By Mohammed Adamu
Barely a year after she was crowned ‘The Amazon Of Cross Rivers’ at the famous Tinapa Resort by the First Lady of Cross Rivers State, Mrs. Liyel Imoke, Cross Riverians just did honour again to their proud Princess of Bakassi, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa.

Penultimate week, precisely, December 11,  the Obong of Calabar,  Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi, the fifth, bestowed on my former principal, the title of ‘Eka Iban Ke Esien Efik Duopeba’ or ”Mother of  Women of the 12 Tribes of Efik Kingdom”. ‘Yours truly’ was in Calabar for three fun-filled days; feasting on my favourite sea foods: prawns, shrimps and lobsters.

Not to mention those green mystery soup-delicacies, afang and edikaingkong. Which I always look forward to, whenever the princess invites. And, she does invite to merrymaking virtually thrice in just a year.

Sometimes I ask myself: which exactly is the greater pull to the beautiful city of food, fun and fanfare? Which is the greater attraction to the Clean Capital of Carnivals each time this events-loving happy Mama-jama Senator rouses me all the way sometimes from Minna to the land of the Efik?

Is it loyalty to the good former boss, which Ita-Giwa has always been, or is it culinary frailty against the Efik green soups and the crustacean of Calabar? Or both! Or, yet is it the prospects of always ‘Getting down’ to ‘old-school’ ‘boogies’ till the break of dawn whenever the princess rounds off her ‘events’?   And, you know whenever Ita-Giwa does her ‘things’, the ‘things’ simply get ‘done’! Because she gives practical effect to the saying: ”what’s worth doing at all is worth doing well”.

When she worked as Senator and Minority Leader of the opposition-APP—Ita-Giwa operated at the highest parliamentary frequency, and was a tag-team with  the finest legislative wine-figure, the late Senate President, Chuba Okadigbo;  together they stirred the Senate of their day and gave Obasanjo political goose pimples; as Presidential Adviser on NASS, she practically showcased Executive-Legislature liaison at optimal performance level, taming her old forte with the legislative tact, éclat and élan that come only from those who know their peas from their beans; and when she politiks, you bet there is no better dye-in-the-wool than this female politician who won three elections  to the House of Representatives and to the Senate standing up to men and standing always on the platform of opposition parties.

In the field of charity, this daughter of a pioneer female journalist, Mma Beatrice Ita, and wife of the profession’s great martyr, Dele Giwa, is a loving mother of more than 10  orphaned children who attend the best schools in Calabar and annual  holiday abroad with a Princess-Mother famed for owing no apologies in her choice of the world’s coolest spots to cool off.

A proud champion of the once environmentally-disadvantaged and now geographically-displaced people of Bakassi, Ita-Giwa or Mama Bakassi as she is better known, demonstrated the rare iron-will not to “sit to bewail” as Shakespeare would warn but “to stand to redress”  the harms of her displaced nation, Bakassi.

Yet, in the fashion industry, she’s a tone-setter and a diva; and in the world of dermatology and health care, an ageless beauty who is no prisoner to the social nuances of any one particular generation.

Such was her cross-generational appeal that penultimate week when the Obong was adding a royal feather to her already blue-blooded peacock, Ita-Giwa had Big Brother Winner, Uti, and Nollywood film star Rita Dominic on one side of her princely carriage and Abba Folawiyo and Liz Benson on the other. And, between these two generations were a horde of her numerous male and female friends as well as well-wishers.

The host-governor and Mrs. Liyel Imoke, his Akwa Ibom counterpart, Akpabio; Andy Uba, Senators Osakwe, Isaiah Balat and a host of Rep members and several other men and women -more of ‘mahogany and iroko’ than of the time-worn ‘timber and calibre’ cliché.

Suffice it to say that the palace of the Obong could not have been under any more siege than it was. If a doctor had placed his stethoscope on the busiest everyday Calabar spot, he was sure to miss the pulse of this gay, happy-city. It seemed like the entire Yuletide-spirited people of this famed tourist city of Tinapa and of Obudu had emptied into this modest but notoriously-heard-abroad ancient abode of the natural ruler of the Efik kingdom.

Beautifully canopied on all flanks and seeming to burst on all its royal seams, this structurally-preserved ancient palace, untainted by the outlines of modern architecture and situated right in the midst of its subjects, played host to the making of the new ‘Eka Iban Ke Esien Efik Duopeba.’

And, as she sat there resplendent in her ribbonned royal Sedan, clutching her gold-hued scepter and waiting to be crowned, my literary mind and my dancing feet were at war. One was toying with the idea of an apt title. The others couldn’t wait to boogie. And, when eventually the beautiful crown donned her head, I couldn’t help but imagine how the ‘getting down’ was going to be, later that night. Sometimes, even precious royalty ‘heirlooms’ just have to give way! -to ‘getting down!’

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