“We Must Make Another Onitsha Out Of Ikom” – Okimasi Ojong

Okimasi Ojong
Okimasi Ojong
He is in his early forties, tall, lanky and urbane; add young, focused and ‘restless’. In his modest office where he runs the law firm, Okimasi Ojong & Co., a deck of law books serve as his backdrop. As Okimasi Odee Ojong, angling for the Ikom I State Constituency seat in the Cross River State House of Assembly, settles into his black swivel chair, he tells www.calitown.com without too much prompting that “politics is a mission and I am setting out to answer the special call to serve my people”. He obviously does not mince words even though he is yet to marshal out what plans he vigorously wants to pursue if ‘Christmas comes in 2015′.

We engage him on that and wonder why he wants to combine his fledgling law practice with politics. True to type he brings it on with a fiery passion that men who drive change are made of; hear him, “my Ikom people are poor in the midst of plenty and I think that while successive generations have done their bit, my own generation owes Ikom one thing and that thing is to turn around the fortunes of our people working with a clearly defined plan. I mean Ikom is strategically located as a transit point, a border town and a commercial hub, seriously we must work to make another Onitsha out of Ikom”. It is a clear statement underlining what is at the centre of Ojong’s political package.

In his beloved Ikom, this lawyer has and still is a rallying point for youths especially those who have benefitted from the empowerment programmes he initiated and executed. To his credit, the one entrepreneur in Ikom who operates a recharge card printing franchise learnt the trade from an empowerment programme Ojong bankrolled. Several other, in different spheres of life are putting to commendable use the skills his programmes have taught them.

When he first ran for the Ikom I seat in 2010, he had to succumb to party pressure and let his ambition fly out. It was a bitter experience but Okimasi took it all in his stride and worked at improving himself for this day upon us. In 2015 he boldly believes his credentials and the fact that he has been articulating people oriented programmes are his trump card. First, he parades a degree in Law, has been called to the Nigerian Bar and has two Masters’ degrees; one in Political Science and the other in Criminology. His PhD in Criminology is in view. His consultations have been sustained because he believes that the mandate must come from the people who hold the key to electoral success. Again Okimasi Ojong is quick to point out that he has received political mentorship from his father, the late Ntufam Matthew Ojong, a consummate politician who ran for governor of Cross River State in the SDP/NRC era. Sired from those roots, one begins to understand why Okimasi’s approach to politics is authentic, issue driven and with an intellectual bent. He passionately told www.calitown.com that he misses “dad every day, he was my friend and confidant, had answers to all knotty questions and just was a father”. You can see as he nestles his pretty daughter on his laps that he misses his father and is showering affectionate love on his own daughter. Then his wife walks in, is introduced to www.calitown.com and it is obvious from their interaction that she is his stabilizing factor; a real case of behind every successful man, there is a woman.

Okimasi and daughter
Okimasi and daughter

We are soon compelled to ask him what his philosophy in life is and he tells www.calitown.com that it is “live and let’s live”. It is a philosophy that aptly demonstrates the virtue of space that he creates for the other man to be.

On a rather humorous note we ask him, “if you had the opportunity of being an animal, which animal will you be?” He pauses for a while, pulls the tip of his moustache and responds, “…a dove because it is calm”. It is a clear pointer to what his personality is and further too that this calm disposition is what he will carry into the Cross River State House of Assembly if he does get the nod from his people.

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