By Patrick Obia
The Ejagham Nation, one of the ethnic groups said to be marginalized in Cross River State has been charged to wake up and take their rightful place.
The Ejaghams found in 12 out of the 18 Local Government Areas of the State were given the charge in a town hall engagement with Cross River 2023 governorship and senatorial candidates organized by Pan-Ejagham Renaissance Forum.
Held at the Ndidem’s Palace event hall, Asim Ikang Street, Big Qua town, Calabar Municipality, the organizers said organizing the engagement is apt to chat the peace, unity, and violent-free elections in Ejagham land and Cross River in general following the gimmicks and misconceptions about the people.
Chairman of the occasion, former Chief Medical Director of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) and Professor of Surgery – Prof. Roland Ndoma-Egba said the event was organized due to the seriousness and sensitivity of the issues in the State and Nigeria.
Haven’t taken participants through the genesis and memory lane of the Ejagham people, he averred that it’s pertinent for all sons and daughters who have seen civilization for a very long time and technologically advanced according to history to sue for peace and progress of the tribe.
Declaring the meeting open, the Paramount Ruler of Calabar Municipality and grand patriarch of Ejagaham Nation, HRM Ndidem Eta Bassey Eteta lll, welcomed and thanked all for coming, noting that it is a meeting to make peace and reconciliation among candidates because Ejagham stands for peace.
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Delivering a keynote address on the theme: deepening democracy, governance, and transformational leadership through ethnic nationalities engagement, the speaker, Dr. Edor John said Ejagham people have fought and slept enough and it is important for them to wake up from the slumbers, embrace peace among themselves and take what belongs to them.
He posited that the ethnic group in Cross River is the largest and now, it is the time of consciousness, “vote on the 25th of February and 11th of March, and elect who is capable of uniting the Ejagham people. Adding that it is a critical time in Cross River and Nigerian’s history.”
Shortly after the meeting, the Chairman of Pan-Ejagham Renaissance Forum, Ntufam Etim Solomon noted that Ejagham is a big factor in the Cross River project and as a non-partisan organization, all candidates were invited (governorship and senatorial) to speak to them about what they will officer the people of Ejagham if their mandates are given to them.
He enjoined the people to “go and vote the candidates of your choice you think will deliver and bring development to Ejagham Nation, vote your conscience and preferred candidates,” he said.
The candidates, however, took turns canvassing for support and why the Ejagham people should vote for them, and what they will do in return.
They assured that they will not tow the path of tribalism and nepotism and will be governors and senators for all.
Meanwhile, the State team Lead of Vote Not Fight, Election No Be War campaign – Mr. Lawrence Peter prayed the candidates and electorates not to tow the path of violence and vote buying but rather, a free, fair, and credible atmosphere suitable for all to exercise their franchise.
In a vote of thanks, the Vice Chairman of the Forum Asikpo Bassey thanked all and acknowledged that the Ejagham people have slept enough and it is time for them to wake up and take their rightful place in peace, love, and unity.
He urged candidates to take the outcome of the election in good fate because many will win and lose which is the beauty of the contest.
The highlight of the engagement was the questions and answers session and a group photograph.