…promises to lobby for creation of Ogoja State
As the bye-election for Cross River North Senatorial District draws closer, an aspirant under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Stephen Odey, Tuesday, said Cross River North senatorial district has suffered serious underdevelopment over the years and now deserves quality representation.
Odey who is currently the Cross River State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Chairman made this assertion in an interview when he visited a party stalwart, High Chief Higgins Peters in Abuja, where he disclosed his vision, why he is vying to represent the people of Cross River North at the Senate, which he also showcased his achievements as a political appointee.
He said: “It is the passion to develop my people and te passion to make Cross River North develop. Qualitative representation, different from what we have ever had before because I am a man from the grassroots, I know my people and I know what it takes and also take them to the next level they have suffered over the years. I want to come with a very high voice for the people of Cross River State, Northern senatorial district in particular to be noticed.
“My basic vision for the people of Cross River North is that I want the voice of Northern Cross river senatorial district to be heard loud and far. One of the reasons is that underdevelopment has become a problem and when a particular location is underdeveloped you know what it means. When there is development there will be employment opportunities and poverty level will reduce. So my basic vision is to make the voice of Northern Cross River is heard loud and clear.
“The overwhelming support I am getting from the grassroots is shocking and even I am shocked. I am the only person as appointee of the government who saw the problem of the people like the Akan-Ukpaku Bridge in Yala. I have to pile up that bridge to make it accessible to our people and I didn’t use government money to do that.
“The people are not fools they know that this is somebody that knows our problem. I have embarked on scholarship programme for people who are financially down, especially those intelligent young men and women who are coming from a background they are challenged financially, I introduced scholarship. I have created the highest number of employment through the gracious approval of HE, the Governor of Cross River State and today those people are enjoying and earning salary and that is what the people want.
“You find yourself in government you have to help the people and you are there to serve them and not yourself, and the people are aware that when I find myself in the National Assembly I will not serve myself but to serve the good people of Cross River State, and Cross River North in particular.”
According to him he has the level of attention given to public schools testifies of his selfless service to the people of Cross River State, which he has all achieved within five years under the Ayade-led administration, which over 1000 jobs were created in that subsector.
“Is replicated across the five LGAs in the north and I have the statistics of all the employment I did across the state for records. Employments are done according to needs assessment; the number of schools in each local government is not the same”, he stated.
Meanwhile, he expressed optimism that the creation of Ogoja State will be achieved based on his legislative experience and legal background, and promised to ensure the long awaited state creation comes into fruition.
He said: “Of course, I will continue from where those who have been there stopped because Ogoja Province is the only province left from not being a state. Naturally, you continue to ask what is the problem and if the issue of Ogioja State creation is brought I will raise it and I think I can raise it, galvanise and lobby my colleagues if elected into that hallowed chamber, I can lobby them to see the need to carry Ogoja along by gioving Ogoja State because when once Ogoja State is created you know that development will go far and wide.
“And one of the reason we remain underdeveloped because we have not been accorded a status of a state, and it is the only province that is left and something is wrong somewhere and we must find out. When I find myself in the national body at the national level we must find answer to that question and of course you know I can find out that question.”
Meanwhile, he debunked insinuations that he is out to hold brief for Governor Ayade’s soft-landing in the Red Chambers come 2023, but he is out to represent and work for the people of Cross River North and nobody can disqualify him based on his relationship with the Governor.
“I am eminently qualified. I own the qualification in terms of educational background, experience, working knowledge within the sector, NASS background because I was there with him (Ayade), I served him there and I know how the system works.
“So what do you do with me that am eminently qualified? You want to use the relationship with the governor to disqualify me? Rather that should be an added advantage.
“I am the most qualified because I have worked with HE there, I am a PhD holder and Masters Degree holder in law. So I am qualified than any other aspirant vying for this position in Cross River North”, he said.