From Judex Okoro, Calabar
It was a mild drama of sort as the Metropolitan Bishop of Uyo Diocese, Bishop John Ebebe Ayah, sublty rejected Governor Ben Ayade’s undisclosed largesse to him during the Mass for Justice Emmanuel Agim Akomaye’s elevation to the Supreme Court.
The Obudu-Obanliku Elites Forum, had organised a Thanksgiving Mass and grand civic reception in of honour Justice Agim, who hails from Obanliku, on his elevation to the Supreme Court at St. Patrick Catholic Church Ikot Ansa, Calabar at the weekend.
The Holy Mass, officiated by Bishop Ayah, also from Obanliku, coincided with the unveiling of the this year’s harvest theme, “Harvest of Divine Intervention.”
However, a mild drama ensued when Ayade was later invited to make a donation to support the harvest and he gaveTwenty-five million naira on behalf of the state government, his family and the judiciary arm of the government.
After the donation, the Governor turned to the direction of the presiding Bishop and said: “For our pride, the pride of Cross River North, the son of the soil, Bishop John Ayah, I will whisper my package to him later.”
Without waiting much time and characteristics of Catholic Bishop speaking truth to power, Bishop Ayah in response to the donation rose up, collected the microphone and said: “I want to talk. The governor is my brother. We are both from Cross River North. I want to appreciate the governor and tell him to package whatever he has for me, add to it and use it to pay the salaries of the workers”.
Bishop Ayah’s reaction was greeted with loud ovation and shouts of “correct Bishop God Bless you” by the congregation.
And in defence of his earlier statement, Ayade collected the microphone immediately and said: “The salaries of the workers are already ready. Let me say this government has been faithful in paying salaries for seven years upward. The people will appreciate Ben Ayade when he leaves office.”
Dignatories present at the thanksgiving Mass include the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, the Chief Justice of Cross River State, Hon Justice Akon Ikpeme, and his counterparts from Plateau and Sokoto states, few Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Cross River state, the Accountant General Cross River state, the VC of University of Calabar, Prof Florence Banku Obi, the former Vice Chancellor of University of Calabar, APC and PDP chairmen, Alphonsus Ogar Eba and Venatius Ikem respectively, and the APC governorship candidate, Sen Prince Bassey Otu.