LEGOR SHOULD RETURN TO NATIONAL ASSEMBLY IN 2023
By: Goddie Akpama
Rt, Hon. Legor Idagbo needs no introduction. But, just as a reminder, Legor as he is fondly called, especially in political circles, is currently a member of the National Assembly from Cross River State representing Bekwarra/Obudu/Obanliku, Federal Constituency.
He served as Chairman of Bekwarra Local Government Area, and at a point was elected chairman of Association of Local Government Chairmen of Nigeria (ALGON), Cross River State Chapter. While still in office as local government chairman, Legor was appointed Commissioner for Works in 2012.
In 2015, he was overwhelmingly elected into the House of Representatives, where he is currently the Chairman, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Committee, (NCDMC) Legor is also a member of many committees in the federal legislature.
His numerous achievements in all the positions he has occupied are enchanting and even palpable. But, let's leave that for another day, since it isn't the focus of this write up.
Today's focus on Legor are on his inherent political qualities which are anchored on sacrifice, unity and loyalty to his political party PDP, and his respect for constituted leadership wherever he found himself.
A recent case in point where, and when Hon Legor demonstrated these positive traits of his, is the contest for the hitherto vacant seat of the Cross River North Senatorial District following the demise of Senator Rose Oko (RIP).
The political events leading to the bye-election, which was won by Dr. Stephen Odey, got some people on the platform of the PDP as well as other political parties vying for the seat openly against the party's wise counsel and decision. Although imminently qualified to run for the senate, and despite very strong pressure put on him by his teeming supporters to contest, Legor bluntly refused to enlist for the race. Instead, he simply ignited his sacrificial trait, and absolute loyalty to the PDP., he, rather, chose to respect the party's decison, and its leadership in the state headed by Professor Ben Ayade, the state governor!
That is Legor for you! He is never, never desperate to occupy any political position. Legor being a loyal member of the PDP stuck to the party's decision that Dr. Stephen Odey should fly its flag at the December 5, 2020 bye-election.
Legor's stance was indeed a big relief to Ayade and the PDP because, by this action, Legor had once again demonstrated his respect for leadership and his party at state and national levels. Legor didn't stop at that.
He worked with others to ensure that Dr. Stephen Odey won at the PDP primaries, and the main bye election. It wasn't the first time Legor would be making very huge sacrifice in the interest of the PDP and the state, neither was it the first time he would accord such respect to his party leader.
Remember that Legor was still serving meritoriously as Local Government Chairman when in 2012, the then Governor and PDP leader in the state, Senator Liyel Imoke, appointed him Commissioner for works.
As chairman of a local government area, he enjoyed some exclusive privileges a state commissioner didn't enjoy, and had a definite tenure of 3 years as against the position of commissioner who had no definite tenure, and could be sacked at any time, by a wave of the hand, by the man who appointed him, without recourse to anybody or institution.
But, Legor risked it all, left his well secured position as council chairman to serve the state in a position which to many was insecure. That, from Legor, is a lesson in humility and sacrifice. After all, Imoke had sacked a onetime commissioner for works who allegedly fought in public like. What a sacrifice from vintage Legor.
Again, in the build up to the 2015 general elections, it was an open secret that Legor enjoyed the full support of the outgoing Governor Liyel Imoke to succeed him. Legor enlisted for the governorship race as expected. Works for the actualisation of the aspiration were at frenzy level for him to pick the PDP governorship ticket, towards possibly becoming the state governor by May 2015. But, at the dying minutes to the primaries, the party hierarchy led by Imoke settled for Professor Ben Ayade to succeed the outgoing governor.
As usual with the every humble Legor, he didn't quarrel, he never complained, and never worked against the interest of his party. rather, he sacrificed his ambition, and supported Ayade to become the PDP governorship candidate, and also ensured, with others , that Ayade won the 2015 governorship elections landslide.
Not being a desperado, Legor has singled out himself as a National Assembly member that would not work against his PDP and its leadership in Cross River State in the guise of promoting the so-called Abuja front.
If a privileged few in the National Assembly and the state had adopted Legor's approach to politics, wouldn't the PDP in the state remain a strong and united front/family with total respect for the party's decisions, and unflinching loyalty to the party and its leadership? If those opposed to party and its leadership had toed the Legor path, there wouldn't be these unnecessary protracted litigations in courts over the senatorial bye-election.
Unfortunately, the avoidable protracted litigations have, nonetheless, led to capital flight in millions of naira that would have been used in serving the needs of the constituents. Anyways, those sponsored from Port Harcourt do not fell the negative effects of capital flight.
Putting all these facts into consideration, would it be out of place for the party to reward Legor for his loyalty and sacrifice, and humility tomorrow? The answer is a resounding No! Would it be proper for Legor to be rewarded handsomely?
The answer to this is a capital YES. Legor should , be expressly given the first right of refusal, and the PDP ticket to go to the House of Representatives for a third term in 2023, if he so desires.
There is no doubt that he will remain a uniting and stabilizing factor for the PDP in the state/national beyond 2023, if these exemplary qualities of his are adequately utilized, Without equivocation, Legor is one man who should return to the National Assembly in 2023 without hassles. Legor is an invaluable asset.
Goddie A. Akpama is Former IPAC Chairman in Cross River State.