The emergence of Cletus Obun, APC Vice Chairman, Central Senatorial District of Cross River State, as the party's candidate for Ikom/Boki federal constituency in the upcoming 2019 general elections is no longer new as many supporters and political associates have been eulogizing him for a well deserved victory in the just concluded party primaries. But as much as his emergence has attracted encomium from friends and supporters, it has also aroused some dissenting opinions. In this article, therefore, I will attempt to x-ray Obun's popularity and other p issues raised by the dissenting voices.

The interesting narrative of the man Cletus Obun cannot be complete without X-raying his popularity. The extent of Cletus' popularity seems to occupy the minds of some political observers and participants in Cross Rivers State. They have amplified their claims with few questions and comments on social media. Some of the issues raised are: 

"This one is a failure, even in his ward he won't win"....Joe Agbo.

In an attempt by Don Chris Obun to create a nexus between Hon Obun's emergence and divine providence, Obi Joe Osibu reacts:

"No one is saying God has not spoken, what we are saying is that you did not hear what God said, God can't give a ticket to someone that is not popular to win election."

As if that wasn't enough, another dissenting voice Joshua Obaji took a swipe on Obun and his supporters as he avers:

"Let the people who trusted you with the  mandate come to Ikom/Boki to deliver you, if things remains this way then congratulations to Chris Agibe.
Cletus Obun that cannot win eastern Boki. We are waiting for him to come down."

Reacting to Paulina Nyam's displeasure at Obun's emergence, Obi Joe Osibu concludes: 

"Paulina Kaka Nyiam, my sister, it were better.......... We just call Agibe and say come and take ooo."

On his part, Henrypuffy Bessong, after expressing his disappointment on the emergence of Hon Cletus Obun as APC's candidate for Ikom/Boki federal constituency in the upcoming general elections, concludes: "Na only Eastern Boki go vote this one."

To cap it all, Obi Joe Osibu sum it up, 

"Eban, you know Hon Cletus can't fly."

The above thoughts represent some of the fraction of the dissenting voices against Cletus Obun's emergence. In an attempt to understand the motive behind their comments, some of the questions that come readily to mind is: What do these folks understand by Popularity? And if popularity requires scientific analysis to arrive at, what instrument has been employed by these guys to arrive at their conclusions? In trying to answer these questions, I will also delve into their individual comments and unveil a critique.

In Nigeria's political space today, a politician is seen as popular when he possesses the following trait:
-Financial war chest,
-Brute strength (A.K.A thuggery) 
-Political sagacity

It is evident that amongst these factors which define the average Nigerian politician, human Intelligence followed by political sagacity stands out as the most formidable. 

Human intelligence drives advancements in life. The advancements of Europe in the 17th century was a direct response to its advancements in science. No wonder in the 20th century, Francis Fukuyama argues that the logic of science and recognition drives public engagement. No meaningful achievement and advancements can be attained without the application of human intelligence. In the books of Proverbs, the role of wisdom has been extolled as the beacon of all attainment. "For wisdom is better than rubies and all the things one may desire"(Prov 8:11). Cletus is a man full of wisdom-a product of intelligence. So he is popular by all standards.

Similarly, while Obun's critics may claim that he's not popular due to his low financial war chest, his supporters are armed with his political sagacity as a major factor which defines his popularity.

Since 1999 when Hon. Obun was elected into Cross Rivers State House of Assembly, he has shown a charismatic display of political sagacity. Shortly after he was rigged out when he attempted to get re-elected into the State House for a second term in 2003, Obun developed new traits of political sagacity: he deployed his skill with others to build the opposition in the state. By 2006 he emerged the State chairman of Action Congress (AC), a position he held till 2010 when the AC transformed itself into the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Due to his sagacity, he  was retained as the State Chairman till 2012 where the system was hijacked by elements who have remained a perpetual distraction to the party. In 2013, Cletus was elected as an interim member of APC Cross Rivers State after the legacy parties of ACN, CPC, ANPP and a faction of APGA established a historic merger which transformed into the All Progressives Congress (APC), a historic development in Nigeria's political history. Again in 2014, Cletus Obun was elected the vice chairman of APC Central Cross Rivers State after a rancorous state congress which later led to Portharcourt induced agreement for the emergence of Usani Uguru as the state chairman, a position he has held till date. Cletus in 2014 contested for the House of Representatives ticket on the platform of APC to represent the good people of Ikom/Boki but lost due to the intricate process which characterizes the primary elections. 

Today, apart from being a member of the state executive council of the party in Cross Rivers State, Cletus Obun has emerged again as APC's candidate for Ikom/ Boki federal constituency after winning other aspirants in the primary context. With all the political sagacity and doggedness, one will be left with no option than to trivialize the claim by some aggrieved elements that Cletus Obun is not popular when all evidence indicate wide and acceptable popularity of the man Cletus Obun, a man who against all odds has risen to stardom and remains a shining star in Cross Rivers' politics. 

Also, Cletus' critics have claimed that he is unable to win an election, not even in his home ward. Again I wonder at the source of this fallacious claim when all indication points to a man who has won more elections that most politicians in Cross River. Apart from his own personal election, Cletus Obun has also been instrumental to the electoral victory of most politicians in Cross River. For instance, as state chairman of CAN in 20II, he was instrumental in the emergence of Mr. Ochabe as the first ACN councilor in CRS to represent Beebo Bumaji ward in Boki LGA in an era were opposition in the state was practically under war. Also in the same capacity as state chairman of ACN, Cletus Obun championed the victory of Hon. Alex Irek in 20I2 as member of Cross Rivers House of Assembly to represent Obubra I State Constituency. With all these facts at our disposal, one therefore wonders where his critics came to the conclusion that Cletus Obun cannot win an election. In an attempt to understand what informed this erroneous claim, one thing that comes readily to mind is that the dissenting voices could be expressing  an unimaginable level of frustration which has outrightly influenced their sense of judgment. 

In the same vein, another critic has argued that Cletus Obun cannot be voted by the people of western Boki. This appears to be more like the antics of a bad loser. How can you explain that a man who was born in Oku, and a leading voice in "Ochibe Bukie", who has spent most of his adult life in western Boki will not be supported by the good people of western Boki who are so endearing to him. Well, although the claimant has alluded to his low level politicking skills and of course he has remained insignificant in political discussions and calculations in Boki, hence the irrelevance of his claim. But it is imperative to state that the Bokis who understand the dynamics of power play will never undermine their quest to upstage herself at the national scene  in this  critical  time of our national life 

Having dealt with the issue of Hon. Cletus Obun's popularity, let’s unveil other factors that have defined his character.

Cletus is steadfast and a loyal party man

Since 2002 when Hon. Obun was denied sign- on-fee from Umbrella FC, he has moved on and has remained steadfast and a committed progressive. He has been at the forefront of pulling together all progressive elements for the attainment of an egalitarian Cross River society. In this, he has remained focused even in the face of clear danger. He epitomizes and symbolizes steadfastness. In the word of Shakespeare ( as quoted in Victor Abang's- so great in honesty; too rich in integrity),"To the proof as mountains are winds that shake not, though they blow perpetually." Ken Poirot stated that, "Success awaits those who steadfastly commit to any requisite sacrifice", while Marcus Aurelius declared that, "Be like the cliff against which the wave continually breaks, but it stands firm and tames the fury of the waters around it."

Cletus is a strategist and a result-oriented person

His empathy and dexterity towards mankind's problems have ushered him into a new role of articulating a new communication strategy for APC national working committee (NWC). His sound mind of reasoning and logical conclusion has modeled him into a strategic thinker, a quality which Col. Nyiam has averred remains critical to our national security and national development.

Cletus Obun is a man of integrity and containment; he will affect our lives more than ever

Cletus Obun is a man of stoic character and containment. He truly believes in a simple life devoid of ostentation and aggrandizement. He is an honest man who prefers a "good name rather than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold"(Prov 22:1). As an apostle of good life, and a strong believer in human capital development, he falls under the realms of those whom Bob Marley advices: the greatness of a man is not how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively."

Cletus is a brilliant representative; let’s give him a chance 

His brilliance is beyond average. He has displayed it in the discharge of his duties and achieved monumental results. He has the quality to speak and achieve result for over 500 thousand residents of Ikom/Boki federal constituency if elected.  Cletus Obun is, and has been, pursuing educational objectives for the interest of all. He has demonstrated this zeal because of his strong belief in the liberation of mankind from the clutches of darkness towards civilization. In the words of Chinua Achebe, "Education enlightens a man, his community and the society at large." 
Cletus Obun will bring enlightenment on our land.

Finally, issues of popularity raised against Obun have been addressed with evidence indicating that Hon. Cletus Obun is one of the most popular politicians in CRS by all standards. He has the capacity to win the HOR election. To this end, we are confident in his ability to enhance development in the federal constituency. Let's give him a chance. He is our own; the one we know who is popular.

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About Author

Hi, I,m Pospi Otuson. A Nigerian Blogger, Social Entrepreneur and Convener of the renowned Boki Business Conference. CEO/Founder of Possibility Desk, the largest online consulting platform for possibilities in the world. Lets connect today.

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