The convoy of 26 SUVs and light trucks entered the ancient sub – urban Ogoja mid – morning on Saturday, September 3rd and the entourage went into the Catholic cathedral for the Christian marriage rights of a relation of the eponymous John George, the strong hand behind RECLAIM CROSS RIVER. The reception ceremony held at the St.Thomas’s College auditorium was electrified by the entrance of Senators Sandy Onor and Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, as the guests rose to their feet and sang the Caterpillar campaign songs to the melodious accompaniment of the disc jockey’s Amapiano instrumentation. Home boy, Sonny Neji was also on hand to sing his chart busting tunes and take what he called “memorable photographs” with the two Senators.
Next was the recreational club in Igoli where decampees from Bekwarra, Yala and Ogoja local government areas were waiting to be received into the soothing protectiveness of the umbrella. The decampees from Yala were led by Honourable Dan Ugbama (PhD). Ugbama said “at 26, I abandoned college and decided to address the problems of my people. Ukelle remains the same almost 40 years after that. For eight years of this government nothing has been done for my people, only failed promises. I decided to take this decision to join the group that appears to me better prepared to help my people. I apologise to all the people we have failed, especially the people of Ukelle extraction.’
Ochelebe Michael Oko, who was the
Chapter Auditor of APC in Yala said he came back to help the PDP win elections because he has discovered that the APC was neither a serious party nor a faithful one. Other decampees from Bekwarra included Patrick Aleje Adoga, Ogar Achi, Ogodo Emmanuel Ogodo, Ogar Michael Ogbeche, Gladys Oko, Grace Ekawu, Patrick Lifu, Odey Margaret and several others. While Prof. Onumashi Ushe, Ekunke Godwin Oshe, Lifu Joseph, Ushie Juliet, Simon Odama, Mary Idiege,
Cletus Ogar, Anthony Ushie amongst others came from Bekwarra. Speaking for Bekwarra decampees, Mr Okochi said that “Bekwarra LGA is overwhelmed by the achievements of Senator Jarigbe. He has spread boreholes all over the 10 wards of Bekwarra. Just like last month he gave us light all over and we are now a small London”.
Receiving the decampees Senator Jarigbe Agom said that ” together we are going to boot Ayade and the APC out. Our problem has never been that we don’t have Egusi soup and garri to eat. What our people need is functional health facilities, decent educational institutions, good roads, electricity and potable water, which the APC have not been able to provide.”
Senator Sandy Onor on his part recalled that “From the age of 27 I started hearing about the plight of Ukelle, I am 56 and it is still the same. We have a Governor from the North yet the story of Ukelle remains the same. Ukelle is like my area. I once described my area as located on the negative side of geography. Jarigbe is a senator extraordinary who God has sent to come and wipe away the tears of the people of the North. Between October and December APC shall become an empty shell because we shall continue to harvest all men of good conscience and of truth from the captivity of that party.”
In Begiaba village of Obudu local government area it was a bazaar of sorts, a cultural jamboree put together by the irrepressible State Chairman of the PDP, Barrister Venatius Ikem to celebrate the new yam festival with his kit and kin, and with his friends from far and near. Amidst the cultural extravaganza of dance troupes, several dozens of brooms were set ablaze, perhaps in propitiation to the Almighty for the misadventure of having mistakenly joined the APC. Barrister Anglibi Ogar, a former zonal officer of the APC who spoke for the over 700 decampees said simply that they were leaving that party because “we are tired of lies”.
In Utugwang, Prince k. J Agba broke the ancient cellars to present some of the most vintage wines and Scottish blends. The palmwine was simply a work of art and the PDP spirit came aloft as most worthy sons of Cross River State plotted to take back our dear state from the incorrigible ravens and bring sanity back to the people. Scores of decampees had already been accepted into the PDP before the Senators arrived.
Ada Bekwarra the second, Signor Omang Idiege gave the senators a sumptuous buffet dinner in Gakem, while kind and manly words were spoken with bowed heads as they ate and drank to the spirit and health of the cross river.
When the motorcade slithed into Alok in the early hours of Sunday, over a hundred PDP faithfuls were still awake and waiting at the sprawling homestead of Rt. Honourable Chris Agibe. His dear wife, Meg, an entertainer by birth and inclination, was able to make the dinner warm again which was enthusiastically eaten as early breakfast. Great words were said on the night and in the end it was underlined that the loincloth was only wet, but not burnt. Nothing therefore was lost in the end. The battle cry it seemed as the goodbyes were said was ” Ahoy, compatriots, let us go hither together and win the state for the party and for the people.