By Ifiok Ekong
Marginalization is an age long problem of the human society. It can be economic, racial, religious, social and mostly political. It refers to the discrimination or inequality suffered by a group or class of people, either deliberately imposed on them, or which occurs as a result of socioeconomic or political dynamics that create imbalance against them.
Uyo Federal Constituency is today marginalized in Akwa Ibom State. Of the ten Federal Constituencies, only Uyo federal Constituency is presently excluded from a befiting high political office in the state. The only position of note the constituency occupied was that of Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, at the beginning of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s administration. Rt. Hon. Elder Aniekan Uko from Ibesikpo Asutan State Constituency(Uyo Federal Constituency) was elected speaker.
By the current political sharing formular, Governor Emmanuel of Peoples Democratic Party is from Eket Federal Constituency.
His deputy, Obong Moses Ekpo is from Abak Federal Constituency. The State Party chairman of PDP, Obong Paul Ekpo hails from Etinan Federal Constituency.
Others are, the Deputy Speaker position which was given to Oron Federal Constituency. The Secretary to the State Government was appointed from Ikot Ekpene Federal Constituency. The Federal Minister has now gone to Ikot Abasi Federal Constituency.
Rt. Hon. Udo Kerian Akpan, the member representing Oruk Anam state constituency, is the House Majority Leader from Oruk Anam/Ukanafun Federal Constituency, The member representing Etinan state constituency, Hon. Aniefiok Dennis Akpan ,(Etinan Federal Constituency) was also appointed as the Deputy Majority Leader while the member representing Ini constituency, Hon. Emmanuel
Ekpenyong(Ini/Ikono Federal Constituency), was named as the Chief Whip. Mr. Nse Essien representing Onna state constituency is the Deputy Chief Whip.
Before his election was nullified by the Appeal Court, Hon. Effiong Bassey from Oron/Udung Uko State Constituency was Deputy Speaker, AKHA. He has since been replaced by Hon. Mrs Felicia Bassey of Okobo State constituency.
In the same vein, the House Deputy Leader, Aniefiok Dennis who suffered a similar fate in the Appeal Court was replaced by Aniekan Bassey (PDP-Uruan Constituency). This happens to be the only thing left for Uyo Federal Constituency.
The problem is, the position of Speaker, which gave Uyo Federal Constituency a voice as the largest voting block among the constituencies, was given away, to Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke Nsit Ubium state Constituency, after Aniekan Uko’s election was annulled on December 9, 2015 by the Appeal Court.
It is very clear that, Uyo Federal Constituency has been marginalized by this development. My worry is that, even though Barr. Onofiok Luke is doing very well, his emergence only deprives the whole of Uyo Federal Constituency their rightful place in the current political dispensation.
The news that makes it worse is the probability that, Obong Paul Ekpo is going back for a second term as State PDP chairman. It Means Etinan federal constituency will hold both office of State Chairman of the ruling party and Speaker of the state Legislature. Uyo Federal constituency is seriously marginalized. The leaders of Uyo Federal constituency should therefore rise up and make a case for the constituency.
As the ruling party in the state, the PDP should as a matter of urgency, revisit and review its sharing formula and zoning of political offices to check this gross marginalization of Uyo Federal constituency.
Not to do so, is to violate the 2012 PDP Constitution which stipulates that, to ensure no part is marginalized, zoning should be adopted to conform with the principles of power shift and power sharing by rotating key political offices amongst the diverse peoples of the country. Zoning and rotation principle should be revisited to address this pain of Uyo Federal Constituency. This should not rule out returning the Speakership to the constituency