17th September, 2010
There was a reenactment of the interplay of intrigues and high wired brinkmanship which tookÂ place in July during the PDP local government council chairmanship election primaries onÂ Tuesday in Yala Local Government Area when 27 clan chiefs in the area converged on Okpoma,Â the council headquarters, to elect a new paramount chief.
During the keen contest, Onah Ipuole, the candidate of Senator Greg Ngaji, the senatorÂ representing the Northern Senatorial District ofÂ Cross River State, Nigeria, defeated EjeÂ 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 OnahÂ Ipuole come from.
The election followed the demise of the erstwhile paramount ruler Ubet Sylvester Ochim whoÂ passed on last year. Four chiefs contested for the post. They included Ogamode Eje Ipuole,Â Ogamode Onah Ipuole both of Okpoma and Ogamode Edema Ipuole and Ogamode Ogar Ipuole ofÂ Ugaga.
In the keenly contested election, Onah Ipuole polled fifteen of the twenty seven votesÂ while Eje Ipuole had nine votes and Ogar Ipuole and Edema Ipuole polled two and one votesÂ rspectively.
The election which was conducted by the Specail Adviser to Governor Liyel Imoke onÂ Chieftaincy Matters, Mr Emmanuel Arop, was considered free and fair.
Explaining the process for the election, Prince Daniel Onah, Special Adviser to the chairmanÂ of Yala Local Government Council, Barrister Fidel Egoro, said the embossed passportÂ photographs of the contestants were placed on the ballot paper to ensure that the chiefs,Â some of them who could not read or write would identify the candidate of their choice withÂ ease.
He said the need for free and fair election was impetrative because the chiefs were theÂ custodians of the values and culture of the people and therefore the person who had theÂ 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 impetrativeÂ not just for development but for the wellbeing of the people and called on the chiefs toÂ ensure that peace prevails after elections and no one is victimised or attacked forÂ supporting one candidate or the other.
Making a speech after the election, Ogamode Onah Ipuole, the winner of the contest, said heÂ was pleased for the confidence reposed in him by the chiefs by electing him and called onÂ his co-contestants to join hands with him and ensure that the land and people of Yala enjoyÂ peace.
He asked God to grant him wisdom and the ability to take care of the needs of the chiefs andÂ the people successfully.