Barr. Tina Banku Agbor As Deputy Governor: A Political Masterstroke or Lamebrained Approach?
Written by Barr. Ojong Ndoma Bassey.
One of the many realities conspicuously confronting the APC in Cross River State, is the challenge of retaining the state beyond 2023. Make no mistakes, the Peoples Democratic Party in Cross River State is leaving no stone unturned in making sure the APC lose grip of the State. So, as a committed Party Chieftain who has tasted the bitterness of being in the opposition and now in the ruling party, courtesy of His Excellency’s magnanimous and gracious defection to the APC, I can’t afford to watch my beloved party make a terrible mistake that may cost us the gubernatorial Seat. God Forbid!
The Issue of Deputy Governorship Candidate of the APC is a critical matter that should not be handled with a kid’s glove. It is on this note that I feel overwhelmingly worried that the leadership of the Party is not seeing through the same Political lens as I am foreseeing. It appears someone needs to remind the party of the need to do that which is Politically needful at the moment.
As an individual, i love Governor Ben Ayade for his dexterity. Bejeweled with high intellectual capacity, the Governor has been a champion for the emancipation and inclusion of women in the Politics of Cross River State. To his Credit, No Governor has been fair and just to the female gender like Governor Ben Ayade. He has systematically empowered a lot of women who are today doing exceedingly great both at the State level and at the National. In Cross River State today, the best of Commissioners and State Executive Members are predominantly females. These are women that have shown enormous capacity, bravery and leadership qualities in the discharge of their duties. Despite the values these women are bringing to the party, especially as it concerns the 2023 election, it appears that not much consideration is given to them in the political permutations of the State.
Despite the Governor’s efforts in making sure that atleast the 35% benchmark for women involvement in governance is attained, the Party has failed to consolidate on the gains of the Governor’s magnanimity to the women. Following available statistics of candidates in APC, from State House of Assembly to our amiable Gubernatorial Candidate, it is crystal clear that the women are being systematically relegated to the background. How many female APC State Assembly Candidates and National Assembly Candidates, do we have in APC currently? Isn’t it ironical that the women which make up over 65% of voters, are not given a prideful place in the affairs of the Party?. Why is the Party not seeing the prospect of having a female as Deputy Governor as a masterstroke?
But like Rosa Parks, a Civil Rights Activist who famously refused to surrender her seat to a White Passenger on a Segregated Bus in Montgomery, Alabama, there appears to be an uprising amongst the women for political inclusion. While Rosa Parks defiance sparked off the Montgomery Bus Boycott and its success ultimately launched a national effort to end racial segregation of Public facilities in the United States, our Party still struggles at the prospect of a woman wielding an executive power.
If we can entrust them with other responsibilities, why not entrust one of them with the position of a Deputy Governor, and give the over 65% female voters a reason to believe in our Party. Sadly, the opposition party in the state the PDP seems to have understood the times better by fielding a female deputy Governor. The PDP in Lagos and in our sister State, Akwa Ibom State, has also fielded a female deputy and many other states have done same. Adamawa even has a female Gubernatorial candidate in APC and a female deputy in PDP. Cross River State with our level of civilization and digitalization coupled with the fact that our state is the primordial state of the National woman leader, we should be seen to show example.
Today in APC, we have a lot of women that can confidently and comfortably spice up our chances of winning the gubernatorial seat, and top on that list is Barr. Tina Banku Agbor, the current Secretary to the State Government, who amongst the myriad of other qualified women appears to be more formidable. Suffice it to note that a state with the National woman leader preaching strongly around the country for women inclusion and mainstreaming cannot influence the inclusion of great women like Barr Tina Agbor who has proven herself so highly and indeed many other women abound in the state or is it the case of women being the real enemies to women? Barr. Tina Banku Agbor has a lot of factors playing in her favour. Having been a Secretary to Government for two tenures unblemished, makes her attractive and an important factor in the political demographics. Without mincing words she must be in possession of knowledge of vital government matters, hence makes a lot of sense to keep her within the political fold. I have never known a Secretary to government who has been loyal to the government that was jettisoned from a political family unless they resigned themselves. It will be a great disservice to the system if this gentle giant of a lady is jettisoned. My worry is she may be poached by our opponents which will be very unhealthy for us and our aim is to win elections. We must remember that elections under BIVAS is tricky and should be taken seriously.
Barr. Tina Banku Agbor is a London trained Legal Practitioner, a consummate Politician and a great Community builder. A great and wonderful mobilizer, while in PDP she single handedly to everyone’s notice mobilized over 40m women across the nation with the name ATIKU ANGELS. She’s humble, unassuming with high Political capital and electoral value, within and outside the State. In spite of the many odds placed in her way, one of which Gen Iron forcefully seized the entire money meant for her ward for that elections, she went ahead to supervise the elections shouldering all the cost personally and produced the highest results in central during the 2019 elections. Barr Tina Banku Agbor has continued to hold her head high despite being constantly put down by a Society that frowns at the idea of a woman wielding executive powers, she weathered the storm and became the first female Secretary to the State Government–a turf traditionally considered the exclusive preserve of the Male gender. The Boki born Amazon has overtime proven her mettle as a worthy and dependable ally of the Governor. We from the political world have watched her over the years as secretary to government and have sometimes wondered at her tenacity doggedness, high integrity level and strength of character. I have always wondered at her ability to cope with so much happening around her and looking unruffled.
I remember the reign of General Iron that was created by local contemporaries to terrorize her existence in her village, threatening to kill her and her people, she was traumatized but never escalated it to the higher security authorities. She virtually could not go to her village. She handled it with tremendous tact and wisdom, rather constructed an alternative road to her village singlehandedly to create a passage for her village people to avoid an imminent communal clash. To that she is regarded as a savior in her locality today. She averted a communal war between her community and Gen Iron’s community by constructing that alternative access. Her office was virtually stripped of her mandate and she continued eulogizing the governor with the most alluring adjectives. She even created the AYADEISM philosophy which she preached to her utmost conviction and even called it a religion which attracted a great amount of followership. Till date that’s the platform to belong to in the state. We must remember that she brought forward the idea of billboards to eulogize The Governor; one that comes to mind strongly was the one that created the highly publicized Digitalization of Cross River State which gave rise to the name “digital” bestowed on H E.
Currently the longest serving Secretary to the State Government ever produced in Cross River State. She’s a woman who believes in possibilities. Through her Non-governmental Organization, The Golden Reach Foundation, Barr. Tina Banku Agbor has passionately reached out to a thousand of young girls whose hope to a better life was bastardized by the vicissitudes of life. To many, Barr. Tina Banku Agbor remains a unifying factor and a voice to be heard speaking passionately for the over 65% Female electorates.
Another factor playing in her favour is the fact that she’s from Boki Local Government Area, one of the stronghold of the APC in Cross River State. To be fair to the Party, I strongly believe that the Deputy Governorship Candidate of the Party, should ordinarily come from the Central Senatorial District, for two obvious reasons; the northern Senatorial District is already overloaded with Political Veterans that can easily deliver the Party any day. The North has the Governor, Minister, State Chairman of APC, Majority Leader, Powerful House of Reps Members etc. While the Central Senatorial District can only boast of 2 out of 3 House of Reps members. Commonsensically, a deputy Governor should ordinarily come from the Central Senatorial District to boost the Party’s chances of Victory knowing clearly that our opponent’s gubernatorial candidate is from central and old Ikom.
Secondly, fielding a deputy Governor from Central Senatorial District would automatically bury the propaganda by the Opposition that there’s a clandestine move to substitute our party’s Gubernatorial candidate for someone from the Central Senatorial District.
Conclusively, fielding Barr. Tina Banku Agbor as the Deputy Governorship Candidate of the APC, would be one of the greatest political masterstroke to convincingly win the gubernatorial seat. Barr. Tina Banku Agbor is a golden fish and will act as a bridge between the female electorates and our Party.
I call on the Leadership of our great party and specifically His Excellency, Governor Ben Ayade to critically consider the choice of Barr. Tina Banku Agbor your first daughter as she is called as Deputy Governor and you will be glad you did.
Written by Barr. Ojong Ndoma Bassey.