Obol Goddy Ettah’ Senatorial Ambition: A Time To Revisit History
I understand that nothing is as hard as speaking the truth—especially in our clime where those who speak truth are readily vilified and unjustly victimized— and nothing is as easy as flattering a Politician for crumbs off his table. In Politics, to keep a people perpetually enslaved and oppressed, take away the Knowledge of who they are, their past, their identity and the totality of their history. Regrettably, ours is a generation of people so passionate about politics, without a grasp on our political history. We are a people bedeviled by a syndrome I refer to as, “Politically-Motivated Selective Amnesia”. A situation where a notorious criminal can be repackaged by power brokers and sold to the electorates on the even of an election, as the Political messiah of the moment. And for the electorates, whose psyche has been abused and bastardized against ethnic lines, Political Party affiliations and servitude— in the name of Loyalty to party leaders— and are left with the option of selectively choosing to forget the past and behave like the past never existed. An example of such selective amnesia is seen in the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, even after a disastrous outing between 2015–2019. That is who we are, we are chronically selective in our remembrance of history.
For Central Senatorial District—the Senatorial District that has Progressively given Cross River State their best since 1999 till date, I feel highly enthused talking about some of the aspirants jostling for the highly coveted Senatorial Seat and today, I feel it is imperative, I beam my searchlight in the direction of the man the Yakurr People call “Talk and Do” —Obol Goddy Ettah.
Historically Speaking, the Senatorial Seat of Central has remained in the Old Ikom since 1999 till date. From the days of the vivacious and superlatively cerebral Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba to the strategic yet self-effacing Senator John Owan-Enoh and now to the audacious, stentorian and earthshaking Orator of the 9th Senate, Distinguished Senator Prof Sandy Onor—the one they call the Original Caterpillar. Indeed, posterity will be kind to the people of Old Ikom for giving Central Senatorial District, nay Cross River State, their best brains. Though, I am not a rigid proponent of zoning, I feel constrain that the Senatorial Seat should return to Old Obubra. In old Obubra, ABI Local Government having produced a Senator, is left with Obubra and Yakurr Local Government Area. Quite unfortunate and disheartening too, my own Local Government Area—Obubra Local Government—appears to be lost in the scheme of things as it concerns the Senatorial race, so ultimately the buck stops in Yakurr Local Government Area.
In Yakurr Local Government Area, the Ugep and the Ekori People seem to be the only one jostling for the position. So all things being equal, the next Senator of Central SenatoriaI District is billed to come from either Ugep or Ekori, and this is where I feel we must revisit history.
Unlike Others, Obol Goddy Ettah has a resounding history of a near-immaculate service to humanity, from his days as Council Chairman to his appointment as Commissioner. As Council Chairman, Obol Goddy Ettah embodied the highest form of financial transparency and Accountability. It’s worthy of note to stress that, as Chairman of Council, Obol Goddy Ettah was adjudged the best out of 18 other Council Chairmen, by the Cross River State House of Assembly in terms of Financial Transparency and Accountability. As Council Chairman, he employed over 800 Civil Servants into the Local Government Civil Service Commission—an unprecedented feat that has remain unbeatable in Yakurr Local Government. In his quest to develop the urban and rural areas of the Local Government, he purchased a bulldozer, which was used occasionally for road maintenance and opening of feeder roads. As Chairman of Council, his open-door policy and accessibility was unrivalled. He brought the dividends of democracy to the doorstep of every Community, even Communities like Ekpeti without government presence. His employment scheme cut across all the Communities in Yakurr Local Government.
As Commissioner for Quality Education, Obol Goddy Ettah, gave Cross River State a prideful place in our nation’s history. As Commissioner, he prioritized basic Education, which saw the State rise from 26th Position to the 2nd most ranked state in terms of academic excellence in National and International Examinations. This he achieved by elevating the culture of meritocracy, where examinations were conducted before one can be appointed as Principal, against the normal practice of arbitrarily appointing the most ranked staff as Principal. It is also instructive to say that before his appointment as Commissioner for Education, Cross River State was known as the cesspool of mind-blowing academic decadence and malpractice, a malady that denied Cross River State the benefit of hosting the annual National WASSEC Conference even after more than 58years of WASSEC existence, as at then. In fact, Cross River State was ranked as the 2nd most corrupt state for examination malpractice. But the story was changed through the Midas touch of Obol Goddy Ettah, which consequently led to the hosting of WASSEC National Conference in Cross River State. Obol Goddy Ettah, met a comatose school system, but in his characteristic manner, he doggedly clamped down on all the examination malpractice centers in Cross River State, fondly referred to as “Miracle, Magic or Special Centers”. As a way of prioritizing education in Cross River State, the state government through the intervention of his Ministry, provided basic amenities for schools, rehabilitated and reconstructed school blocks and went as far as fencing most of the Schools. In his quest to give the Students a secured environment for learning, Obol Goddy Ettah deployed Peace Corp Officers to all the Public Schools in the State.
It’s imperative to note that, prior to his appointment as Commissioner, the Public School System in the state, was faced with serious threat of extinction, as parents and guardians prefer to take their wards to private owned schools. But with the coming of Obol Goddy Ettah, the Public School System was revived, which saw Students from Public Schools outperforming their contemporaries in Private Schools, in examinations like WASSEC, NECO, MOCK EXAM and Inter-school Competitions for three consecutive years out of the 4years he held sway as Commissioner. Most importantly, Cross River State Public School came first in both the Zonal and National Parents Teachers Association (PTA) Essay Competition— the first of its kind for the state. He achieved this feat by employing over a thousand qualified and seasoned teachers into the State Civil service Commission—even against the directives of the Governor. He is a man who believes in quality and proper education, as no Nation is truly free, until her citizens are properly and truly educated.
To the Yakurr People, Obol Goddy Ettah radiates hope and epitomizes possibilities. He’s a man that believes in human capital development and capacity building. Today, in Central Senatorial District and beyond, Obol Goddy Ettah has made boys, men and made men, leaders. These facts are as true as there are reproducible. As ordinary appointee of the State Government, he left an imprint that has defy time and history will forever be kind to him.
Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba facilitated projects for Central Senatorial District, Senator John Owan-Enoh focused on empowerment and Senator Prof Sandy Onor has littered the Central Senatorial District with Projects across all the wards in the Senatorial District—hardly would one visit any ward in Central Senatorial District without seeing a project facilitated by Distinguished Senator Prof Sandy Ojang Onor, coupled with his resounding legislative engagement on the floor of the Senate. While Obol Goddy Ettah may not be as oratorical as Senator Prof Sandy Onor, he appears to be the best to consolidate on the achievements of our past senators. If as ordinary Commissioner for Quality Education, he left a legacy that has defied time, one can only imagine what he’s capable of doing when he becomes the next Senator. To keep Central on the path of progress, we must endeavor to go only for the best, and I am eternally convinced that Obol Goddy Ettah is the man of the moment, a round peg in a round hole.
*Those Who seek to change history, must endeavor to consolidate on the gains of the past and never to repeat the mistakes of the past*.
God bless Central Senatorial District!!!.