Ndoma-Egba: The Biblical Joseph Of Cross River
Once upon a time, was a State, the State was a family. There was peace and harmony in this political family as it was devoid of opposition, in-fighting and rancor. The political stability that pervaded the land then was such that despite Cross River State being Civil Service State with not too pronounced commercial activity, salaries and other financial obligations of the State Government were always met.
Thence was the ever hibernating mollusc of a Governor, whose favorite hobby was sleeping. He was asleep when Bakkassi went to Cameroun, he was asleep when Cross River was delisted from the oil producing States thereby eroding the revenue that ab-initio accrued to the State from Derivation Fund. Our sister State Akwa Ibom took all that because of the State’s shoddy representation at the Supreme Court. He was also asleep when his election was annulled by Court of Appeal Calabar which shares the same fence with his office. He only got to know through a phone call from Abuja.
“Ask Victor” and “Tell Victor” was a very popular acronym around the Cross River State Government House then as the Governor refers and directs any enquiry or complaint regarding the then ruling Party PDP, Federal Minister/Ministry or Presidency. The Governor will respond by either saying ask or tell Victor. The Victor in question is the Leader of the 7th Senate, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba SAN. From his Office in the Senate Chambers Abuja, he maintains the States National visibility, relates with all Ministerial Departments and Agencies and ensures that Cross River State gets what is due to it.
This includes Federal Appointments, Ambassadorial slots, Projects and Interventions by Federal Government and Agencies. He funds the activities of PDP in Cross River State and pays the salaries of Party Exco for which bank tellers are still available. Even when the Governor was out of the Country for nearly One Calendar Year on health grounds, Senator Ndoma-Egba it was that ensured stability in the State as such that the Governor’s absence wasn’t felt much.
Build up to 2015 General Elections, signs of crack began to appear. What was earlier assumed to be a fiction took a life of its own. The Conspiracy began to thicken; it was so thick that you can even slice it with a stiletto. The State Exco of PDP convened series of meetings without inviting Senator Ndoma-Egba. Even when they choose to invite him, the invitation will come via SMS one hour to the meeting time.
The same Party whose activities he funded, Party Exco members whose salaries he paid, Friends, Political Associates, Benefactors and even Acolytes were all part of this Conspiracy and the Conspirator-in-Chief was the then Governor and the Conspiracy theory was that he wants to be the Asiwaju of Cross River Politics a replica of Tinubu of Lagos and South West. And so if Senator Ndoma-Egba is still in the saddle post 2015 this won’t be possible as the Senator’s image looms larger than his. But this is not a sellable point, so he had to tell the People of Cross River something else.
Victor can’t win elections anymore, this is a man that has contested and won three Senatorial Elections in Series and none was annulled as against the backdrop of the Governor whose Election was annulled by Court of Appeal. In his three unbroken terms in the Senate he has been able to attract Federal presence and Projects to Cross River Central Senatorial District to the tune of N7billion.
A feat unparalleled and unequaled in the whole South/South region, in the area of Legislation Senator Ndoma-Egba wasn’t found wanting as he has 53 Bills to his credit including the Freedom of Information Bill (FOI). And the plot became thicker by the day, till such a time when Policy of Cross River State Government was “Stop Victor” by all means possible. It channeled all it has in its arsenal to achieve this aim. All State government functionaries were drafted into this ignoble project to the detriment of the State, such that the State Government couldn’t pay Salaries for two months as funds meant for such purpose were channeled into “Stop Victor Project”.
The Popularity and Acceptance of Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba amongst the people of Cross River reverberated as his line up won the Ward Congress of 2014. It was like the whole hell was let loose, it became public knowledge that the Governor and his group were not on ground. So what's the next option, they enlisted the help of Sister States from South South prominent Ijaw Leaders and PDP National Headquarters to help in the stop Victor project. Despite a valid standing order of the Federal High Court, the result of the Ward Congress was cancelled, this aspect of the project was funded from Sister Akwa Ibom State.
The then Governor of another oil rich State in South South who was to become a Senatorial Candidate was pressured and threatened by Ijaw Leaders and militant Kingpin to withdraw his candidature for a certain lack lustre three time Senator from his State to return to the Senate.
This leg of the conspiracy was a grand strategy by the Ijaw Nation to ensure National visibility after Jonathan’s exit by 2019. He was to become Senate Leader replacing Senator Ndoma-Egba in 2015 and thereafter Senate President by 2019. Little did they know that God has different plans both for Nigeria and Senator Ndoma-Egba.
So, just like the Biblical Joseph whose brothers conspired and sold to Egypt as slave, who was later to become Prime Minister and provided succour for his brothers. PDP, Cross River State and South South brothers and friends of Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba conspired with the aim of terminating his political career for the singular reason that they were no more comfortable with his soaring popularity and profile. Today, he is the Chairman Designate of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The interventionist agency saddled with the responsibility of developing and providing infrastructure to the Niger Delta States.
"Man no be God" So goes a popular Nigerian maxim.
Ibanga Gregory writes from Calabar