Residents of Operikwu and Igede Idi a in Yala Local Government Area of Cross River State have raised the alarm over what they described as the complete absence of government’s presence in their communities.
The residents decried how they had been marginalized by both the state and federal governments, lamenting their abandonment by both the state and federal government, occasioned by the lack of access road from Yahe community to Igede Edi community, especially now that the rains are failing.
They lamented, “The only wood bridges that link the community with other communities in Yala Local Government Area were locally constructed through effort of the communities – Ehwum Odudu to Oyoba Road bridge; Ehwum AGC Operikwu to Owere Road bridge.
“The last one was Ocheche-Igbakobor-Operikwu bridge. We cannot even pass there now, all because of bad politics.”
On the PVC issue, they averred that through community efforts, “our people were able to get one system that worked for only two days in two polling units in Operikwu community.”
They added, “Many had been left unregistered due to bad network, despite our assistance to the staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, who were on ground for the PVC registration exercise in the community.”
Speaking on behalf of Igede Edi community, when he fielded questions from CompassNG correspondent on allegations made by the community residents yesterday that their people had been grossly marginalized in all aspects of life, the youth leader in the community, Patrick Agogo, stated that the absence of basic amenities in the community has marred the community’s chances of becoming developed.
He said, “You cannot drive to our community as it stands now. Any attempt to drive to the community during the rainning seasons, your vehicle will get stuck in the mud until we approach the dry season, before you can get the vehicle pulled out from the mud, which is everywhere on the road.
“When you find a community in such a condition, how then do such a community withness development? It would be difficult.
“It’s the more reason we why we are calling on the state and federal governments to come to our rescue, so that the community can have the basic infrastructure that can attract development into the our community.
“As a people we deserve electricity, good and portable drinking water for our people to live healthily. Our community has been so marginalized. Our people are in dire need of government presence in our community.”
While lamenting INEC’s inability to capture the community residents in the ongoing permanent voter cards registration exercise to enable the community residents participate in the forthcoming 2023 general elections, the youth leader stressed that the absence of basic infrastructure in the area stalled the biometric registration that aides the people to obtain their permanent voter cards, PVCs, to enable them take part in the forthcoming general elections scheduled for next year.
The community residents called on the INEC to find an alternative means of getting the bad network issue resolved so that their people dosen’t remain disenfranchised.
The community leader added, “As it stands now, half of our people remained unregistered in the ongoing PVC registration.
“The attendant effect is that many are already disenfranchised, unless something is done urgently to salvage the situation, half of the community residents won’t participate in the general elections.
“How can our people not be registered, even when they are willing and very eager to participate in the electoral process, and you come here only to tell us that we can’t register and get our PVCs due to poor and bad network?”