Monday, 4 September 2017

Late Chief John Oyom Okpa, former deputy Governor of C'river State: 13 years after

September 8th this month,will make it exactly thirteen years Late Chief John Oyom Okpa, former deputy Governor of Cross River State departed this sinful world to meet the great beyond.

Personally,i have had cause to explain to some people why the Obubra/Mbembe people have found it extremely difficult to forget their son, Chief John Oyom Okpa, 13 years after his death. For me, the explanation is necessary inorder to permanently shut their mouths and allow us cry our cry as it is commonly said.

For those of you who may not know, Chief as he was fondly called by admirers and loyalies was a beloved son of Obubra in whom we were all pleased. He was a man who rose from nowhere to somewhere, from nobody to somebody. A man who made it all by himself through shear determination,hardwork and most importantly by the grace of God. A man who at age 30 was already talking politics with the likes Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Lawan Kaita, Shehu Yaradua,President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Tony Anenih etc.

We are talking about a man who became a State Chairman of a political party at the age of 28. One out of the three south southerner that was prominently mentioned in a book titled 'The making of Northern Nigeria' written by Amb. Yahaya Kwandi. The man who led the first if not the only most intimidating, powerful,fearless,corrosive,rugged and ambitious opposition movement against a sitting government in the State in 2003. Most importantly, we are talking about the first and only Obubra Son sofar to ever be deputy Governor etc.

I can go on and on giving reasons why it is almost impossible for an average Obubra/Mbembe man to forget Chief John Oyom Okpa. So please bear with us.

The truth is, 13 years after his death, the impact of his demise on Obubra is visible to the blind and audible to the deaf. 13 years after, the powers that be have continued to make us a laughing stock among other LGAs. 13 years after, successive administrations have consciously or unconsciously ensured that another John Okpa does not emerge through the denial of even the very things we rightly deserve. 13 years after, the once political mecca of Cross River State politics is now a no man's land where every Tom Dick and Harry from other LGAs impose their wishes on the Obubra people. I doubt if a former Governor of the State would have had the effrontery to describe Obubra as a Local Government that is outside the political orbit of Cross River State if the late late Chief John were to be alive.

The late deputy Governor was a political colossus of no mean repute who commanded a cult like followership that cuts across the rainforest of Bakassi and the hills of Obaliku. He was a man whose political network knows no political party affiliation. A lover of peace and his people who died though mysteriously in pursuance of the common good of his people.

Those who were close to him can attest to the fact that the late Chief John was one politician who would rather prefer to displease himself inorder to please others. His politics was purely about the people and their well being.

Till date, his only known property in his name is a dilapidated three bedroom flat in Atimbo with a modest building in his Ofombungha number 4 community in Obubra where he hails from. This is completely unlike some politicians who see politics as a means of enriching themselves. For the late Chief, politics was rather an opportunity to offer selfless service to humanity.

Until his death, he was an extraordinary politician who made himself available to the ordinary people.
As I join thousands of his family,friends and wellwishers to remember him,I hereby make the following appeal to the Government of Cross River State and the political leadership of the State; That
> The late deputy Governor be immortalize.

> The kangaroo impeachment of the late deputy Governor by the Cross River State House of Assembly be reversed in order to enable his family enjoy his privileges as a former deputy Governor.
> While I thank Governor Ben Ayade for been the first to Governor after the demise of the former deputy Governor 13 years ago to show interest in the Obubra political situation through the appointment of a good number of its sons and daughters,they is also the need to correct the obvious marginalization where many Local Government were given two commissionership slots leaving Obubra with one.

> Having suffered political injustice and marginalization for so long, that the leadership of the PDP cedes the 2019 central senatorial ticket to Obubra/Mbembe son or daughter. This would not only give us a sense of belonging but would also reintegrate us in the politics of the State.

Finally, it is no longer news that the people of Ofonekom, Idoru, and Isobor are dying on a daily basis and their properties destroyed by the izzi people in Ebonyi State. This is one occurrence Chief would not have allowed to linger if he was alive considering the people centered politics he was known for. I hereby appeal that as a mark of honour, the government deploy relieve materials to the displace people as well as redouble their efforts in bringing lasting peace in the trouble communities.

This is not too much to ask for in honour of a man who contributed immensely to the shaping of the present Cross River State.
Rest on Chief!
Richard Romanus.