by on February 28, 2016

Benedict Ayade. Jeddy Agba. Venatius Ikem. These three men need no introductions in Nigeria as a whole and in Cross River State in particular. But if you don’t know them, ask google.

During the campaigns for the gubernatorial seat of Cross River State, Vena was clearly the spearhead for Jeddy Agba. I was also an ardent supporter of Jeddy Agba. I still believe that man would have been the best governor for Cross River State. I wrote several articles in support of his candidature. I debated my friends to a standstill. I spoke to several youth groups, rallying support for Jeddy. For me, it was either we get Jeddy as governor or we will be making a huge mistake.

I use to have his phone number. The first time I sent him a text, he replied and then called me back. When I met the man in his Abuja office, he simply blew me away. He has a presidential intelligence couple with bristling energy that exude a sense of urgency. When you hear him marshal his ideas you will know he knows what he is talking about. He treated me and everyone around him with so much respect and with an executive detachment that instilled awe.

After my meeting with Jeddy Agba my belief in him soared. I kept writing. I kept talking to my support base. And then the political shenanigans, bargain and transactions began. Just when we thought we were winning we starting losing. The long and short of it is that Senator Ben Ayade became the PDP candidate for the 2015 gubernatorial elections in Cross River State.

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Blames were allocated and reallocated. Personally I thought our General will fight on. I wanted him to decamp to another party and fight on. I believed Ayade was not his match. But Jeddy did nothing. He bargained our support away and enter into compromises that I still cannot comprehend. Jeddy broke my heart.

I wondered (still wondering) whether Jeddy knew that by refusing to contest he was denying us a competent governor from the north. Did he know he was denying us his wealth of experience and connections? Jeddy broke my heart.

Ayade, Vena and Jeddy are all from Obudu. So I tried rationalizing his actions. Maybe he is abandoning his dreams to support his brother Ayade to become governor. I tried understanding with Jeddy but my heart remain unbroken.

After the elections Governor Ayade, Jeddy and Vena tried showing us how united they have become with occasional flashes of pictures online showing them sitting together and grinning ear to ear. I was unimpressed. No one even had the courtesy to explain to the teeming Jeddy supporters why our General abandoned us. Is like we didn’t matter. Well, elections are over, we now have a governor and our leader has shown us the way to go by his actions: support my brother, Ayade.

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I choose to silently follow the political path that Jeddy has shown by his actions. The truth is the man broke my heart but I kept on loving him even with the pieces of my broken heart. Then all of a sudden… ok, maybe it wasn’t really all of a sudden, maybe I wasn’t just paying attention… all of a sudden, to me, Jeddy, Vena, Paul Adah and other high voltage politicians in Cross River State decamped to APC.

I was jolted out of my political siesta. I don’t get it. I thought Jeddy abandoned us and his guber dream because he wanted to support his brother. Why is he withdrawing his support just barely 8 months into his brother’s tenure as governor? Can we trust Jeddy not to abandon us again? Can we? Now that we have a governor from the north, should we support him as Jeddy once taught us to do or move with Jeddy for interest we cannot even yet decipher?

These are questions that everyone must answer for himself. Everyone must do his own believing just like everyone must do his own dying. Then came the madness. They have been an intense fight between the Governor’s camp and especially the decampees from the Obudu axis. This naked dance of brothers is shameful. They are dancing naked on the streets right before the alarmed eyes of children.

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This must stop. Politics is an everlasting journey of negotiations and renegotiations. Everyone has the right to choose who to support. I was shocked the Obudu politicians withdrew their support from their brother at this time but that is their right to exercise. The governor is clearly being tempted to set a fire that might consume him and many others. I say this because as governor and father of the state he will always have much more to lose.

Why are cases of attempted murder and theft coming up against Vena now? Because he decamped? I think this is what any reasonable man will conclude. It is wrong to push a man to a point where the only option left for him is to fight back. Let the governor’s camp change its strategy.

Let everyone focus on winning hearts not breaking souls.

First Baba Isa (FBI) is a Legal Practitioner and writes from Abuja






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