NCC/OBONO-OBLA SAGA: Varied Perspectives of C’ Riverians you shouldn’t miss

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Efio-Ita Nyok|30 November 2016

It's no more news that Yakurr, Cross River-born APC chieftain and Special Adviser to the President on Prosecution, Chief Okoi Ofem Obono-Obla, has had his name dropped from the Board of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).

Chief Obono-Obla’s name was removed 
in the letter to President Buhari dated November 22, and signed by Senate President Bukola Saraki, a copy of which was obtained yesterday by Vanguard.

It would be recalled that on 17 November 2016 decision arrived on by the Senate Obono-Obla was among the five whose nominations by President Buhari were approved by the Senate on while two of the nominees were dropped.

Others whose appointments were confirmed were Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye (Chairman/Ogun/South-West), Senator Ifeanyi Ararume(Non- Executive Commissioner/Imo/South East), Sunday Dare (Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management/Oyo/South-West), Okoi Ofem; Obono-Obla (Non-Executive Commissioner/Cross River/South-South) and Clement Omeiza Baiye (Non-Executive Commissioner/Kogi/North-Central).

Also affected in the lawmakers, however, dropped Aliyu Abubakar (Non-Executive Commissioner/Bauchi/North-East) and Pastor Ezekiel Yissa (Non-Executive Commissioner/Kwara/North-Central).

However, a handful of prominent Cross Riverians who are reputable social commentators have aired their minds on the incident. I will be capturing in this publication the reaction of journalist Inyali Peter, development economist Princewill Odidi, social change agent Joseph Odok, leading legal practitioner Utum Eteng, political pundits Prince Thomas Abi Jr, Bobby Iliad, Peter Offem Ubi and Simon Utsu.

Princewill Odidi
According to the Constitution, the president “shall” nominate his appointees, with the Senate’s “advice” and “consent.” “Advice and consent” does not mean any sort of duty, but leaves to the Senate, in its best judgment, what to do.

Can an appointee still proceed to run his office even with Senates negative advice and consent?

Does "advice and consent" translate to approval or disapproval? Does Senate have the legislative powers to prevent or stop a Presidential appointment?  Does the president have a way of getting his nominees proceed on assignments without Senates considerations? The answers will surprise you. Watch out!

Utum Eteng

This alert to all Cross Riverians has become necessary in view of the suspected conspiracy going on by some of our Senators in the National Assembly. They are alleged to have concluded arrangement to sell out the position of the Non-Executive Commissionership in the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) graciously given to Cross River by President Muhammadu Buhari to another state in the South-South for their selfish interest and pecuniary gains.

Cross Riverians will recall that after the President nominated Chief Okoi Obono Obla to represent the interest of South-South in management board, Obla was duly screened and publicly confirmed by the Senate on November 17, 2016. The votes and proceedings of the senate sitting as reflected in pages 889 – 890 were fully documented to bear testimony to the open confirmation given to Obla. One is by this information calling on all Cross Riverians to rise up to condemned unequivocally this malicious act of some of these members of the upper legislative chambers.

Their actions are a threat to the peaceful co-existence of the entire population of the state. The opportunity extended to us as a people cannot be sacrificed on the altar of self-seeking and myopic interest of one or two people on account of the privileges enjoyed on behalf of the entire population of the state. We are calling on these individuals to take immediate steps and recall the unprofitable and destructive journey they may have embarked on.

By this notice, one seeks to draw the attention of the Senate President to recall the correspondence transmitted to the President through the Special Adviser to Mr. President on National Assembly matters (Senate). This is necessary because one verily believe that he was misled by these two members of the upper legislative chambers for their personal gains.

Peter Ofem Ubi
I have followed the issue of Okoi Obono-obla from his point of nomination to hearing before the Senate and his final confirmation to the NCC with interest …we have national dailies reporting his clearance by the Nigeria Senate.

I have equally followed the argument presented by friends on the conspiracy and controversial timing of some senators in Cross River orchestrating the nomination be rescinded for political reasons beyond my understanding.

It is disgusting to note in reading Vanguard Newspaper that the persons Obla would be so publicly persecuted in a fraudulent, illegal and unconstitutional manner by Senators of his own state who should have come to his defense ….PDP I may say -politics at is bitterness.  For a man who was already cleared, out of supposed future ambition unwelcoming to some, his name is taking off the list of cleared nominees for NCC Commisionership.

If his conspirators are allowed to stand, it will be a new chapter opened. I will advice Senator representing the Central Senatorial District of Cross River State to repair any damage on this matter before the Nigeria Senate.

The facts to me are clear today, and this isn't what I expected -what is there to gain in conspiring? already Obla is an appointee of this Administration in other capacity and therefore has nothing to lose.

There will be a time to remember; we in central shall remember; the people of Yakurr will ensure remembrance isn't left out of this drama.

Joseph Odok
The Removal Of Barr Okoi Obono-obla's Name as Non Executive Member of Nigerian Communication Commission: Nigeria Should not be Reduced to a Banana Republic

Nigeria cannot be Reduced to a Banana Republic by the Senate, our law makers should not be seen as law breakers. It is sad that the Senate President Senator Bukola Saraki is turning the Nigerian Senate into a Banana Republic, the President should not fall prey to this especially in the era of change.

A Senate President cannot singlehandedly over turn the decision of the Senate. This is so because Barr Okoi Obono-obla name had been cleared by the Nigerian Senate in a plenary and no motion is said to have been moved to the contrary. As it is, the rules of the Senate has been breached by the Senate President and Nigeria Should not be made into a Banana Republic by the Senate that makes our laws.

I am disturbed that in the days of Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, Prince Bassey Otu and Senator Ayade Benedict no nominee from Cross River State origin was ever turned down or removed from any screening exercise. These Senators stood down their interest for the Cross River interest despite differing political interest. Our present Senators in the persons of Senator John Owan Enoh, Senator Rose Oko, Senator Gershom Bassey must as a matter of urgency rise up to protect the Cross River State interest and learn from their predecessors.

According to rumours filtering the political space, the removal of Barr Okoi Obono-Obla's name is due to a clash of interest. Sources has it that Senator John Owan Enoh is jittery over Barr Okoi Obono-Obla's interest in the Senate, so his scheme for the removal of Obla's name was targeted at cutting Obla's tail and reducing his chances of being an obstacle to his return to the Senate.

In my interview with Senator Owan Enoh, Enoh held that he is just hearing from my conversation with him that Obla is having an interest in the Senate. He denied his involvement in the removal of Obla's name and rather held that he rather acted in protection of Obla than to his detriment. Obla's name has been removed, our Senator must be seen to work and do the politics to bring back his name despite party's interest. We must think Cross River State beyond personal interest. Thinking Cross River State here entails, encouraging what will legitimately improve Cross River State and swallowing our emotions.

Bobby Iliam
It is physically impossible to believe that, even at this point in time where almost every household could read to a certain level and comprehend a script, yet as a people we have chosen to play politics with every n any issue before us? Who did this to "us"? 

Is the Upper Chamber a showroom? If they found Mr./Mrs. A,B not fit for a job, n their reasons stated, why repealing it? This Nation called Nigeria my home birth is in for a long run.

Simon Utsu
I thought I said it in an article a few months back? That it was just a matter of time before the plethora of Cross River contingent(politicians/Presidential appointees) in Abuja started pulling themselves down? Details have emerged of how two Cross River Senators, John Owan-Enoh(CRS central) and another convinced the Senate President to withdraw the confirmation of Chief Obono-Obla as the non-executive commissioner representing the south-south region on the board of the NCC.
Owan Enoh represents the same senatorial district where Obla hails from, matter of fact, his emergence as a first time Senator last year, was partly a product of Chief Obla's activism-when Barrister Obla vehemently resisted Ndoma-Egba returning for a fourth term thereby paving the way for Owan who was in the house of Reps to step up to the Senate.

I'm not the biggest fan of Chief Obla the politician but I'm a big fan of Chief Obla the Lawyer and Chief Obla the activist. By doing what they did, Owan-Enoh and his accomplice have denied Cross River state one of the very few seats on the highly coveted NCC board. How self-serving! How crass! How diabolical! Matter of fact, if this had happened in some parts Nigeria, the people would have gone to their oracles to call down the wrath of the gods on Owan-Enoh. Owan-Enoh and his 'partner in crime' are hereby advised to ensure that the dubious reversal of Chief Obla's confirmation which was instigated by them is reversed. Failure to do so immediately, is definitely going to make them incur the wrath of the masses and most likely be the beginning of the end for them politically.

Prince Thomas Abi Jr
I have read on Sahara Reporters about the removal of our learned Barrister and SA to the President on Prosecution, Chief Okoi Obono-obla from the NCC list sent to Mr. President.

For the purpose of love, peace, brotherliness, togetherness and the Cross River interest, I plead with Senator John Owan Enoh, Senator Gershom Bassey, Senator Rose Oko to do something.

We are in one way or the other connected as a people either through friendship or any form of affiliation. For the interest of our beloved State, I beg that our senators speak with the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki to send the name of our own Chief Okoi Obono-obla to the President. 

Please my Senators and leaders, this is the time we need you all as our representatives, we cannot afford to miss this great opportunity in the NCC.

Thank you as you work towards getting Chief Obla's name back to the list.

God bless!

Prince Thomas Abi Jr.

Inyali Peter

Cross Riverians do we allow the selfish interests of our two senators rob us all of the position of Non-Executive Commissioner (South South) of the Nigerian Communication Commission? Do we allow the daylight robbery stay? Have we benefitted too much from federal appointment that our senators should sell some out? Did this evil happen during Senators Victor Ndoma-Egba, Ben Ayade and Prince Bassey Otu time in the red chambers? The answer is an outright NO!

Those trying to get sympathy for their unholy and uncharitable action with the talk of double salary for Chief Okoi Obono-obla as SA on Prosecution to the President and NCC Commissioner have forgotten so soon that the later is a part time job that does not attract salary.

Besides, even if he was to end salary, what about the Senate President and other senators who are collecting pension as former governors and still receiving full salaries as senators from the same government?  Saraki and the two accused senators from our state can't preach honesty as the best principle when they are not honest themselves.

Where were they when Chief Edem Duke, the then Minister of Tourism was appointed Acting Minister of Information? How about Labaran Maku who doubled at some point as a minister of Information and Defence? What of Nysom Wike who acted as a Minister of State for Education and Minister of Education for almost two years? Were these people not given impress or allowances to run their double offices? These and many more examples makes the fight against Chief Obla a fight against Cross River. And we must come together regardless our party affiliation to fight this.

The two senators who have been accused of perpetrating this evil against the state and wanting to sell our mandate to other south South States should come clean. They should go back and pressurise the Senate President to do another U-turn by allowing this gracious gift from President Buhari to stay.

Also, I want to urge the President to go ahead with the inauguration of Chief Obla and other four cleared nominees like the former President inaugurated Obanikoro as Minister of state for defence against the Senate refusal to confirm him for political reasons.

Moreso, this should serve as a deterrent to Mr. President that his slow approach to everything is causing Nigerians more pains than gain. If he had inaugurated these people within the twelve days they were cleared by Senate, this set back would have been avoided.

Even when the NDDC board was cleared, it took President Buhari another two months to inaugurate them. Setting up federal boards is a problem for our dear President and inaugurating cleared nominees is even becoming a bigger problem. We're running out of patience with the President lackadaisical attitude towards board appointments.

**It's quite unfortunate that with available evidence suggesting strongly that Obono-Obla was confirmed as NCC Non Executive Commissioner representing south-south geopolitical zone, his name could be unilaterally removed by the Senate President for whatever mundane reasons. I am calling on the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to redeem their distinguished image by replacing Obono-Obla's name where it rightfully belongs. I am particularly calling on Senators Rose Oko, John Owan Enoh and Gershom Bassey to do the needful. We are first Cross Riverians before being party men/women.

Efio-Ita Nyok
Is a Blogger, the Editor & Publisher of