My Uncle, Chief Linus Emonshe Okom, with his towering height and forceful voice, showcased his love for Bekwarra through his many but largely undocumented sacrifices. Whenever he set out to do a thing, he went all out to achieve his goal, and nobody dares stand on his way. A towering figure in the nation’s political firmament, he was a true Nigerian patriot and heroic son of Cross River State.
I worked with King Ajang Adie of Ikparikobo, the then Clan Head of Bekwarra and de facto Paramount Ruler, though unschooled but highly cerebral wise man, who was Co-Chairman of the Movement for the Creation of Bekwarra Local Government, nominated by Ada Bekwarra, Chief Linus Emonshe Okom when he was Chairman of Ogoja Local Government Caretaker Committee. I was Secretary of the Committee. Chief Timothy Omang was the other Chairman. That combination was informed by experience and expediency and it worked perfectly to the glory of God. Chief Okom assembled that Committee.
Chief Linus Okom activated the process for the creation of Bekwarra Local Government and bankrolled the costs. And Bekwarra Local Government was created. Now Bekwarra and the world conglomerates to bid you a befitting farewell. The labours of our Heroes past and present must not be in vain.
Chief (Dr.) Mike Ogar was on that memorable trip to Abuja for the submission of the Memorandum for the creation of Bekwarra Local Government, alongside Chief Stephen Omang (who became Paramount Ruler) and Chief Dom Ogakwu. The resourcefulness of Elder McJohnson Odey, Agabi Oko, Marc Enamhe, Tony Akobi, Oko Agabi, Mpuah Gab Ogar, Hon. Edward Efenji, Utang Okaba, Emma Agbararagba and other well-meaning Bekwarra sons and daughters at that time contributed immensely to the actualization of the demand.
Chief I.I.Murphy, Dr. Joseph Wayas and Gen. Unimna anchored the lobbying team during the Sani Abacha presidency, while the tall shadow of Chief Kanu Agabi SAN provided moral cover and financial support from Calabar. Ntufam Eyo-Nsa Whiley, a friend of Bekwarra, provided strategic insider information.
Chief L.E.Okom of the Leolyn Nigeria Ltd. fame, thanks for helping Bekwarra sons and daughters the way you did, and many more thanks for giving us Bekwarra Local Government.
Chief Okom also instituted a scholarship scheme for less privileged children. That initiative must not die. Let us all encourage the family to keep his dreams alive.
Indeed, Chief Okom cannot die.
…Sunday-Gabriel Odey Esq is with Renaissance Chambers, GRA Jos-Nigeria.