…that was this past Saturday, October 15, 2022, one Austin Obeh, on his Facebook page prayed “… for heavy rainfall in Ogoja LGA and across Northern senatorial district of CRS (sic) …for good harvest next month.” On the ‘street’ of Facebook where he rode his pun, the prayer was a wish, hoping that heaven’s benevolent tears will tear down the plans of a march, with a million intentions, for the political good of Cross River’s Northern Senatorial District. However, instead of an October rainy day, the rain stayed away, granting space and time for a clear and enthusiastic display of love and affection, from a voter population to JARIGBE AGOM Jarigbe, the senator representing Cross River Northern Senatorial District in Nigeria’s Senate.
Early Saturday morning, the hurrying steps and ebullient faces converging in Ogoja, were signs for even the blind that something was about to happen. The women, with a jealous radiance, came out colourfully, massively immersed in sonorous songs of praise for a Jarigbe; loved at first sight. The young people, not to be outdone, adorned carefully customized costumes, sang boisterous songs and demonstrated that this was a dance for their own.
When Jarigbe finally arrived for the March, a thunder of excited voices chanting his name, erupted. Wave after wave to the crowd, orchestrated further scenes of elevated excitement and even teary eyes. A woman in her sixties (I guessed), who stood just inches away from where I was standing, thumped the air with a clenched fist and repeatedly chanted Jarigbe’s name as streaks of sweat trekking down the sides of her face became rivulets when they got to her neck. Her testimonial was labourously delivered in shattering English: “…na Jarigbe do me l still dey alive, I for don die since, but e sweet am heart to wake up me as he helep me.” A mass of voices struggled to give their own Jarigbe testimonials but the high decibel of all round sounds, make picking up what they are saying, an exercise in futility.
With no pretentions, the number of people I saw on the ground at the “One Million Man March for Jarigbe”, did not hit the one million mark, but let me say with evidence that, it is not in doubt that the essence of this march surpassed one million expectations, in reach and acceptance. The first evidence for these expectations is the more than N6 million in voluntary cash donations, from near and far, received for this march. Undoubtedly too, the second evidence will be the social media reach of this event, reaching even those who have a right to politically disagree with Jarigbe and his supporters. Still, it cannot be doubted that an ENORMOUS crowd consisting mostly of men, women and children, driven by love and the desire to see Jarigbe reelected in 2023, pulled all the stops and fanfared in Ogoja, drawing attention to their cause.
…the well documented travails of Jarigbe and how he overcame the choke hold of political adversity with his “Unconquered Generation” mantra and approach, give hope that power can indeed be of and from the people. This senator is the radar that compasses the gathering of the freely elected by the people. Those who admire and support him are in numbers, that will determine his continued stay in the red chambers.
But then, if those who govern Cross River State are not disconnected from the people, they would have understood that too many people have become united against them because several family heads and dependents are bearing economic difficulties that gratuities, NOT PAID, would have solved. Our governor is so unaware that those rented rallies at surmounted summits, have become a path to riches for those who are able to convince him that the massive printing and distribution of t-shirts to young people, dancing to loud blaring music, will benefit the state more than any deliberate governance approach(es) that will better the lot of our people.
Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe is a rallying point and will remain so, the opposite option will labour in vain.
Iwara, is Publisher & Editorial Lead, www.calitown.com
The views expressed are entirely the author’s and not the views of www.calitown.com
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