By James Lukpata
Yala Local Government Area is among the 18th Local Government Areas of Cross River State with two constituencies known as yala I & II. It is the second most populated after Akpabuyo LGA.
It was created in the early 90s to drive the Federal Military Government’s vision of bringing government closer to the grassroots level where people can feel the positive impact of good governance.
From the outset, shortly after the creation of the LGA, it was a beacon of hope for the people of Ukelle that occupied Yala II state constituency when one of her sons Hon. Francis Ulakom served as the vice chairman of council alongside the Council’s first chairman Barr Greg Ngaji who later rose to occupied the red chamber as a Senator for 8 years representing the good people of Cross River North Senatorial District from 1999-2007.
But as time passes by things began to change with the people political images going down gradually since the VP was unable to reconnect with the erstwhile boss in the National Assembly that would have served as a bridge for all constituents to pitched their tents for onward political growth.
No doubt the perceived marginalization and injustice against the constituency II which led to a recent peaceful protest by constituents who marched in their numbers to the Council’s Headquarters in Okpoma.
The leader of the protest Hon.Francis Igbologidi demanded for the inclusion of Ukelle the Yala II constituency in the scheme of things with particular reference to appointments in Yala LGA. “Ordinarily, if we have 10 things to be shared Ukelle will take 4 while Yala I will take 6 because we have six wards and they have 8 so they are our seniors but the recent appointments by the Chairman is lopsided”. For the time being, the protest has reawaken hope of the UKelle people as authorities concerned have promised to look into the matter but remains a mirage untill results are seen since they have made same promises in the past that were never redeemed.
Besides the recent lopsided appointments in the Council that led to the first ever peaceful protest that some constituents have described as a commendable move for the Ukelle Nation and a true demonstration of patriotism directed at reshaping the Ukelle dream and future for a better Ukelle.
They have been several issues ranging from appointments, fail promises, abandonment to marginalization which has reduced Constituency II to a second fiddle role or servants under pay masters without any stronger voice in their favour as they remain the only constituency that has never represented the region in the National Assembly among the 25 constituencies in Cross River State till date.
With poor road network, absence of electricity in many communities, lack of portable water and standardised hospitals across UKelle the Yala II Constituency there is every reason to consider the region for the provision of these social amenities that are lacking as well as giving them a sense of belonging through fairness,equity and justice.
May God bless Yala LGA.