By CrossRiverWatch Admin
Being the third of a three part series by the son of the late journalist, Ernest Etim-Bassey as part of events leading to the 20th anniversary celebration of his father.
Perhaps I am at the end of my sojourn in the state as we head towards the 2019 elections simply because I never felt running elections were for me? But then again lets see what curve ball God throws my way?
Nonetheless, It has been a steep but generally positive learning curve I couldn’t have dreamt about when I abandoned my Ph.D. program at the University of Reading, U.K, in search of the proverbial adventure in the sun.
Now I wouldn’t even trade the broad knowledge acquired of Cross River, having practically visited all Local Government Areas and most political wards while bonding with diverse peoples and groups, for anything in this world.
But then again the transition up the states political stepladder, firstly as “Personal Assistant to the Governor and apprentice politician,” in the words of the erudite statesman and father of modern Cross River, Senator Liyel Imoke and now as a “budding political strategist, technocrat and zonal leader in my beloved Essien town, Calabar, was never that easy. And how I ended up working in Calabar in the first place is a story for another day.
Paradoxically, time lines and benchmarks were set for me from a very early age and the countless hours I spent daily, after school, exploring every corner of the Cinquantenaire military museum in Brussels while waiting for the my late mother to close from work across the road, at the Nigerian embassy in Brussels, meant my only interest from an early age was in the war of war, and so from the age of 13, I dreamt of eventually teaching modern warfare at the Kings College London.
While this never materialized, I am thankful for my newfound political family, mentors and friends in the state, and have absolutely no regrets for the path to life I have chosen.
In truth, I have been blessed by many in the state simply because they knew Ernest Etim-Bassey and the values he stood for including integrity, social justice and action and for his passion for the south, as defined in the current political construct.
Conclusion: His Relevance For Our Time
At the core of my late fathers belief was that “JOURNALISM IS AN ACT OF CONSCIENCE.”
For that simple belief his press was fire bombed, he was attacked, arrested, incarcerated and charged to court on many occasions. But then again how many men of such strong conviction and values remain amongst us today?
So as we give thought to the life and times of Ernest Etim-Bassey, in this period before his 20th anniversary, we must take a long view of history and a brief view of his life. This way one will discover that my father was in the true league of extraordinary men now lacking in our society. Who belong to a long tradition of people who called conscience on the carpet and paid very dearly for it?
And this is a call for our leaders in the southern senatorial zone to develop that dangerous unselfishness like my father did many years ago.
And that is why you either liked or hated him intensely especially as you consider the boundless energy with which he tenaciously and uncompromisingly pursued and crusaded his beliefs, principles and ideals for the untrammelled rule of law, all-embracing and expansive social justice, protection of fundamental human rights and respect for the hopes and aspirations of our people.
“Everything good and necessary should take precedence to pleasing self.” This was the last entry in his diary.
Continue to Rest in Peace father.
Williams Etim-Bassey, an expert in contemporary warfare and Senior Special Assistant to Governor Ben Ayade on Security Matters, writes from Calabar, the Cross River State capital.