By Michael Jegede
Former Senate Leader, Distinguished Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, a legal luminary and consummate politician, known for his legislative prowess and excellence as a Red Chamber lawmaker between 2003 and 2015, is the authentic senatorial candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), for Cross River Central in the 2019 general elections.
Ndoma-Egba garnered 50,729 votes in the direct primary election held on October 3, 2018, to emerge the party’s flag bearer for the 2019 Cross River Central senatorial poll. Next to him in the contest supervised by the National Working Committee (NWC)-recognized electoral body of APC, was Prof Oka Martins Obono, who had 19,349 votes. The other two aspirants – Anderson Rickets and Henry Ayuk got 302 and 252 votes respectively.
In a message of appreciation to his party members, Ndoma-Egba said: “In spite of my late entry into the race, The All Progressives Congress, APC, in Central Senatorial District of Cross River State, entrusted me with the ticket to once again represent the Senatorial District in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The honour to represent a people, especially in an elective capacity, is perhaps the highest honour a people can do anyone. I am indeed humbled by this honour of second chance which I accept in humility and honesty. We should therefore brace ourselves to go into the elections with determination and zeal with only one aim in mind, to win so as to avail our people once again true representation. We should go into the general elections resolved to align Cross River State which is now most vulnerable with the central government.
“I thank the members of our great Party for this very rare opportunity and assure them that I will represent them from my heart and soul, will exert myself to the very limits of my endowments and will do so twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and 52 weeks in the year. For those who shared the same aspiration especially Prof Oka Martins Obono, you were indeed very worthy. There will be more than enough roles for all. Once again, thank you.”
The ex-Senate Leader efficiently and admirably represented the people of Cross River Central Senatorial District for 12 years, on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). His attempt to secure the ticket of PDP in 2015 to continue with his good work in the Senate failed, as some leaders of the party in Cross River State determinedly stood against his fourth term ambition, for reasons best known to them.
It has, however, become obvious that those who pushed Ndoma-Egba out in 2015 only succeeded in denying the people of Cross River Central quality representation in the Red Chamber. The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, did his senatorial district, Cross River State and the country proud as a member of the upper legislative chamber. Hence, the intense pressure mounted on him from various quarters, to seek to be reelected into the Senate in 2019. Members of a group, without his knowledge, purchase the APC Senate nomination and expression of Interest forms for him.
A political pressure group in Central Senatorial district of Cross River State, referred to as “Reclamation Mandate Group”, was one of the groups that persuaded the erstwhile Senate Leader to contest for the senatorial seat in 2019.
In a statement signed by the Convener, Mr. Edo Owan, the group vowed to ensure Ndoma-Egba returns to the Senate next year. It noted that the ex-lawmaker’s sterling achievements while in the National Assembly are in the open for everyone to see and scrutinize.
According to the group, “His hard work, commitment to duty, resilient nature and benevolent disposition to all who came in contact with him earned him the leadership and respect. Victor Ndoma-Egba made only one promise to the people of central senatorial district during his campaign in 2003 elections, which is to give his people a voice, not just for central senatorial district, but for the whole Cross River State. That promise he kept faithfully and even went outside his duty of lawmaking to provide projects ranging from water supply, to flood/erosion control works, to drainage, library complexes, classroom blocks, scholarship to indigent students. When a lawmaker representing his people leaves the business of lawmaking or goes beyond the lawmaking process to attract projects, not just any projects, but projects that are dear to the heart of his people, then, that representative is really perfecting the concept of efficient and effective representation.”
Youths in Cross River State are equally in full support of Ndoma-Egba’s return bid. At the end of an enlarged statewide meeting in Calabar, prior to the APC primary poll that produced Ndoma-Egba as the party’s senatorial candidate in Cross River Central, Cross River State Youth Leaders Forum announced its endorsement of the cerebral lawyer for Senate 2019.
In settling for the ex-parliamentarian, the youth body in a communiqué read by its secretary, Hon Egiga Obaji Agim, said: “We Considered Focus, Responsibility, Standard, Maturity, Experience and Finesse; hence, our arrival at Distinguished Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, SAN to represent Central Senatorial District of Cross River State in the Senate.
“Distinguished Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, SAN is one of the most Experienced Legislator in the Country with Constituency Projects on ground to Prove. He has also done very well in the Area of Human Capital Developments, though he doesn’t blow his trumpet but a lot of his Constituents can testify to these and more… With Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba in the Senate, Cross River would be advantageous to even get the Senate Presidency or another Principal Office that would project our dear State.”
With almost 40 bills to his credit and several motions in his names, including the popular Freedom of Information (FoI) bill that was signed into law by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011, Ndoma-Egba recorded an unprecedented feat in the history of parliamentary representation in Nigeria. Also among the bills he sponsored were: the Nigerian Prisons Services Act (Repeal & Re-enactment Bill), which was passed on January 19, 2008; the Legal Aid Act Amendment Bill passed on February 13, 2008; the National Human Rights Commission Act Amendment Bill passed on February 18, 2008 and the Bill for An Act to amend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Cap C.23 Laws of the Federation of 2004 for the establishment of the National Industrial Court in the Constitution which was passed on May 26, 2010.
The astute politician is also believed to have facilitated the highest number of people-oriented constituency projects, among the federal lawmakers ever produced by Cross River State. He attracted about 76 quality projects worth over N7 billion spread across the six Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Cross River Central and influenced over 200 employment opportunities for his people in Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
Between 2003 and 2015, over 700 underprivileged students across Cross River Central benefited from his scholarship scheme which was meant for both undergraduates and postgraduates. Similarly, through his free computer training programme initiated in 2003, over 10,000 Nigerians from Cross River State and other parts of the country became computer literate.
As it is said that a goldfish has no hiding place, few months after he left PDP to join APC, President Muhammadu Buhari nominated him for appointment as the Chairman, Governing Board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). Since he assumed office as NDDC helmsman, Ndoma-Egba who was on no occasion found wanting in all the positions of authority he previously occupied, has through his purposeful and proactive leadership repositioned the interventionist agency for better performance and greater efficiency.
Many therefore believe that the ex-legislator will surely bring his vast wealth of knowledge and experience in legislative business to positively bear on the 9th National Assembly, if the people of Cross River Central vote for him to return to Senate in 2019. His priceless contributions to nation building were acknowledged by the Federal Government with an award of Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR) and later, Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON).
Michael Jegede, a media professional writes from Abuja