December 8, 2013

My husband’s death in police station to blame for street trading — Widow

Mrs Ifijeh spoke with Sunday Vanguard after receiving her appointment letter. Excerpts of interview:

How do you feel being employed by the state government after your encounter with Oshiomhole?

I thank God  for the appointment. I thank Oshobaba, even if he does not do any other thing for me, I am okay with this gesture. I have already forgiven and forgotten what happened. I believe that this is another way God wanted to bless me. If not for this incident, who am I to meet Oshiomhole face to face? I only knew him from afar during the election when we all voted for him because we respect him, we don’t see him like other people who will come and they will not lead us well. I thank God that used Oshiomhole to help me, I am not angry with him. I heard that the PDP said they want to give me money, I don’t need any money again and they should stop using me to campaign. I am okay with what Oshiomhole gave me. I think that if the PDP is genuinely serious about helping widows, they should give that money to another widow in Edo State.

Background and husband

I am from Emein Ora in Owan East Local Government Council. I don’t really have details of how my husband died because it happened in Lagos. They said he died in his office, he was a mobile police officer. We have four children, two girls and two boys. He also had a Yoruba woman but I am his first wife. We were married for twenty two years. But it has been difficult for us to get his gratuity. I have been managing through buying and selling and that is how I have been able to take care of the children. We went to Lagos to write about my husband’s entitlements but we are yet to get response from the police authorities. We married in 1991 and I am 40 years old now. I am also appealing to the police authorities and individuals to help me so that they will pay us what is due to my husband because he died in active service. His name is Godwin, an inspector. He was just promoted to the rank of inspector when he died.

The PDP said they sent you N250,000.  Have you received the money?

They did not give me any money.  Like I said earlier, let them give the money to another person. I am okay with what I have. I don’t want them to be using my name up and down. I don’t need their money.

So how do you intend to start your life now after your appointment?

I will start the campaign immediately. I will be moving to the markets to inform people to sell inside the markets and not outside because the state government spent money building these things. Personally, I don’t even like selling by the walkway because it is not hygienic. I understand that the Comrade Governor was very angry because he felt that what he is spending money on, people are destroying them and anybody who genuinely wants to work for the people will feel that way. So I will start the campaign in all the markets now that they should keep their environment clean and respect the law. The Comrade Governor means well for the people, I have seen it.

Which church do you attend

I attend all the good churches including Catholic, I don’t really have a particular one. I always go for prayers so that God will help me, even Bright my son is a son of the Catholic.

Did any pastor give you a vision that you could be rich?

No, but it was my son that had a dream that I had an encounter with Oshiomhole. In that dream my son saw that I went to the market and had an encounter with Oshiomhole. My son was staying with a Rev. Father that day and he told the Rev.Father about his dream. He said the Father told him that maybe God wants to bless his mother. I was already at the market when the incident happened and I called my son that the governor had packed all my things. It was later that day that he now told me about his dream. I was really touched. But it was later that they called me to come to Government House for my goods. I called my son to come along with me and we were very happy.

The day the governor called you, you came with your landlord and sister.  Were you scared that you might be detained?

Up till now I am still scared. I just said, ‘whatever wants to happen, let it happen’ but I believe that God wants to help me train my children because I have really suffered since the death of their father. As a matter of fact, the fear started when I saw the governor behind me. I noticed that somebody was behind me at the market and I was trying to push him so that I will have space to carry my goods, not knowing that it was the governor.  I was shocked when I looked at his face and that was when I started shouting ‘God, this is Oshobaba’ and I knelt down immediately and started begging him to forgive me.