Governor Ayade got booed in church today during the burial service of late Temitope Ita Ekpenyong the wife of Ita Ekpenyong the ex-DG of the SSS today, even though he was far away in Oslo, Norway. This was captured live on national TV via AIT. For those of us inside the church, this was a very cringing moment and embarrassing experience.
The Deputy Governor, Professor Ivara Esu was called to give a condolence message to the bereaved family on behalf of Governor Ayade. Professor Esu began by being apologetic about the absence of Governor Ayade who he said was away on an important trip (actually he was attending a Maritime Trade Fair in Norway). Instantaneously, there was a very loud cacophony of synchronised booing across the whole church (Hope Waddell Parish) by those attendees inside the building. This was broadcast live across the whole nation on AIT.
This was very embarrassing and humiliating to the point that the widower, Mr Ita Ekpenyong himself had to get up and appeal to everyone to calm down. Interestingly, when the Governors of Akwa Ibom and Rivers State were respectively called to give their condolences there was a rancorous ovation for them by the congregation/attendees. However, the loudest ovation was reserved for Donald Duke when he was called to the pulpit as a late addition. He admonished the deceased family in fluent Efik.
Governor Ayade has barely spent two weeks in office and he’s already running around all these non-English speaking countries attending Trade Fairs arranged by travel agents. He showed absolutely no respect to the family of Ita Ekpenyong as the two other Governors who were sworn in on the same day as Governor Ayade on 29 May created time in their itineraries to attend the burial service today. Project Managers don’t behave like this.
There is a clear reason why Governor Ayade has refused to officially visit the UK or the US and interact with Cross Riverians in the diaspora. He’s assured the same reception.
I’m not saying that Cross River State has now suddenly become a laughing stock. All I am saying is that Governor Ayade missed a big opportunity to make a statement and play host to all the national dignitaries that congregated at the Hope Waddell Parish for the burial service; but rather preferred to attend an insignificant vainglorious trade fair in Norway barely two weeks after being sworn in.
As I trudged out of the Hope Waddell Parish of the PCN and looked over the Hope Waddell cliff, I saw the Governor’s building on the stolen Hope Waddell land, and it reminded me why he was booed in absentia by his own electorate.
By Richard Duke