In 2021, these persons, of Cross River origin, in the estimation of www.calitown.com, kept their respective dates with history, knowingly or unknowingly. Their actions or inactions, quickly left indelible news items in the sands of time, for good and/or for bad. Check them out!
With Akon Ikpeme, a Judge in the Cross River State Judiciary, the Cross River State Government became enmeshed in a needless controversy over her appointment as the substantive Chief Judge of the state, even though she was next in line for the job and a firm favourite for the position.
Lushly acting in error, the Cross River State House of Assembly, CRSHA, was tinkered and failed to approve her appointment as substantive CJ of the state allegedly because of her family ties and parentage. Her father is from neighbouring Akwa Ibom state but she was born and raised in Cross River state. She is also married to a Cross Riverian and has been, for decades, working as a judicial officer in the state, even becoming the state’s Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, and a judge.
Forces firmly aligned to the government of the day manipulated the succession process and incurred the wrath of the National Judicial Council, NJC, well placed legal luminaries, vociferous Cross Riverians and common sense. The whole matter, made ugly, showed that even though she was appointed a judge on November 16, 1998, was acting Chief Judge of the state from December 3, 2019 to March 2, 2020, the Ben Ayade administration was hell bent on tampering with a normal succession plan…the administration failed.
On January 28, 2021, common sense prevailed and Ben Ayade backed down, even telling the press and onlookers that, “God touched my heart, she is the right person for the job”, ending a saga that ridiculed government’s attempted elevation of mediocrity over merit and making news in the process.
Thomas Obi Tawo
Thomas Obi Tawo, was a comic ‘General’ with a clattered personality who added ‘Iron’ to his nickname and became “General Iron”. Unarguably, he was raised to die early.
Tawo, a little, short of, sophisticated criminal who was ‘baptized’ and empowered by a legion of persons in power to help ‘win’ elections and to also protect their interests in the government owned palm plantations in Boki, came on and went about his ‘work’ with a lethal disposition. He acquired a personal will, arms, ammunition and a small band of ruthless urchins who enforced anything the masters in government wanted.
‘Impressed’ with the effectiveness in the discharge of ‘duties’ given him, apart from the seven hectares of palm plantation alloted to him for loyalty, the Ben Ayade administration appointed him a Special Assistant to the governor on Forest Security, authenticating his heinous activities, even setting the tone for what was to follow.
Emboldened by government recognition, in 2019, 24 women in Oku Bushuyu, Boki LGA, received various degrees of burns after Iron ‘proved’ that they were witches. Following sharply, three prominent ch in the community, Edward Kekung, John Otu and a former Manager, Boki Oil Palm Estate, Borum, Bernard Kekung, were killed by Iron for being wizards, he said then. Amazingly, only Iron, in the whole community, had the powers to prove and identify witches and wizards. Had he gone a little too far?
A former lawmaker and aide to the governor, Mark Obi, shortly after he resigned from the Ayade administration and even refused to defect to the APC with the governor, was visited by Iron and served vicious assault doses in a life threatening attack that left Obi in a coma. The attendant hue and cry, pushed the state government in an August 2021 memo, with reference number, GO/PRESS/012/VOL.II/014, signed by Christian Ita, the governor’s spokesman, to relieve Iron of his appointment…government had now distanced itself from him and the hunter was now hunted.
He took off into the thick Boki forests and from there caused his acolytes to write a letter to the governor, begging for forgiveness – he was never forgiven.
Shortly after that dastardly attack on Mark Obi, law enforcement agents and the local vigilante went after him in a manhunt that surpassed his expectations and served him a dose of his own medicine. His capture and dismemberment, made news headlines and brought to an end General Iron’s reign of terror in Boki.
Unarguably, Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade, is constantly in the news, either for something that can be seen or what cannot be seen, what has gone wrong or will go wrong, even a promise made, one kept or a promise not kept at all. However, the biggest news the governor made was not the CallyAir issue and how Aero Contractors bed wets for CRS. Ayade’s biggest news story for 2021 remains his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, after months of speculations.
The governor’s one reason for defecting was so he can SOCKET the state to the centre, in the understanding that the APC government at the centre will be more inclined to deal with a CRS with an APC governor. But then, there was a real reason for this defection…you want to know?
Ayade locked horns with a few persons within the PDP, in an intense battle for political positions and the soul of the party. Out muscled and somewhat outsmarted, he made a political detour and headed to the APC, carrying with him a retinue of appointees, a buzz of individuals politically spoon fed by him and another, neither here no there group of persons, comfortable with the convenience of being praise singers. He is poised to wrestle governorship away from anti-zoning proponents, who insist that since all the senatorial districts in the state have had a go at the governorship position in CRS, anybody, from any of the three senatorial districts can have a shot at the position. The arguments for or against this position have provided the filip for lively political debates across the length and breadth of the state.
Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe
Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe is the poster boy of what is now the Cross River State “Unconquered generation” political school of play.
A crowd favourite because of his resilient and dogged challenge of the political status quo, Jarigbe went in and out of court houses after a senatorial election with a Ben Ayade-backed Stephen Odey, arguing that he was the one duly elected as senator of Cross River North Senatorial District and not Odey, who incidentally was the one sworn-in. The political space became charged as state and personal funds were ploughed into what was now the most contentious election in the political history of CRS.
Jarigbe’s prayers were finally answered at Nigeria’s Supreme Court on February 25, 202, when the court struck out Odey and others appeals and sustained the Appeal Court judgment that Jarigbe was duly elected. The Supreme Court process and resultant verdict were followed by supporters like a football game involving Nigeria’s national men’s football game.
What then followed were a string of prime time television appearances, by Jarigbe and Odey, arguing their positions and then, bitterly divided followers of the two ‘entertained’ whoever cared to read or listen with digs aimed at each other.
After all the hue and cry, on Wednesday, September 15, 2021, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, finally swore in Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, as the senator representing, Cross River North, closing a chapter that religiously kept him in the news.
Vincent Collins Ofuka Njar
Late into the end of a fast sliding-off 2021, Vincent Collins Ofuka Ogar, Professor and Head, Medicinal Chemistry Section, Center for Biomolecular Therapeutics, CBT; Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research, IBBR, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore in the USA, was in the news for the very right reasons.
The Ikom, Cross River State born Prof was in the news for making significant discoveries in the development of novel small molecules with potential for the treatments of a variety of cancers, especially breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers.
His work, “Discovery and Development of Galeterone (TOK-001 or VN/124-1) for the Treatment of All Stages of Prostate Cancer”, has been published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and cited 126 times.
A “note worthy Chemistry Educator and Researcher” as described by the Marquis Who’s Who, he lives in the US with his family.
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