Unknown to several people, last Friday’s (19th May, 2023) ghastly motor accident in Betem, Biase Local Government Area, CRS, involving a Calabar bound Toyota Sienna bus and a truck going in the opposite direction, not only took the life of Yemiode Elton, the lady who died three days before she was to celebrate a well planned out 51st birthday, but has thrown her younger brother into deep grief and depression.
A grief stricken Eteng Ubi Okoi, an Information Technology Delivery Manager and doctoral student, sadly points to his tumultuous marriage as being immediately responsible for his sister’s death. In between muffled sobs, he tells www.calitown.com that, “my heart bleeds. I had a bad marriage that caused me lots of setbacks and eventually took the life of my elder sister.” It is a pronouncement that numbs the senses. We take a while before pensive conversation continues.
“My sister was travelling to Calabar on the day she died, hoping to accompany me to the Ministry of Justice, where my estranged wife, Vodina Egozi and her family had submitted a petition, praying to be given custody of our two sons. It was her way of showing solidarity because in all of the time Vodina and her entire family has been waging a war of attrition against me, my sister who does not live in Calabar, has been indisposed to lend me support in the staggered moments of trouble that I endured.”
What really happened?
It is important, he insists, “to share some information so that everyone will have first hand information on my predicament.”
“I married Vodina Egozi on December 12th, 2015 in a traditional marriage ceremony conducted in Ugep, Yakurr LGA, CRS. It was followed by our marriage blessing at Times Christian Chapel, Ugep. I specifically call it a marriage blessing because the church didn’t have the license to conduct a statutory marriage. For a marriage blessed with two kids, instead of enjoying it, I have been pathetically victimized and oppressed by Vodina Egozi and her family…on trumped up allegations.”
“Vodina and her family have been spreading falsehood about me to gain sympathy and cover their wickedness towards me. They alleged that I turned my ex-wife into a punching bag which is completely untrue. The one and only time we had a physical confrontation was when she told me of her father’s decision to build a house in Ugep and further added that I must contribute to the house her father was about to build; it was not an appeal, it came as an order.”
He insisted to us that he glossed over his ex-wife’s entitlement attitude and still went ahead and made a financial commitment to the project. To prove this point, he hands us a recorded telephone conversation between Vodina and her father. “You will hear in the conversation, where her father said I sent N150,000 naira to them for the wiring of the house. But matter of factly, I sent in N200,000 naira, but she took out N50,000 naira and lied to her father that I sent in N150,000 naira.”
Curious, we pressed for information about how he got the recorded conversation and he reveals how. “After I sent the money, Vodina’s visibly elated father called her, expressing gratitude. To demonstrate the extent of her father’s happiness at this financial contribution, she recorded their phone conversation and sent to me. But I was somehow unhappy to discover in the conversation, a N50,000 naira shortage. But I let it fly, as a wise man, for peace to reign.”
“Her mother died in August, 2021”, he continues. “On that day, doctors at the Ebonyi State Hospital, were on strike The family was planning to move her to Enugu and needed N100,000. Amazingly, the entire family raised only N13,000 naira of the sum they were looking for. Find out how much I coughed out on that particular occasion before she passed on.”
He pauses, scrolls through his phone and sends us another recorded phone conversation. “This audio was after I sent my contribution for her mother’s burial in November, 2021. I was the highest contributor and out of excitement from her, she recorded another conversation between herself and her father when her father called her to thank me.”
A bird or two make a chirping sound outside as a frown sits on his face. Laboriously, he reveals, “…between June and July, 2022, while in my house, Vodina secretly took loans I was unaware of. I only got to know this when her pictures embarrassingly appeared online. Piqued, I asked to know what she used the monies for.
Rather than offer explanations, she called her father, told her whatever and the man called me and shockingly insisted to me that the marriage should end. He upped the game when he invaded my house with thugs and forcefully took his daughter away.”
We again press for evidence on the allegation bordering on the online loans secretly collected by his estranged wife. He shows us online pages tagging her on Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and spreading her pictures for refusing to pay back the loans she took.
We sight a breakdown of the loans and discover that a princely N795,152 naira was what she collected in the months in question from 20 online loan apps. “She has been unable to say what she did with this huge sum of money. Do the mathematics and add accruable interest and see the sum we are talking about “, he tells us.
Her action almost cost him his job as his office got to know of this transactions and accordingly called him in for questioning.
“To add insult to injury, on March 28th, 2023, Vodina’s step brother, Okey, who ran away from Ugep several years ago trailed by allegations of murder preferred against him, invaded my boys’ school with her in tow and others, attempting to abduct my children; the same children she had abandoned since July 17th, 2021.”
“These people cannot deny that in December 2020, their father was not arrested and taken to the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, Calabar for participating in an illegal orthopaedic surgery. I paid N150,000 for his release from police custody.”
Drawn to the neck brace that he was wearing, we were startled when he informed us that he has been wearing the brace after his “ex-wife’s sisters, Idongesit Egozi, Cynthia Egozi, Emmanuel (their house boy), Evalsam Egozi, their mother as well as Vodina”, assaulted him. “I use this neck brace now, after a Magnetic Resonance Imaging, MRI test, showed that my neck needs to be operated upon. I have resisted this neck operation and rather rely on pain killers to reduce the pains. Painfully, I have been battling with this neck pains since that ill-fated day.”
“After abandoning the kids for almost a year, on March 28th, 2023, Vodina Egozi, Martha Egozi, Okey Egozi among others, invaded my boys’ school and attempted to abduct the boys. When I was informed, I promptly reported this unfortunate twist to the police at Zone 6, Calabar.”
“While she and her accomplices were evading police invitation, they ran to the Ministry of Justice, Calabar and put in a petition against me in their usual way(s) of attempting to cover up their tracks and circumvent the reach of the law.”
On the strength of the invitation from the Ministry of Justice, Calabar, Ubi had reached out to his sister and other siblings, praying that they accompany him that fateful Friday to the Ministry. Specifically, he called his elder sister, the late Yemiode Elton, spoke with her and an agreement was reached for her to join her younger brother, early the next morning. True to her words, she boarded the Toyota Sienna from Ugep, but sadly never made it to Calabar…she was the only person who died in the accident.
“I have faced lots of setbacks because of this marriage and now, my elder sister, my only sister who use to assist in looking after my boys when I am very busy with work, has died in this unfortunate mix. I do not have powers beyond what I have relayed here, so the world can know where the truth lies. It is only God who can console me and our entire family”, he tearfully told us.
Several attempts to reach Vodina on 0814 385 6958, for a right of reply proved abortive as the number remained switched off, up until press time.
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