By CrossRiverWatch Admin
Gesila, a community in Assiga, Yakurr Local Government Area of Cross River State has celebrated Dame Gesila Khan, the Resident Electoral Commissioner REC, in the state and bestowed her with a chieftaincy title for bearing same name with the community.
It will be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in April, 2016 arrested the REC after allegedly finding over N675.1m in the bank accounts of Mrs. Gesila Khan and other Independent National Electoral Commission officials in Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Delta states.
According to the anti-graft agency, the money was received and shared by the officials during the last governorship elections.
Mrs. Gesila Khan was alleged to have participated in the sleaze while serving as the Resident Electoral Commissioner REC, in the 2015 general election in Rivers State that saw the emergence of Chibudom Wike as the Rivers state governor before she was redeployed to Cross River State.
She was also quizzed by the Department of State Services in July 2015 but was never charged. The Cross River REC allegedly received N185.8m ahead of the March 28 and April 11, 2015, election in Rivers state.
But my mycrossriver.com reports that, earlier in the week, the entire atmosphere in Gesila located one hundred and twenty kilometers away from Calabar was in a festive mood as Prominent sons and daughters of the community resident in faraway places traveled all the way down to the village, a clear testament of how valuable the event was to the community.
The chiefs, elders, women and youths of the area all gaily dressed gathered at the central square in their numbers to chant and dance to celebration songs amidst traditional gun salute in her honor.
Dame Gesila Khan who is from Burutu in Bayelsa State was obviously elated and beamed with smiles as she danced with the women adorned in her chieftaincy regalia.
While speaking, a political leader of the place, Professor Godwin Igbile, the Managing Director of the Cross River State Water Board, stated that though Bayelsa State where Dame Gesila Khan comes from is hundreds of kilometres away from the Gesila community in Cross River, the history of the two Gesilas may not be too far apart as Ijaw fishermen from the Delta area as early as 1900 thronged Gesila to fish in the community’s river and also traded in agricultural produce like yam, cassava, palm oil with the natives which are in abundance in the area.
“Taking a recap into Gesila history, in the early 1900s, some fishermen from the riverine area of the delta came here to trade with our people. Though they preferred staying on tree tops found in the creeks and rivers, they exchanged their fishes with yams supplied by our people”.
He averred to the fact that since Gesila which is not a common name means bravery, precious, and trustworthiness in their dialect and also has similar meaning in Ijaw, which means that the Gesila in Bayelsa and the Gesila in Cross River is not a mere coincidence but a clue to the fact that the two Gesilas have something in common .
“It will interest the community to know more about you because you could be one of us in the diaspora. You could have come here without identifying with us which gives credence to the fact that there is something more than the ordinary that binds us that is why today you are not stranger but a daughter with full frights and privileges”.
He said the community has earmarked a piece of land in the area for Dame Khan to build a house to which she can return to after her retirement.
On her part, Dame Gesila Khan said on resumption of duties in the state, while going through the list of polling units in readiness for the rerun election for the Yakurr State Constituency in March, , she found that one of the units bore the name “Gesila” and owing to the fact that the name was unique, she decided to visit the unit to make more enquiries only to discover that the people had similarities with her people and had made more visits to the place more than any other unit.
She called for peaceful coexistence among the people as that was the sine qua non for development .
“When I retire, I will come here and live with my people and trade and also fish because apart from government work, I am a trader and fisher woman like my father’s people who trade and my mother’s people who fish”
She promised to take over responsibility for the education of any girl child who gains admission into Junior Secondary School in September which the community will recommend for her.
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