September 18, 2017

NEWS: Politicians hunt Cross Rivers monarchs with thugs for questioning candidates’ imposition – Clan Head

NYAHASANG— CLAN Head of Nyahasang, a suburb of Calabar Municipality, Cross River State, Ntoe Edim Moses Ekong, has alleged that some politicians in the Niger Delta region now send boys (read political thugs) after royal fathers for daring to interrogate the choice of candidates imposed on people by political parties.

The clan head stated this at a sensitisation campaign by a non-governmental organisation, Afrihealth Optonet Association, funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund, UNDEF, weekend, at the community, to raise people’s awareness on sustainable citizen participation in governance in the Niger Delta.

Ntoe asserted: “During elections, political parties pick their candidates without consulting the traditional rulers a cryout aise your voice that the person they have picked is not the right person, the boys would come after you – this is our problem.”

He said traditional rulers were hardly consulted or taken into consideration when people are elected into office, which accounts for the poor state of infrastructure and development in the area. According to him, most of those elected were imposed on the community and when the people geto the office, they soon become lords and turn their backs on the community.

What they do in office

His words: “Once they get into office, they buy big cars and will not come here to identify with us. But shortly after leaving office, give them six months, they come back here looking worse than before they were elected. Most of those elected from the community are neither the choices of traditional rulers nor do we make any inputs. The political parties are the ones that impose them. A very little boy, after the election, begins to raise his shoulders and would insult you if you dare to correct him and for that reason, we keep away to avoid being insulted or assaulted.”

The traditional head added, “Until traditional rulers are given a place in the political spectrum, nothing much will be different in terms of the quality of those elected into office and their responsiveness to the needs of the community.”

At the sensitisation campaign attended by women, youths, men and elders of the community, they reviewed unpleats ant incident of the death of nine persons when an electric cable collapsed on the roof of a football viewing centre, a few months ago. They noted that elected leaders from the area did not keep to their promises to assist the people to erase the pains of the disaster.

Unemployment and lack of opportunities

Most of the speakers also bemoaned the poverty in the area caused by unemployment and a lack of opportunities for the youths, which have often made them restive and indulge in anti-social vices.

Resolutions: They resolved that henceforth, those to be voted into power must be people who have the interest of the community at heart. Director, Green Vision for Community Development and driver of the sensitisation project, Elder Okon Enemi, said the Nyahasang community was chosen for the campaign because of the sordid incident that took place there recently, emphasising that elected official representing the area in the local government, state or National Assembly were directly responsible to the people and should, therefore, be in constant interaction with them to address the myriad of problems confronting the community.

He said: “A leader should not be aloof to the needs of the people and any leader, who is not responsive to your needs, should be brought back home and another person from among you, who you consider responsible should be voted to replace him.”

He stated that in a democracy, elections were conducted periodically to give the people the opportunity to appraise their leaders and those not doing well can be voted out or while still in office, he can be replaced by a recall.

He added: “The first thing to do when your representative is not doing well is to engage him in an interaction and express your dissatisfaction with his performance and demand for a change. But if he persists in his attitude, you have to seek for a way to change him and this change is not through violence but recall or through voting.”

He said traditional rulers conversant with the people should play an active role in choosing who to represent or to be voted into power so that the constant complaints that elected officials are cut off from the needs of those who elected them would be checked.

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