayade to the people of Yache.
Finally, following the natural law of sowing and reaping (Return On Investment) the day of gubernatorial election of 9th March stood as a day of harvest of votes as virtually all the electorates in Yache ward sacrificed their time, defied the rain and sun and turned out at their various polling units and voted in favour of Ayade, of PDP, the incumbent governor in the peaceful election adjudged free, fair and credible. While the PDP took the upper hand with 13,543 votes, the APC had 1,010 votes. Without any iota of doubts, from the general available statistic, in comparative terms, Yache ward had the highest valid vote cast in the entire … wards in the state.