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Christiana Essien-Igbokwe versus Apena

Posted by By UDOBONG EKANEM on 2008/04/25 | Views: 2944 |

Christiana Essien-Igbokwe versus Apena

One of the most interesting characters in the sensational situational comedy “The New Masquerade” was “Apeno”. She was the termagant wife of the raucous character “Chief Jegede Sokoya”, “the grandson of Idi of Idi-araba and by the grace of God, the only millionaire in the whole universe.”

One of the most interesting characters in the sensational situational comedy “The New Masquerade” was “Apeno”. She was the termagant wife of the raucous character “Chief Jegede Sokoya”, “the grandson of Idi of Idi-araba and by the grace of God, the only millionaire in the whole universe.”

Apeno was irreverent, quarrelsome, cantankerous, irritable, petulant, querulous, grouchy and ill-tempered. At the drop of a hat, she was wont to fly into fits of temper, tie her headgear around her waist and go into fisticuffs with her henpecked HUSBAND, Chief Jegede Sokoya. The character of Apeno was beautifully interpreted by inimitable musician turned actress, Chief (Mrs.) Christiana Essien-Igbokwe.

The sitcom was a great entertainment, thanks to the creator, Mr. James Iroha. In an interview with Mr. Iroha who was then a director of Imo State Broadcasting Corporation over the tiff he had with Chika Okpala who played the role of “Chief Zebrudaya.”
He is quoted to have said that the problem was that “Chika saw himself as Zebrudaya in real life. One may not know how true this statement reflected Chika Okpala, but for sure it is apparent that Chief (Mrs.) Christiana Essien-Igbokwe has begun to see herself and live like Apeno in real life. It may not be a fitting way to end an eventful career, but developing a schizophrenic personality in ones latter life based on experiences in an earlier stage of ones life if not an uncommon psychological fact.

In a letter dripping with the kind of ire, irrationality and grouchiness associated with Apeno, Christiana Essien-Igbokwe joined issues with the Akwa Ibom State Governor over a printing machine in bad shape which her company supplied to the Akwa Ibom State Newspapers Corporation. Taking up issues with the governor in a letter loaded with undisguised malice, she declaimed that she made the governor who he is today. This does not only sound absurd but theatrical, devious and preposterous proposition which, inadvertently, justified the wisdom of the ancients that” success has many fathers (you may add mothers), but failure is an orphan.

Her entire treatise could be summarized charitably with the comment that appears to be suffering from a combination of persecution complex and illusion grandeur or how else can one explain her angst that her husband written to Governor Akpabio twice without a reply and as such it translate to mean that Akpabio is plotting evil against her family. Before she developed the “Apeno complex”, she would perhaps have concluded that a governor does not need to enter into private correspondence over a matter of public interest.

But hear Apeno (sorry, Christy Essien-Igbokwe)”…it is a fact that when silence is maintained on any raised issue, it is interpreted to mean confirmation.” By this she meant Akpabio’s refusal to be drawn into correspondence over the matter amounted to his plotting mischief. This is at variance with the belief of the ancient that” silence is the best answer to a fool,” (though I would hesitate to call Christy of is it Apeno a fool). The entire episode is as puzzling as the fictional masterpiece by Robert Louis Stevenson titled “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Hyde.” Dr. Jekyll, a medical practitioner was the most respected member of the society which was plagued by a criminal called Mr. Hyde. The conundrum was that Dr. Jekyll was actually Mr. Hyde in the night. One still find it puzzling that someone admired as much as Christy Essien-Igbokwe could turn out to be the petulant Apeno in real life.

In her paranoia, Apeno claims that she would hold the governor responsible for any physical or spiritual harm that befalls her family. Haba! Apeno!!. Her illusion of grandeur receives more robust embellishment than her persecution complex. Hear her,” there is no debating the fact that God, from my humbly corner, further used me mightily to abrogate the obnoxious on-shore/ off-shore oil dichotomy.” She maintained that the award of the national honour Member of the Federal Republic (MFR) to her was delayed because of the role she played in the abrogation of the oil dichotomy, na wa o!.

When did this campaign take place? We can only recall that once while she was performing for the then visiting Head of State, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida in the days of Group Captain Idongesit Nkanga as military administrator of Akwa Ibom State, she in the course of her performance pleaded with Babangida to abrogate the oil dichotomy. She failed to note that others used different other medium to make the same appeal to Babangida; but daydreamers have a way of thinking like the cock (that it is cockcrow at dawn that brought the sun).

Some how Apeno stated her real grouse in the following words “ it is evident that since the concerned states really enjoying the derivation from the abrogation of the dichotomy, I have never benefited from any of the littoral states government, even in any area of my competence.” In other words the “cock” has not been settled for “ushering in the sun” and is as mad as hell. She is also mad that the Akwa Ibom State Government has not allocated her a piece of land to build an industry in the state. Perhaps her anger would have been buried in the secret places of her heart, if it were not for that little scandal over the supply of the printing machine that drilled a borehole in her soul and the venom spurted out. Her company was awarded a contract to supply a printing machine to the Akwa Ibom State Newspaper Ltd.; publishers of The Pioneer title.

The contentious contract was sealed when Lt. Col. Yakubu Bako was the military administrator of the State in the mid 90’s but dragged on the printing machine was eventually delivered during the tenure of Obong Victor Attah, in the 2000s. The machine which was supplied by Christy’s company was manufactured by Manugraph India Ltd. Unfortunately the machine arrived in a terrible state of disrepair, the linking components and the dampening system was defective, and this led to a situation where the machine wasted enormous quantity of papers as over 80% of its production was blurred. Added to this appalling mix was the fact that the machine arrived without a user’s manual or operating instruction. Fundamental accessories like consumables, spare parts were conspicuously missing and above all, it’s many set backs could not be resolved.

From the get-go, the staff of the company complained bitterly over the defective printing machine and stated in clear terms that the company (AKNC) has been short changed. Even with much effort, they started to use the machine; The Pioneer was a poorly produced paper with blurred images that lacked competitive footing when compared to other locally produced newspapers in circulation within the state. Because of the high wastage of newsprint, the company could not sustain production not to talk of record profit, it had go cap in hands to government for subvention. The recourse was to abandon the waning printing machine and start printing the paper outside the state. These must have caused the lady of song sleepless nights as naturally will be afraid that the matter will be reported to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission.

Deciding that the best form of defence is attack, she launched a virulent attack on the person of the Governor of Akwa Ibom state in a letter titled,” Threat of Life”. Apparently driven by fear and guilt, the letter paints an unwholesome picture which can only be understood if one looks at the issue from the aspect of a recalcitrant citizen who has erred and is frightened that the long arm of the law will catch up with her. In her desperation, she even betrayed her hand by claiming that she would go to EFCC if the company does not keep on using her defective machine.

Christy Essien-Igbokwe fear is that the staff of the newspaper company will publish several articles condemning the printing machine and its suppliers. She believes this may set the stage for her indictment but instead if channeling her energy into correcting this fraudulent act, she has decided to embark on a campaign of calumny, believing that it is the only weapon available to curtail an indictment. Her position is not only pathetic but also understandable considering that she is suffering from an emotional plague. According to Whilhelm Reich (1897-1957) an Austrian psychoanalyst, “A bad conscience creates malignant behavior. You make somebody else bad in order to free yourself from responsibility. We call that the Emotional Plague.”

One is tempted to look at the entire situation as bordering on Christy Essien-Igbokwe having unsettled psychic accounts. A self-introspection could exorcise inner demons could help resolve these accounts and eliminate her persecution complex and illusion of grandeur. Topping this with righteousness and good faith would also be a good antidote for her cleansing. It would be sad for a woman who had such glowing career in midlife, and was referred to as the Lady of Songs in addition to holding a national merit award to manifest a schizophrenic personality in later life and let her ”Mr. Hyde”( her bad side) destroy her “Dr. Jekyll” (her good side). Perhaps no advice could be more apt for our sister, Christiana Essien-Igbokwe than this scripture in Proverb 3:7 “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

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Comments (3)

Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.