Tuesday, 14 August 2018


| 14 August 2018 | Ukorebi Esien

Mr Peterside Otong (called Peter Etim Otong when he was in Hope Waddell Training Institute, Calabar in the 70s) sang a song, titled, ''Where are the Prophets?'' He had released this song in response to the failure of all the predictions, prophecies and postulations by various (normal) Nigerians and marabouts about the impending consequences of Newswatch's Dele Giwa's assassination on 19 October 1986. We all had high hopes, but when the killers were not found by 1989 (still not found), he released the song, ''Where are the Prophets? 

Peterside had asked at the aftermath:
''Where are the Prophets?
We remember the Prophets?
The wicked make Jah children to cry
And they shed innocent blood.''

And the record that had; Alex O, Mike Okri, Chuks Eddy and Fola Munis, was very successful. 
The wait to discover Dele Giwa's killers continues. We may be waiting, like; Vladimir and Estragon, for Godot, in Samuel Beckett's play, ''Waiting for Godot'' (1952). Godot never arrived.

Before the August 11, 2018 Bye-election into the Obudu State Constituency  (Governor Ben Ayade's home Local Government Area), there were hypes and counter flimflams from both the PDP and APC – all projecting and justifying their different and entrenched positions. While PDP fielded the widow of the Hon Stephen Ukpukpen, Mrs Abbey Stephen Ukpukpen, APC fielded ''the son of the soil, Mr Bendebel Ishamali.'' And the combatants went to work as the whole of Cross River State waited with bated breath.

Mrs Abbey Ukpukpen is both from Abi and Obudu (by marriage) and this did not go down well with a certain group of people, both within and outside Obudu. So, they employed all the weapons in the Arsenal, to prove their points, show their mettle and bring her down. And they all lost. Abbey, will represent Obudu State Constituency, just like her late husband did.

Since some people had chosen to use the Election to call out Governor Ben Ayade to a fight, he has answered decisively, methinks. Meanwhile, all the Facebook warriors and doomsday prophets, have altered their raucous growls and roars into snivels and whimpers – grudgingly. With their tails tucked in between their legs, they have taken the lonesome walk, into the night.

I was worried at the level of malice exhibited by bigots, hypocrites and dogmatists, against her, like:
Inability to speak Bete language (as if all modern Obudu people don't speak English or proceedings of the CRHA are conducted in vernacular); 

How she should go into seclusion and mourn her husband for three years (instead of taking an action that would provide succour for her Obudu children, now and in the future), as if we are still in the dark ages.

Their venality was an attempt to gratify their chauvinism and machismo, with no attempt to key into the present global effort of gravitating away from constraining primordial socio-political and cultural banalities. Obudu and her people have become too cosmopolitan to descend into the abyss or be weighed down by outdated and outmoded cultural practices. And they clearly said so on August 11 2018. 

The people of Obudu delivered a message, clearly, that those days of treating women badly are gone. Nobody needs to tell a deaf and dumb person that the village market has closed for the day. Abbey, a woman, will now be known and addressed as; Hon (Mrs) Abbey Awara Stephen Ukpukpen (Obudu State Constituency).

She will now associate with Royalty and celebrate with celebrities, against and in spite of the various negative prophesies that adorned her path to the Cross River House of Assembly.

Governor Ben Ayade, Speaker John Gaul, Chief Tony Undiandeye,Frank Ayade, among others, deserve accolades for their efforts towards the success of the Bye-election. The Governor showed that he does not put two legs in the river to test the depth of the river. 

When Professor Wole Soyinka, wrote the play, ''Requiem of a Futurologist (1985)'', he merely summed up all the failed prophesies of the malicious Dr Godspower Oyewole and such kindred charlatans. He showed us how endangered a futurologist can become, when his prophesy fails. These paper tigers have become and all those noises have ended as what Shakespeare sums as: ''A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.'' Nothing came out of the huffing and puffing in the aftershock, after all.

All contrary and malicious predictions, prophesies, forewarnings, visions and oracles in the Obudu Bye-elections failed. As you secure and protect your PVC, in the quest to assertively relegate all deep-seated negative socio-cultural tendencies in Obudu, into the dust bin of history, I remind you of your recent epic electoral victory and the need to maintain the course and stay the hands of progress and providence.

Just like Peterside Otong had asked in 1989, I am wont to ask in a soliloquy:
''Where are the Prophets?
Do we remember the Prophets?
Have you seen the Prophets?
Where are the Prophets?''

Orok Otu Duke
Duke Town