As beauty queen and film-maker, Ibinabo Fiberesima, indicates her intention to contest local government election in Rivers State, some Nigerians have begun to challenge her. They are particularly questioning her role in a 2006 road crash in which a medical doctor, Suraj Giwa, was killed.
Journalist and critic, Azuka Jebose, invoked history in a Facebook post in which he noted that it was immoral for Fiberesima to launch a political career while she had yet to wash her hands clean of crime. Jebose told her she owed Nigerians an apology.
He recalled how the accident occurred when the physician, alongside a brother of his (doctor), was going to visit a family member. Fiberesima, who was alleged to have been drunk, had lost control of her SUV, forcefully flipped;, crashed across the median of the road, to face south.
“The impact of her speed went through the slab that divided the road. She collided with Dr. Giwa who was travelling south. The impact of the collision instantly killed him and seriously injured his younger brother. The impact attracted passers-by and residents who quickly gathered to offer rescue. The vehicles began to steam smoke as Ms. Ibinabo slowly crawled out from the mangled driver side of her vehicle, then staggered to the passenger side, opened her glove compartment and removed her vehicle registration before she fled the scene.”
While a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, with Fiberesima having been found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to five years imprisonment, which she appealed now to the level of the Supreme Court, Jebose insisted that the actress’s aspiration was questionable. Particularly, he noted, she has allegedly turned down the demand for an apology by the family of the deceased.
He added, “If we allow Ms. Fiberesima to run and win, we have endorsed her way to national political prominence. What would we tell the children of Dr. Giwa? That it’s acceptable for their father to die in a horrible way and the killer become a celebrated politician? The High Court found her guilty and sentenced her to five years jail in 2016. An appeal to the Supreme Court does not justify her freedom. She should be in jail while awaiting the Supreme Courts decision, not printing political posters to announce her candidacy, mocking us that she stands for justice, equity and service.”
While some commentators still continued to join Jebose to battle Fiberesima, the story gained a twist when he announced on the same platform that the woman had stated her own side of the case, passionately pleading that she was not guilty.
He noted, “Ibinabo Fiberesima, in a tear- jerking explosive one-on-one this morning, tells all about the fatal accident, drunk driving and finding peace.
She was quoted as saying, “Azuka, I am very sorry Dr Suraj Giwa died in that accident. Please, Nigeria, forgive me. I am suffering. I have contemplated suicide several times. Azuka, I am not a killer. The accident was not intentional. I have gone into deep depression and didn’t care about living since it happened. I am not a murderer. And I was not drunk when the unfortunate accident happened…”