Dear First Baba Isa, is this your real name or are you a ghost ? Just to be sure, perhaps privately you could send me a photocopy of your national ID or your driver’s license, so I know I am not dealing with a fictitious person or a ghost. With the internet the potential for scams is enormous. This kind of name sounds like a name used to perpetrate internet scams. You say you are a legal practitioner; if I go to the supreme court, will I see your name in the register ? I am really sorry if this is your real name but seriously it sounds so fake.
A staff of mine forwarded your rejoinder to me yesterday. At first I thought I should ignore it but on second thought, I just want to set the facts straight. Firstly I am surprised that you would be surprised that a priest would be present at a community festival. Is every community festival supposed to be evil and satanic, obscene and immoral , which would then scandalise the presence of a priest? For your information, the Akachak Festival in Oban Town is a new year celebration without any satanic inclination, which brings natives and friends together.
Secondly I am surprised at your conclusion that a sitting governor attending a public function with a retinue of officials of state, did so in his private capacity ! Haba Baba Isa! What kind of reasoning is that ? And because of your wrong argument, much else of what you said was wrong.
I wonder why you would think that Gov Ayade as successor to Liyel Imoke had nothing to do with the actions of his predecessor , when Liyel’s presence and pronouncements were official, and there is continuity in government. Are you one of those who think there is no continuity in government?
What is your understanding of influence? Does it equate to being a godfather? If Liyel Imoke were to call Ayade for instance and say ‘Remember I made so so and so pledge in your presence and forgot to fulfil it, could you go ahead to do it?’ Would that be godfatherism?
Unfortunately you are not privy to the full length article I sent to the Guardian which they edited to what was published; in the original write up I made it clear I wasn’t one that supports government donating money in functions, although this is better than the characteristic embezzlements found in governments. Even then what is the corruption in a governor attending a function and making a donation? Don’t governments budget for donations and charity? Seriously evaluate the way you jump to your conclusions.
I am also surprised that even when I wrote that ‘Perhaps we should have educated ourselves more….’ you still wrote in the present tense as if I was still ignorant. For your information I am quite attuned with the way governments work. Of course I head an agency and sometimes I make commitments on behalf of the agency. In our own case, I set the machinery in motion to fulfil the commitment. I thought it was same with government. I didn’t know that someone with so many PAs and SAs and DGs and SSAs would not be able to take action on a simple commitment and take it to conclusion. You yourself acknowledged that a letter wasn’t even necessary for Liyel to fulfil the pledge! So I wonder whether you were just out to insult me. And by the way, as I came to understand later, a letter was written to Liyel Imoke and several reminders made verbally, about the pledge he made, according to the Cross River State PDP chair, and as confirmed by the author of the book. I am surprised too that you missed the whole point about accountability of public officials which I am making. Accountability is not just about figures but a consciousness that it is the people that are sovereign. Public officials must be restrained in the way they throw themselves about, and when they make pronouncements, they should not break the trust of the people by just flipping over and going on as if nothing happened. A word that comes from the mouth of a governor should be taken seriously. How can a governor go to where the whole community is gathered and deceive them and walk away ? Is governance 419 ?
Of course Gov. Ayade is doing well by paying the salary entitlement of civil servants. This is good and commendable, especially in the light of the fact that many states are not able to fulfil this simple obligation. What is the percentage of civil servants against the population of the state? I am only saying the government can do more to touch everyone, even those outside her employ. I spent Christmas in Calabar. At least we can bring Calabar back to the Donald Duke reputation of the cleanest state capital.
What is selfish about anyone desiring a road to be repaired so that he could drive on it ? Have our roads stopped being public infrastructure? If anyone desires that the road to Ogoja be repaired or the road to Oban-Ekang be repaired, does that allude to selfishness ? That someone desires the Ogoja road to be repaired does it mean he will drive on it alone ? Na wao.
Kindly understand dear First Baba Isa, (if this is the name of a real flesh and blood human being), that I want Gov. Ayade to succeed and that I am not in any way linked to any ‘opposition’ politician. Whatever feedbacks I got during my time in the state during the Christmas season, I got them unsolicited, as part of conversation, with ordinary citizens. I was quite kind to your master, our governor, Prof. Benedict Ayade in my write up, extolling positive attributes I see he has. It is not my place to condemn people nor flatter them. I don’t attack persons. I can only advise, just as I am open to advice. Even God accepted the supplication of Moses and changed his mind from destroying the Israelites. Are you saying that your master, our governor is above advise ? No one knows it all. There is always a learning process in every new office. It was Alvin Toffler who said “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn…” And again that “To survive, to avert what we have termed future shock, the individual must become infinitely more adaptable and capable than before.”
Cross River State is not a new creation. I am sure there is even a strategic plan in place; I remember we in the civil society joined hands with government to produce the SEEDS document. I guess the governor may already have read these documents ? Also the recently launched sustainable development goals and their targets are an excellent tool. I hear he has set up a board for the SDGs which is quite innovative and I hope those in the board understand that the SDGs are a framework of action which could assist government in its actionable policies to eliminate poverty. He should try and set an agenda that is based on a blueprint so that we all know where he is going.
There is a personal reason I also want Ayade to succeed but I won’t say it. As for the issue of ‘Atam’, I don’t need to bring any names. If First Baba Isa truly lives in Abuja, whenever you visit home, because you cannot fool me that you are not a Cross Riverian, you yourself will find more derogatory names which our governor is called on the streets. Of course I don’t support this kind of name calling. I admire the fact that Gov Ayade is never distracted by these criticisms. When as a leader you know where you are going it may not matter who is not following. In a democracy though, the vision is not one man’s, it is collective, and the more it is communicated, the more it is owned. He should remain focused and do his job well.
People like you, First Baba Isa, make it difficult for honest citizens to come forward and give their opinion because you come out with all kinds of argumentum ad hominem and reductio ad absurdum. From now on, no matter what you write, I will not answer you. I guess you are just doing your job. I am yet to be convinced that people like you really love the state, because you read evil motives into every genuine intention. Before Prof. Benedict Ayade became governor I had no business with him, not even when he was senator of the Northern Senatorial District, because I had my own senator. But now that he is governor of the whole state, I have business with him. Even if you are a ghost and you abuse me every second, if I have something to commend, I would, and if I have something to advise, I would. But please note that I have nothing personal against your master, our governor. Be very blessed, whoever and whatever you are.
By Fr. Evaristus Bassey
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