By Comrade Lukpata James
If truly politics is a game of numbers, then Ukelle, the Yala II State Constituency, stands at a distinctive position within the Cross River North politics and indeed the entire Cross River State.
It would be recalled that the densely-populated Yala II State Constituency has never had the opportunity to represent the people in the National Assembly under Yala/Ogoja Federal Constituency or Senate that comprises Ogoja,Yala,Obudu,Obanlikwu and Bekwara which Yala rightly belongs with her economic strength in internally generated revenue.
Decades ago, Ukelle used to be the consulting hub of political activities standing taller than any other constituency basically because of their numerical strength and “BLOCK VOTING PATTERN” which guarantee any candidate of their choice an overwhelming victory in any election as long as Cross River North is concern.
But today, this milestone has become alien to the people due to unnecessary sentiment, division, poor attitude, clumsy ideas, godfatherism, poor orientation and lack of political education that stemmed from complacency, sell out and the usual ‘dedde otte’.
It will interest you to know that beside Ukelle assuming any national office either in the upper or lower chambers, there is no visible sign of development in any part of Ukelle the Yala II State Constituency as a whole lacks government presence of any form. The few health centres around are in decay form with conspicuous signs of underfunding and under staff.
Never had Ukelle gotten a general hospital with a single resident doctor despite her growing population. But each election year, political gladiators would be staging campaigns across the length and breadth of Ukelle building false hope with deceit and empty promises in the areas of infrastructure such as tarred roads, modern health facilities, electricity, good source of drinking water, good schools with well equip modern learning equipment and facilities, skills acquisition centres to mention but a few.
There is no misgiving that in spite of the super promises given during political campaigns, as soon as election results are announced and winners declared, all promises are swept under the carpet leaving the people at the mercy of God to source for their livelihood.
However, as the 2023 general elections draws near, there is need for the Ukelle people to plot their graph meticulously and come out with a charismatic candidate that will be able to give other contestants from Yala I and elsewhere a good run for their money. This can only be visible and achievable if we come together as a team to agree on a consensus candidate that all people of Yala II would lend their support and throw their weights behind the candidate during election come 2023.
Frankly speaking, our collective effort as people for several decades remains shambolic and has not yielded the desired result due to poor bargaining power and inability to lobby for positions and award of contract to our constituency. It is egregious to sell out in politics. Ukelle must learn to avoid politics of bitterness and acrimony. We must henceforth, learn to tackle issues confronting us as a people and not discrediting the little achievements available and the incessant attacks on personalities. Meanwhile, alignment and realignment in politics remain sacrosanct as long as it is done in a fair and judicious manner devoid of injustice which according to Martin Luther King Jr remains a threat to life everywhere.
Finally, every Ukelle person must put Ukelle above personal interest, we must think Ukelle first, we must fly the flag of Ukelle higher and we must dream Ukelle irrespective of our present predicament. Whether 2023 or beyond, Ukelle quest for effective representation remains paramount. Join hands to make ukelle rise again!