23-year old Miss Regina Ledum Barizaasi, from Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State was sacked by her employer for participating in 2 million man march for the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, which held held in Port Harcourt, on Saturday, August 27, 2022.
Regina, who is a 100 level student, Accounting Department at the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Port Harcourt, spoke with GIFT EREBAH in an exclusive interview. Here, she explained why she was sacked, how she almost relocated to the village, her background and life experiences, how she was offered a job and scholarship by OPM General Overseer, Apostle Gift Chibuzor Chinyere, among others.
Please let’s meet you.
My name is Miss Regina Ledum Barizaasi. I am from Rivers State, Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, Lorre community.
You were sacked from your former place of work, allegedly because you went for Peter Obi’s rally, tell us what really happened?
It was actually in a hotel and I was working there as a receptionist, the nature of my job was, if I work a day, I go off the following day. So on that very Saturday, it was actually my off day, so I went out for the rally though I printed out a cloth and I went out for the rally, came back, I made some videos, took some pictures and all that. So when I came back, I posted them on my status, on my face book page which my boss happened to watch the stuff. I came back to work on Monday and I did my work normal. After everything and it was time for me to do the account, I did my account, he was like, I should take my salary for the month, so I collected it and the next thing was, when am I supposed to go off? I told him and he said, as you are going off, don’t come back again. I was like, sir what happened? He didn’t say anything at first. I started begging that it has not gotten to that, that he knows I just got admission and this job is my only way to still go to the school or if I’m to stop or continue is that job; so it was at that very point, he now said, ah! I thought you have done politics, the rally you went for, didn’t they pay you? I was like, No, that I was not paid, nobody was paid. He said no problem, since you said you are ObIdient, you can go meet them to give you a job or money for your school . I had to immediately call the elder brother of my boss to help me to talk to him. So he said I should not worry that he would call him. So after about 30minutes, I called again and he was like he has called but his response is not positive, that let’s see how it goes and all that so I had to go back to my boss again but he said at this point, I have to go that the rally I went for, I’m supposed to ask them for money and not just go for a rally and that was just it.
So you are saying you went on the rally while you were off from work, yeah?
Yes, I was off from work.
Off for how many days?
It was supposed to be three days off. Me and my mate do alternate. If I work three days, she would work three days. Sometimes if I do two days, she would do two days, so that day was two days which was Saturday and Sunday.
What was the first thing that came to your mind when you got sacked?
The first thing was, I am going to go back home and stay with my people because at that point, what I was having in my account was N2000 and my sister and my rent. So, at that very point, I don’t think I can meet up again that at this very point, I just have to go home and stay with them. And that point, I was not even thinking about the school stuff again, I was like, ah, school? I can just leave the school, even feeding sef is going to be a problem, so let me just forget about everything and then just go home first. So that was what came to mind that very moment.
Do you really think that it was actually because you went on the rally that made your former boss sack you?
That was his reason, according to him.
We gathered that the Apostle Chibuzor didn’t just give you a new job, he also gave you a scholarship, is that true?
Yes, it’s true.
What if Apostle Chibuzor didn’t give you a job, what would you have done?
Just going home. Yes, because getting any opportunity in Port Harcourt is very difficult. I’ve been in a scenario like that before where I have submitted CVs here and there, no calls, no nothing.
How did you get your former job, and how much were you paid at your former place of work?
It was actually from an agent and I was paid N20,000
Please tell us a little about your background.
Life has not been easy. I come from a family of seven, five children with my mum and Dad and I happen to be the first, the first child and the first daughter too. My dad is a graduate but ever since this Wike tenure, Wike dropped him, he was among the 13,000 teachers that were dropped that Amaechi employed that were dropped by Wike. So since then, he has been home. They only do farming work, so me being in Port Harcourt and me getting an admission and everything is just on me and my siblings too and my immediate younger sister just finished WAEC. She came to port Harcourt and she has not even gotten a job.
How old are you?
I am 23 now, this year makes me 23.
Working and schooling must be stressful, how do you cope?
Like I said, I just got the admission. Like the day I went for the screening, I had to tell my second to work for me so it has not been an easy one, becauseit is accounting, calculation course. Sometimes I do work four days in a week except my second agrees to just cover me up for one or two days, if not there would be no school for me during the four days working so it hasn’t been easy coping with school and work, it’s been draining. Then coming to the finance side of it, most days, I don’t go because I don’t have the transport; so I end up staying back.
What’s the most challenging moment you’ve ever experienced?
That was when I first got the admission. The day I was supposed to go to school, there was no transport and then they were owing me and I was going to do some clearance in school so at that point that day, I wanted to give up on the school stuff, let me just forget about it for now, till maybe when I have saved up enough, then I will go back.
Considering all that has happened, are you grateful your former boss sacked you or not?
Well at that very time, I wasn’t, but presently I am grateful.
So how did you do it, how did the news get to Apostle Chibuzor that made him offer you such?
That period I was having things going through my head and I said, let me just put up a write up on social media, any of the platforms. I’m actually on twitter, and as at then I was having just three followers and I just put up a write up, some people started re – tweeting, it was a lot of bashing, different things coming up, that I am scammer, that I am looking for who to scam, so I now reached out to one of this popular comedian, MC Koboko. So, I tried to reach out to him on messenger but he didn’t respond but I think there is a way they did the settings and a message just popped up and was like if I want to place an advert or something that I should reach him on so so number via WhatsApp. So I had to copy the number, sent him a message on WhatsApp, he didn’t reply so at that very point, I now said let me just call him and see if he is going to pick up, I called him, he now picked, I was like, I don’t know if I can get a job that I’ve been sacked and that I don’t have any hope and that I really need a job and I just called him like that, that I needed a job. He then asked, what happened? So I explained what happened to him. He was like okay, can you do a one minute video to say what you want? I said okay.
So that came about the video that went viral?
Yes, that came about the video. MC Koboko was the one that asked me if I can make the video to say what I want, that he is going to put me out there, that if anybody has job for me, they are going to reach out to me.
How much are you paid in your new job, and how is it going?
It is supposed to be N40,000 but considering my location that is very far, I stay at Woji, from my house to the place, everyday, I am going to be paying a N1,200 for transport so that is the major problem I am having right now.
How do you feel about everything now?
Hmmm. I am okay. I am fine. I am grateful. I know for now, I am just trying to get used to it yeah, is about printing of their programmes and all that. It’s the printing press department. I am just trying to get used to the job and the environment and all that.
What do you have to say to people out there?
To Apostle Chibuzor, I am super excited. I am grateful because at this point in time, I don’t know how to say thank you. I don’t think I have anything in return for the help and everything but it is just thank you. I am so excited. I appreciate him a lot, and to MC Koboko, I don’t know but he is my saving grace at this very point because if not for the video, I don’t know what would have happened. So, I am super excited to him, I have nothing to give to him too, than to just say thank you.
Then to Obidient family, the Peter Obi supporters, the Labour Party. Labour Party actually reached out to me too and they offered me a job to work in one of their secretariats in Port Harcourt to work as a receptionist but since this one came up already I just had to go with this very one. So I also want to say a very big thank you to Labour party, to Obidient family, to Peter Obi supporters and all good Nigerians out there because a lot of Obidient family actually reached out to me; a lot of them. They called me, they tried. So I just want to say thank you to all of them, I appreciate everything.