Election Of Yala Ruler: John Odey’s Candidate Loses To Senator Ngaji’s Man

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There was a reenactment of the interplay of intrigues and high wired brinkmanship which took  place in July during the PDP local government council chairmanship election primaries on  Tuesday in Yala Local Government Area when 27 clan chiefs in the area converged on Okpoma,  the council headquarters, to elect a new paramount chief.

During the keen contest, Onah Ipuole, the candidate of Senator Greg Ngaji, the senator  representing the Northern Senatorial District of  Cross River State, Nigeria, defeated Eje  Ipuole, the candidate backed by the Minister for Environment, Mr John Odey.

Both Ngaji and Odey incidentally are from the same area, Okpoma, where Eje Ipuole and Onah  Ipuole come from.

The election followed the demise of the erstwhile paramount ruler Ubet Sylvester Ochim who  passed on last year. Four chiefs contested for the post. They included Ogamode Eje Ipuole,  Ogamode Onah Ipuole both of Okpoma and Ogamode Edema Ipuole and Ogamode Ogar Ipuole of  Ugaga.

In the keenly contested election, Onah Ipuole polled fifteen of the twenty seven votes  while Eje Ipuole had nine votes and Ogar Ipuole and Edema Ipuole polled two and one votes  rspectively.

The election which was conducted by the Specail Adviser to Governor Liyel Imoke on  Chieftaincy Matters, Mr Emmanuel Arop, was considered free and fair.

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Explaining the process for the election, Prince Daniel Onah, Special Adviser to the chairman  of Yala Local Government Council, Barrister Fidel Egoro, said the embossed passport  photographs of the contestants were placed on the ballot paper to ensure that the chiefs,  some of them who could not read or write would identify the candidate of their choice with  ease.

He said the need for free and fair election was impetrative because the chiefs were the  custodians of the values and culture of the people and therefore the person who had the  support of the majority of the chiefs would please the people.

Emmanuel Arop said the need for the maintenance of peace in the communities was impetrative  not just for development but for the wellbeing of the people and called on the chiefs to  ensure that peace prevails after elections and no one is victimised or attacked for  supporting one candidate or the other.

Making a speech after the election, Ogamode Onah Ipuole, the winner of the contest, said he  was pleased for the confidence reposed in him by the chiefs by electing him and called on  his co-contestants to join hands with him and ensure that the land and people of Yala enjoy  peace.

He asked God to grant him wisdom and the ability to take care of the needs of the chiefs and  the people successfully.

—Emma Una/Calabar