Senator Effiong Dickson Bob is his name. An old war horse. Tried and tested in the uncanny and murky terrain of our local and national politics. He has fought many political battles. Won some, lost some.
Senator Bob is currently embroiled in the mother of all battles, apologies to late Saddam Hussein. The project of delivering his son, Barrister Otobong Effiong Bob, as the next member representing Nsit Ubium State Constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, will be akin to rolling water uphill.
Senator Bob, like his colleague, Senator Ita Enang, belongs to the exclusive caste of grassroots politicians who has seen it all, rising from the lowest rung of our political ‘stratosphere’ to the top. He cut his political teeth as a Supervisory Councilor for Works And Transport in Nsit Ubium Local Government Area in 1990. He got elected to represent his State Constituency and served as Deputy Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly between 1992-1993.
Bob bounced back as the Chairman of Nsit Ubium holding office from 1996-1997. Thereafter, he was appointed Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Akwa Ibom State by former Governor Victor Attah, on the return of democracy in 1999. He served out that tenure.
In 2003, Bob leapt from Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice into the Senate to represent Akwa Ibom North East (Uyo) Senatorial District. In 2007, he overcame a fierce resistance and earned a second term in office which was not quite easy on the eyes of onlookers. But in 2011, his train screeched to a halt. A coalition of forces, I will not like to incorporate here stalled his imperious March for an unprecedented third term in the National Assembly.
In between, Senator Bob has been so many other things that makes his resume very illustrious. Howbeit, this Otobong Bob for Nsit Ubium State Constituency project is an acid test for him. It may prove to be his biggest challenge ever.
Truth is, the Bob’s, father and son, do no wrong, in making this audacious bid. If nothing else, it’s their constitutional right to aspire to vote or be voted for. The problem however is that, in this our political clime, apart from the constraints of zoning, our people generally resist family dynasties or its similitude.
In the recently concluded Local Government Elections, the Political Leader(I keep pondering on this acclamation), of Uruan Local Government, Hon. Prince Ekpe Atakpo, himself a veteran politician and former lawmaker, could not get his son, Mr Inyang Ekpe Atakpo, the prized Office of Chairman, Uruan Local Government Area, which he vied for, but could not scale through the primaries, before the last December 2, 2017, local government polls.
Only the Etiebet, and Akpabio, families of Oruk Anam and Essien Udim council areas respectively, have somehow managed to fashion a strong political experience in the State. There is also the Ette family of Ibeno, that have crafted prominence in the political fate of their jurisdiction. Will Bob succeed in kick starting one in Nsit Ubium?
Since Barrister Otobong Effiong Bob was reportedly adopted by Ubium North stakeholders to run for the State Constituency seat, a tug of war has broken out. While one camp says, the seat should not be greedily appropriated as a family affair by Senator Bob, accusing him of trying to impose his son on the Constituency, another camp hinge their opponency on the intra bloc zoning as relevant to the three Wards of Ubium North, favoured to produce the occupant of the office. However they end up sorting that out, remains their Lot. But I must say that, they are unfair to Effiong Bob and Son, in trying to criminalize their legitimate quest with unbridled blackmail. These two, father and son, are separate destinies. One should not be allowed to suffocate the other, no matter how entwined their trajectories may seem.
Otobong Bob should be given a fair chance, like every other Aspirant to prove his mettle and test his popularity through the prescriptions of party processes. If he emerges candidate of his party, then, he can weigh in on the general election and see the outcome.
That is the right thing to do for Nsit Ubium people. Otobong Bob should not be intimidated or hounded out of the race. Neither should his father be crucified because his son has declared his interest in the race. But, if he tries to win it, by leveraging on, or throwing about his father’s weight, then, he is not man enough to seek Elective office and should be rejected by the voters.
I actually find it appalling and reprehensible that, a political leader(whatever that means)as we call them, is asked to nominate somebody for appointment as a Special Assistant, member of Boards and Commissions; or even as a Commissioner, and he nominates his son, wife or daughter for the slot. All the political foot soldiers, who did the hard work, in this instance, are relegated and don’t count. This a is selfish, so often creates confusion in the party leading to defections and is, for me, condemnable. As our people say, that which makes eggs palatable in the mouth of the Bishop is also found in the mouth of the congregants.
One time Senate Leader, Dr Olusola Saraki, peace on his ashes and succeeded in prodding his son, Dr Bukola Saraki to become governor of kwara State and his daughter, kemi, to become a Senator. Indeed he his son has gone ahead to beat his record and currently presides over the National Assembly as Senate President.
All Progressives Congress National Leader, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, also succeeded in having his wife become Senator, and got his Son in-law into the State House of Assembly. Governor Rochas Okorocha is currently having a field day trying to create a family dynasty. Recently, he appointed his elder sister, Commissioner for Happiness and Purpose fulfillment. That however isn’t all. When you read the revelation below, you will repent from attacking Senator Effiong Bob.
Check this information culled from Sahara Reporters and see for yourself, how far Okorocha is willing to go with his family in power. It reads, “His son-in-law, Uche Nwosu married to his first daughter is presently his Chief of Staff, whom he is plotting to impose as the Governor of Imo state come 2019. The Minister from Imo State Prof. Anthony Anwukah is also his in-law, married to his second daughter, Uju Okorocha. His youngest sister, Ogechi Ololo, is his Deputy Chief of Staff as well as his SA Domestic Affairs. His wife Mrs. Nkechi Okorocha is in charge of “Amnesty” in Imo State with a five billion naira budget.
His eldest sister, Mrs. Geraldine Obinali, collects all market fees and fines in Imo State. His eldest brother Gerald receives the account for all Motor Park tolls in Imo State. His younger brother Okey is in charge at Imo Transport Company. His brother, Jude is in charge of revenue from sand dredging, and any laterite excavation pit in Imo State. His second Daughter Mrs. Uju Rochas Anwukah is appointed as Board member from Imo State ”
On a serious note however, methink, this gamble with his son will seriously affect and impede the total focus of Senator Bob on the second term project of His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel, which, as a major stakeholder of the PDP, he should get on board, to seriously engage and deliver on the project come 2019.
That is my take.