Eyiboh: A man defined in grave and death
“I shall not wholly die, and a great part of me will escape the grave.” – Horace
By Joseph Atainyang
Death is not an end to life and grave is not a warehouse of diamonds. While life continues after death, the grave rebels, for sometimes, it detains nothing more than just the dust.
Life on earth is not the last place to be. A better place abides in a city made of gold. Creation may have purposed that man forever abides
on earth, but a ‘break’ in the ‘Law in Genesis’ truncated the rule of creation. A “Fortunate Fall”, it was, according to blind John Milton in his epic journey, “Paradise Lost”.
A fall is a fall, for some falls do crash the yolk. A man may fall and get up to recover from injuries. Others fall and the bruises are so great that recovery is impossible. The messianic tale of a lamb is told. It was not so from creation time. But divinity resorts to improvise for the sake of man, a creation in the likeness of God.
Indeed, it is an absolute assertion when Mitch Albom believes that dying marks the beginning of life. He believes that time is never what we think, and dying not the end to everything. “What happens on earth is only the beginning”, he concludes. This position becomes an old church bell, ringing in the minds of many mortals. Their knowledge of the transient nature of earthly sojourn is a lesson in both the apocalypse and apostasy. Hon. Eseme Eyiboh shares a vast portion of this contemplation.
Eseme Sunday Eyiboh is a native of Akpautong village in Esit Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. Born in Uquo maternity on January 28, 1960. Eseme, the third-born and first son in the family of seven was moulded in the Christian faith. The father, the Late Elder Sunday Eyiboh and the mother, Deaconess Grace Eyiboh are staunch believers in the Gospel of Christ. As members of the Qua Iboe Church Nigeria, the family raised their children in strict moral principles. Chastity was their watchword and this forms Eseme Eyiboh’s lump of life.
A boy in Holy Cross Primary School, Uquo, Eseme, who obtained his first school leaving certificate in 1974, proceeded to the Government Secondary School, Afaha Eket, where he was Captain of the Bill House Football Team. Having gained his school certificate in 1980, he again left for School of Basic Studies, Akamkpa, Cross River State for his Interim Joint Matriculation Board (IJMB) Study, where he was the Director of Socials of the Students Union Government (SUG). Eseme Eyiboh progressed to the Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, where he served as Editor in-Chief of the Mirror Magazine. A Dean of Class of Course 52 at Said Business School, Oxford University, Hon. Eyiboh also obtained a bachelor of Law (LL.B) from the Faculty of Law, University of Uyo and attended Nigerian Law School, Bwari, Abuja.
A natural leader as evident in his secondary and tertiary education credentials, Mr Eyiboh didn’t find it difficult to be absorbed in mainstream politics to offer service to his fatherland. He was appointed as Director, Akwa Palm Industries LTD (a World Bank Tree Crop funded Project in collaboration with the Akwa Ibom State Government and Nigeria Agriculture and Co-operative Bank). Having been a Public Affairs Consultant to Socfinco Indufina of Brussels in Belgium, Eyiboh, during Governor Victor Attah’s administration, became the Executive Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Ethical and Attitudinal Reorientation Commission (EARCOM). He was also a Service Consultant to Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited in Land Transport Logistics, One- Stop -Shop, Marine and Technical Training Centre departments.
Believing that “leadership is a responsibility that should be earned, not given, and must be accounted for”, Eseme Eyiboh aspired to represent Eket Federal Constituency at House of Representatives of the National Assembly. From a fierce party primary against the then State Attorney General and apparatus of state government, he emerged victorious under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, based on his mien of character and acceptability. Through “personal conviction and innovative salesmanship strategies, even against the parliamentary practice of ‘a must’ ranking membership status”, the first-time parliamentarian became the spokesperson of the House of Representatives. The fluent and passion driven member of parliament also emerged the Speaker of the Anglophone Regional Parliamentary Forum moderated by West African Institute of Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM).
Politics is indeed a game of interest and human foibles would mostly manifest. The experience when the Akwa Ibom State government as at then and its allies ganged up to stall his second term in the parliament, brought to fore Eyiboh’s survivalist shrewdness of a fox as he remains the only Nigeran since Independence to be sworn into the parliament without Certificate of Return or Court Judgement, this can not be best forgotten. The Chairmanship of Donor Agencies/Development Partners was also reserved for him in reward for his contributions to robust parliamentary developments and pathfinder to the birth of the intellectual wing in the National Assembly where he presided over as its ‘Dean’.
Recall also that Eyiboh was the Spokesperson for the 2019 Campaign of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State. In 2018, he was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari as Chairman, Cross River Basin Development Authority (CRBDA). Although his duty was to harness human and material resources to enhance agricultural value chain and a return on investment to stakeholders, the situation became a complete departure from the ultimate. Sadly, Eyiboh ended up fighting to rescue the CRBDA from a cesspool of corruption actively promoted by the power grid at the supervising federal ministry. No wonder he was unceremoniously relieved as the Chairman of the Board. In times like this, pundits yearn to have a younger and more active Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Rock. It would have been simple to hope that agents of corruption dining in the executive chambers would be fetched out and demystified.
Eyiboh is married and blessed with children of outstanding laurels in various pursuits of integrity, including engineering, aviation, artificial intelligence (AI) and cyber security, and pharmaceutics.
Yet, Conscious of the effects of bad eggs in the polity, Eyiboh had long subscribed to the Membership of the National Working Group of EFCC Fix Nigeria Initiative. He states that opportunity exists in every difficulty and must always be appropriately exploited. He shares the belief that victories and laurels are ephemeral. He also holds the opinion that “to have better Nigerians is more important than seeking to have a better Nigeria.” This opinion is informed by his conviction that men ought always to do the right thing for societal progress.
Obviously, Hon. Eseme Sunday Eyiboh is marking his additional age here on planet earth today. Close persons should rightly meditate on his philosophical influences. Of course, man is a thinking being. Man reflects on anything that forms his immediate experience and influence. The case in point is the knowledge that Eyiboh does not live by chance. He’s fully aware of the fading face of life. His mission on earth seems to overlap the philosophy of James Shirley who says that “…strong nerves at last must yield; and early or late, stoop to fate, in giving up their murmuring breath”.
James Shirley concludes, that “Only the actions of the just smell sweet and blossom in their dust.” The statement validates Eseme Eyiboh’s viewpoint on the journey of life. It crystallizes into his summation that man must do his best to gain a name. According to him, nothing acquired on earth would transit the cosmic rift when man returns to his maker, where he stands to give account of himself. It is a total fusion to the idea of Horace who believes that when he dies, a greater part of him shall escape the grave. Happy birthday to a sound man of moral values who is inspired by death and grave. All hail the Dean!
_Atainyang is a journalist and public affairs commentator._