Ayade and the Fury of Nay Sayers By Etim Bassey


In this clime, election time is boom time for hired guns, political mercenaries and hack writers. 2019, Nigeria’s next election year, is at the door and Cross River State is already on the throes of the characters mentioned above.

The likes of Venatus Ikem and Philemon Ogbeche who recently authoured a sickening misinformation on Ayade are pathetic footnotes.

They are on the prowl and their prime target is Governor Ben Ayade. On their lips as a refrain is the fatally flawed narrative of how undeserving Ayade is for a second term in office. And to think that this is a governor who enjoys massive support among the broad spectrum of ordinary Cross Riverians on account of his verifiable people oriented projects spread across the state beats the imagination.

It is only in the realm of the blind that Governor Ayade is a non performer. The people of Cross River do not share this warped and myopic sentiment.

Of course, if those whose Ayade’s sure second term in office causes incurable nightmare are blind to his unfailing committement in paying workers salaries before month end, workers of Cross River State civil service are not. It is on the account of his prompt payment of workers salaries that the workers themselves have nicknamed him “Salary Master,” and openly endorsed him for a second term in office. The workers are Ayade’s number one fans and do not tolerate any idle tale of non performance.

No amount of lies, coloured and veiled insults directed at Ayade will erase this.

Also, if the clan of the clueless opposition in Cross River who in any case is in the pitiable minority suffer from selective amnesia, the people of Cross River do not.They see Ayade’s projects and are ecstatic because they know their governor is focused on re-engineering their beloved state .

Of course, they know that the Calabar Rice Seeds and Seedlings Factory, the Cross River Garment Factory, the Cross River Pharmaceutical Factory, the Ogoja ultra modern ricr mill and the cocoa processing plant in Ikom- all initiatives of Ayade- are geared towards changing the economic narrative of Cross River.

Unlike the political hirelings, the people of Cross River clearly see Ayade’s unmatchable intervention in road infrastructure across the state, including the Boki East-West road. They are equally not unaware of the unprecendented re-invention of Cross River’s health and education sectors by Ayade just within three years in office.

For sure, these hatchet men are what the Igbos call “otimkpu” or less dangerous masquerades who act as cheer leaders to big and much more dangerous masquerades and whose praise singing heralds the appearance of the big masquerades.

A Yoruba adage cautions that if you are sent on an errand as a slave, you should not deliver the message as a slave but as a free born. So, that these hired guns and political mercenaries have elected to deliver their shallow and uninspiring  message as slaves ruffles nobody’s feathers.

Upper most on the minds of Cross River people right now is the return of their governor in 2019 to continue his re- creation of the state.

They have made up their minds on this and are therefore, immune from deliberate, wicked, partisan and pernicious propaganda.

It is laughable yet tragic that a writer, for the sake of satisfying a narrow and skewed partisan interest would descend low, and into banality to conclusively credit an educated and urbane personality as Governor Ayade with primitive supernatural powers- an ability to hold about four million cross Riverians spellbound “by the virtue of his famed Obudu black pot inherited from his late mother” !This was exactly how Philemon Ogbeche put it in his recent highly jaundiced piece.

Though 21st century has left Ogbeche and people like him behind, one can not but agree with him that the over  4 million people of Cross River State are indeed held spellbound  by governor Ayade but with purposeful leadership and good governance.

It is pertinent to remind Philemon that no diabolical juju, the type his mind’s creation can hold over 4 million people spellbound.

It is doubtful if he recognizes libel when he sees one,  otherwise Philemon, I am sure, he would not have toyed with libel in his piece. In any case, it is up to the media houses  and individuals concerned to decide his fate.This is not therefore holding brief for Editors of the Nation, Vanguard and ThisDay newspapers but it behoves on Philemon to come to the table with verifiable, incontrovertible evidence  of the “August gifts”  by Ayade to the editors which he talked about in his diatribe.

Evidently, the locale of Philemon and his conclave of Ayade traducers’ angst against  the editors and newspaper houses lies in their decision not to debase the tenets of journalism by  baking half truths and outright lies against governor Ayade’s administration as peddled by people like Philemon.

The feeble opposition in Cross River is not only confused but clueless. It is therefore, no surprise that they make sweeping condemnation of Ayade, not even crediting him with any single achievement when evidence on the ground says otherwise.

It is equally ridiculous that the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to commission the Calabar Rice Seedlings Factory is the trigger of the current media assult on Ayade.

Perhaps, they had hoped the President would shun Ayade and spurn the invitation. Had this happened, they would have gleefuly rolled out the drums to celebrate Buhari’s refusal to commision the project. But that President Buhari not only came but heaped effusive praises on the governor for his superlative achievements is now a source of high blood pressure to them.

However, let it be made clear here that latching onto the mundane, inanities, bareface lies and propaganda to hurled at Ayade will not sway Cross River people from their resolve to return their performing governor to office in 2019. So, the frustrated few who sit on rooftops to trumpet anti second term lyrics should be prepared for worse nightmares and devastating high blood pressure!

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