For the first time in a long time, the people of Abi and Yakurr have an election they can perceptibly call an election – the contest between Chief Alex Egbona and Rt. Hon. John Gaul for Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency.
The contest is between two “beloved” and “famous” politicians of same heritage but different orientation; same culture but different practice; same religion but different beliefs.
On one hand is Chief Alex who believes that a problem money cannot solve, more money can solve, and on the other hand is Hon. John who believes that a situation an opportunity cannot remedy, more opportunities can. A perfect scenario of a “money giving politician” and an “opportunity creating politician”, both on the same ground, at the same time, for the same battle.
“Which way will this thing go?” – the burning question in the mind of all Abi and Yakurr natives. Would the people prefer money to opportunity or would they prefer opportunity to money? – asked the writer.
With campaigns ready to fully hit the grounds by January, 2019, at the moment, the contest is not between Alex and John as it were, but between believers of Alex and students John. Looking down Abi and Yakurr from a hilltop, one could see two distant poles (otherwise, camps), one for Alex and the other, for John; with yet many others at the excluded-middle (being neither here nor there).
The debate at these opposing camps is what this “Episode I” seeks to narrate.
In Alex’s camp, for example, the campmen there believe that with money in the hands of the constituents, the dividends of democracy was met. It is their belief that a politician who comes around to grace their birthdays, burials and weddings ceremonies, even at festive periods to pick chieftaincy titles in exchange for brown envelopes should be given the mandate to make laws for the constituency. Perhaps, he could go to the Nigeria Federal House of Representatives to make laws that will see them pick brown envelopes at every of their events or he could go there to save (not steal) as much as he can, so as to come down and perform his usual rituals during occasion time.
Meanwhile, in John’s camp, the campmen there do not believe money at hand to be all that is needed in other for the constituency to pride of democratic dividends. They believe that a politician who is able to create opportunities for them to, not just have money (by way of begging) but earn it on regular intervals should be given the mandate to represent them at the Federal House of Representatives, perhaps, they believe, he can make laws that can create these opportunities they anticipate and as such would not be needed in person to come dole out money, as they should have had (if not enough money), sufficient enough to take care of their ceremonies and needs beyond.
As if the debate about money and opportunity was not enough, these campmen have decided to further delve into individual intelligibility and political lucency as criteria for who is fit for the slot.
Accordingly, students of John have been taught to know that their principal’s high-level intelligence in the business of law making, by virtue of his education qualification (as a trained and practiced lawyer, fellow of Havard School of Government [UK], etc) and wealth of experience as a two-term House of Assembly member cum Speaker of Cross River State House of Assembly and also doubling as Speaker (Chairman) of all serving PDP Speakers’ Forum, John, if elected could use this law making skills of his to bring Federal presence to the constituency. Especially that the politics of “who gets what” in the National Assembly is often played by highly intellectual politicians.
Oppositly, believers of Alex do not believe that legislative experience is anything to reckon with on this matter. It is their strong believe that anybody who is determined to do well could do well if elected irrespective of his education background or intellectualism. They believe that, Alex, though not brightly schooled nor well furnished in law making activities could match whichever brains he meets at the Federal House, be it experienced lawyers, legislators, or high-note politicians (though yet to win an election nor election tribunal).
This is the situation of things and the position of matters arising from Alex versus John contest with the campmen currently taking the order of the day. A contest between a money giver and an opportunity creator, an experienced lawmaker and an inexperienced lawmaker.
Should the undecided decide for Alex or should they decide for John? This is the question the next epistle (Episode II) seeks to answer – stay tuned!