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This life remains a mystery and no one can lay claim to knowing all, except God. But every culture has developed an acceptable method of societal organization that suits their nuances and attempts to settle their incongruities.

Where I come from, in Obudu, “uñwå ushîé”, meaning (a child from the mother’s village), can never be rejected in the mother’s village. It’s a taboo. The child even has preferential rights than others in the village. The child is usually granted land ownership rights and communal protection. If that child even commits murder in another land, the only place he or she can be banished to, is the mother’s village. If any animal is killed in that village, the child is traditionally entitled to the ‘neck’ of the animal, be it chicken, pig, ram, goat, cow or even bush meat. The neck is reserved for the “bébūâ úshîé.” (Plural).

However, one evident pent-up in this cool sounding narrative is the subtle discomfort and manifest bitterness that starts to mushroom once the “unwa-ushie” begins to rise and amass authority and power beyond expectations. That is when hush conspiracies coalesce to recall your nativity and sundry dust. Rising from grass threatens lower rungs naturally. It purveys the entrenched audacity of lower floors that never thought a high rise could emerge beside them. It is not their fault. It is a natural reaction to every such action.

Rising, particularly at a meteoric speed, inherently attracts attention and publicity. You will be talked about in leaps and bounds. Many things will be said about you that are true and false. A lot will be attributed to you and much more will be detracted from you. In that light, I dare say that so much has been said about the new Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu.

At 37, over a period of just eight years, from being a youth corper in government house, she has been Special Adviser on Health to governor, DG of Health Agency, Commissioner for Health, National Woman Leader, and now Minister of the Federal Republic. This couldn’t have come without a dent of competence and self drive. In my humble opinion, I think Dr Betta Edu is a young Cross Riverian that has presented herself as a handy example for other young women in our State and country wide, to understand that women have space at the top, if they can strive.

I will rather stand with her and watch her get to work than vilify her. What can Betta do? How can Betta better the lives of poor Nigerians? How can she positively take the bull by the horn and maximize the space she has been given, no matter how little, to impact a good number of Nigerians? How can Betta create a reliable national social register and maximize technology that will ensure intervention programs get to the targeted sections of indigents?

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These are the parameters that will inform my judgment of her and not the cacophony of pelting which has not been able to impede her velocity.

Yours sincerely,
Citizen Agba Jalingo.

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