First published in April 2016 on www.calitown.com, this article written by IWARA IWARA, x-rayed the Ben Ayade vs. Vena Ikem political feud, bringing to light painful truths in an unbiased essay.
There often will be very little innocence in the fistful desire of two fighting brothers; one strong, the other stronger. Amazingly, the strength they flaunt is not like scriptural Samson’s, but strength conceieved and soaked in the murky waters of politics where only atrocious advantages are held up in the end.
I think too that there is considerable dishonesty in this fight because these two brothers imagine that we will believe them if one insists that a second class (lower division) university certificate is an inferior piece of paper or like the other brother did, calling his brother, with veiled specificity, an SUV thief. Indeed, they gain no advantage because the personal things they have told us about each other, only go to insult our morbid silence, brought upon us by the loud rumblings of our empty stomachs.
But come to think of it, if Ben Ayade thinks he can lead a people who dare not question his actions or inactions, then he slumbers while he walks. If too, Vena Ikem thinks only an endless throw of punches can win a fighter a fight, fatigue will undo him, to a great extent. It is the reality of this unfortunate situation.
Again, Ikem’s stinging pen, though painful at times, comes with a narrative relating personal experiences that can be transposed to the approaching difficult periods and time that will be the Ayade governorship. There are some of us who may want to eliminate his point of view and walk instead with the deception of several characters ruthlessly lined out and giving coarse advice to His Excellency; we fete the vultures with our flesh if we do this.
Ayade’s struggle for a right to define himself, like they say, must encourage a constant process of negotiations with diverse Cross Riverians, even if this be troubled and mercilessly battered. The attempt to demonise whoever disagrees with him will leave his actions, especially the good ones, enfolded within a hermetic dress. He was not elected to govern within and from a closet and cannot be governor of some; he ideally is governor of all of Cross River State.
Governance I hear is an intriguing and complicated affair, because every other person not elected, ‘knows’ the job more than the man or woman who stood for and ‘won’ an election. While our cheerful appearance and charming attitudes as Cross Riverians persist, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are at ease with the convoys, the dulling, the hunger and inability to like they say on the streets, “chop life”.
We hear promises of rice to be planted into a city, a highway with a ‘super’ addendum, even promises of 24 hours light, among others and we as a people dare to believe. We cannot begin to doubt the promises, as a hobby; we must give our governor a chance to do the imagined, to interprete his dreams and take us to whatever promised land he has in his head. If however he fails to deliver, then we have the podium from where to shout ourselves hoarse and tell him courteously, ” please Ayade,leave”. Until we have given him the benefit of doubt, we cannot take our mandate away…to someone else with Jacob Esuene’s disposition, Donald Duke’s vision and Liyel Imoke’s mien.
Those who have 2019 Peregrino House eyes set, may have to pray that Gov. Ayade will refuse to listen to wise counsel and carry on like a know it all…but sincerely, things are changing and the governor is beginning to see that bureaucracy and the order of things remain deeply rooted in governance. What he has been used to is the audacity of private business practice.
If Ayade is encouraged to hunt down Ikem, it will be an exercise that will claw marks into his political curriculum vitae and this is not the way to go. What Ikem represents is the other side of the coin and we better know that he dances not alone. He is relevant, even a necessary political boil that can only be carefully cauterised. I have met and interviewed him several times and he doesn’t come across as someone who is afraid to say his mind, even if we refuse to hear him.
I may not have interacted or interviewed Ayade in the course of my work but his body language shows he is beginning to mean business. I recall that his take off was extremely bumpy and annoying but we can only pray for him like we should pray for all those who lead…it is the way to go. If evil men and women try to surround him, our prayers will free him and he will see clearly that what the average Cross Riverian needs is purposeful leadership that guarantees bread on the table and not a world wrestling champion, cheered on by a crowd which gets kicks from seeing the fighter writhe in pain.
Ayade and Ikem have since reconciled and are working together, HOPEFULLY.
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