Yala LGA Politics in Focus: A Chronicle of Its Political Trajectory —Emmanuel Oko Ogar

Comr. Emmanuel Oko Ogar 
Emmanuel Oko Ogar|12 March 2017
For few weeks at this instant, I’ve been thrown down the gauntlet and pommelled by the myriad of reactions as aftermath of one of my recent articles where mega joules of energy was dissipated in a sincere attempt to redirect those feeble minds that had strayed out of the political trajectory of Yala for only those with extrasensory perception (ESP) to decipher. In order not to succumb to such pressure, but up-thrusting against the deluge and political tempest that dangled before my sight in a bid to ridicule and rivet me, without predisposition, I admitted the imperativeness of digging deep into the genesis of the political oligarchy and the exodus of the juggernauts in Yala while taking into cognizance its demagogue.
For a while, I was in the arms of Morpheus, but awakening from that inertia state, I understood as you equally know that history is beautiful and devoid of error— but historians seldom errs. Truly, Yala nation is one of the most populated political habitats in Cross River State, CRS. It’s heterogeneous and hallowed with two state constituencies with very diminutive rate of political apathy.
Agreeably, there’s no verisimilitude that politics is like the phenomenon of adiabatic concept where there’s neither loss nor gain of heat. Definitely, it’s synonymous to computerized feedback mechanism where the quality of the output is directly hooked on the proportionality of its input.
The evolution of man and politics are indivisible and inseparable conjoined twinsfixed by the fetters of divinity and oiled by nature. Philosophically, a man without his polis isn’t a man. Therefore, man is the direct product and manifestation of his environment. He’s influenced by induced and exerted factors such as religion; tradition and custom, mythology, ideology, science and technology, environment and the last— politics which is certainly not the least.
Pursuance to the Court’s injunction barring the state government from constituting Caretaker Committee to oversee local government’s affairs, and based on the expiration of the outgone chairmen which was brought before the public domain,  a lot of beehive activities are tilting towards a fixed-point of who becomes the next man to be saddled with responsibility of piloting the LGA’s affairs.
Yala for instance is set for the real election but a number of contradictions and intrinsic preconceived notion in the line of party’s affiliation and tribal sentiment as well as consanguine relationship are exacerbating the already skewed polity. In the light of the foregoing, it’s unequivocally expedient that a ray of light is beamed at her political curve for all and sundry to understand how power has been oscillating amongst its constituent wards since the inception of the LGA.
In northern senatorial constituency, Yala LGA plays a pivotal role due to its voting strength. Sincerely, it’s the political field effect and the centre of curvature of the north. That’s, the LGA where the selectorate select for the electorate to elect. Eschewing all forms of aberrations, let history tell its story and fact speak for itself should you chose to doubt my assertion.
In 1991, through edict, the Military junta of Gen. Ibrahim,Badamusi  Babaginda led federal government of Nigeria created Yala LGA with its headquarters at Okpoma by the influence of Maj. Gen.Anthony Ukpo the then Military Administrator of Rivers State.
Information from the official gazette of the Ministry of Local Government Affairs and oral interviews from reliable sources provided a roadmap on how the voyage has being thus far. As captured earlier, it’s no news that Yala LGA has two state constituencies and fourteen council wards. Constituency I have 8-wards and the rest are in constituency II. The wards are: Okuku; Okpoma, Ugaga, Echumofana, O’oh, Yahe, and Gabu/Yache wards. Others are Wanikom, Wanihem, Ikedde,
Ijiraga and Mfuma’Ntrigor wards.
Power has been oscillating between these constituencies from the dawn. The first Sole Administrator of the LGA in 1991 was Mr. Ofuka Ogar, an Ikom indigene. He conducted the election that ushered in the first executive chairman, Sen. Greg Ngaji into office. Ngaji’s tenancy lasted from 1992 – 1994. It’s worthy of noting that Ngaji was from Okpoma ward as it was then— but he is at the moment in O’oh ward due to geopolitical fragmentation.  That was the era of the third republic.

When the barrack boys, sorry military struck again, a Caretaker Committee was constituted in 1994 to the dawnof 1995 and was supervised by Hon. Declan J. Ogar from Ugaga ward. He steered the election that brought Sir. Ilom Augustine into office. Before one would bate an eye-lid, Sir. Augustine who comes from Wanikom ward was removed from office by Election Petition Tribunal and was supplanted by Hon. Samuel Ujor from Ijiraga ward. Ilom administration terminated in 1996 and Ujor continued till 1997.

After Ilom, another Caretaker Committee was instituted where Madam Theresa Ngozi Ezama was in-charge from1997 till the fall of 1998. In that same year, another Sole Administration of Barr. Ntufam Ogar from Etung local government was put in place for a period of 3-months. Prior to the advent of democracy when Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar gave consent of his preparedness to relinquish power to noncombatant government, election was conducted and Hon. Matthew Ojugbo was entrusted with the peoples’ mandates as the chairman from 1999 to 2002. He is from Echumofana ward.

In 2003 to 2004, late Hon. James Ikpa from Wanikom ward was in charge of Caretaker Committee. He handed over to Hon. John Eyikwaje who is from Yahe ward. Eyikwje continued till 2007. Also, in December 2008, Barr. Fidelis Egoro began his tenure and at the end of December 2010, he transmitted it to Hon. Gabe Ugor. Egoro comes from Mfuma’ Ntrigor. From December 10th 2010 to 10th December 2013, Ugor was in power. He is from Yache ward.  On the 15th December 2013 to 15th December 2016, Hon Mike Usibe was at the helm of the LGA affairs.
From the above contour, it’s visible to the blind that only Okuku ward is left. Other wards have benefitted either in Sole Administration consideration, Caretaker Committee or Elective category.
The contending issue is the chairmanship office that is currently vacant. People are asking where it should be zoned to and who should be considered amongst those shoving for the job. Before that is weighed, there are militating factors worthy of consideration such as political affiliation, consanguine association and the political family one belongs to and the presage of ‘errand-boys’.
There are three geopolitical blocks or regions in Yala constituency I in terms of power allotment and equitable distribution of democratic dividend. There are: eastern Yala, western Yala and Gabu/Yache block. Eastern Yala comprises of Echumofana, Okuku and Ugaga wards. Western Yala consists of Okpoma, Yahe and O’oh wards. While Gabu/Yache takes the last block.
Over the years, there are some political families that influences who becomes what or occupies what position in Yala politics. The Sen. Greg Ngajis family; Sen. Rose Okos family, Hon. Larry Odey/ Emmanuel Odos family that consists of Mr. John Odey (former minister of Information and Environment), Hon. Gabe Ugor and Dr. Julius Ukpotu. Also, the Chief F. A. Ogars family.
Currently, Okpoma ward is having the incumbent senator that’s representing CRS northern constituency in person of Dr. Rose Oko. The state commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Stella Odey is from Ugaga ward. The Honorable member representing Yala constituency I at the State House of Assembly, Mrs. Regina Anyongo is from Gabu ward. The chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, is from Yache ward. Mr. Jude Ngaji is from O’oh ward. He’s the State Security Adviser, SSA to the governor. The state chapter of the People Democratic Party, PDP’s secretary, Mr. Omaga Odo is from O’oh ward. Barr. Alphonsus Ogar Eba is from Echumofana ward. Please read in-between line and not just scan through.
It’s appealing to succinctly and explicitly clarify that some of the wards that have benefitted as used in political parlance got it on appointment ground based on their personal camaraderie with the state governor and not on the wheel of the wards they come from.
Since all of us incubating political aspiration of contesting the chairmanship position of our esteemed local government can’t be chairman simultaneously, we must act chivalrously by considering that others would wish to be considered as we desire to be preferred. I include as mandated by my associates that this time around, there shall be no business as usual. The COMMON MAN shall elect their chairman and not the so-called political tigers to select for them. Never!
Comr. Ogar, Emmanuel Oko
Is a Sociopolitical pundit, a politician, writer and youth’s emissary. He can be reached via 08095778978 or emmygar50@yahoo.com.