Early this week, the secretariat of the CRS chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was in the news for the wrong reasons as an improvised explosive went off, causing verifiable damage to a section of the building. Within the week too, front line politician and former National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Venatius Ikem, escaped death by the whiskers in an attack he claims was carried out by men driving in a jeep belonging to a serving senator, Ben Ayade. It was the same day too that people suspected to be thugs attempted to set the Calabar South secretariat of the PDP on fire.
Amazingly, yesterday in Obudu, North of Cross River State, in an operation conducted in broad daylight, men of the underworld stormed the Zenith Bank branch in the town, carting away an undisclosed sum of money and leaving in the wake of that operation, questions and questions. We are duty bound to first regret the unfortunate circumstances surrounding these events and go a step further to draw the attention of well-meaning Cross Riverians to a few things we consider critical.
First, it is not in doubt that the first three incidents are politically related while the third is a pointer to the impetus a lawless society hands criminal elements. Painfully, political violence in our society has been driven by political competition among those who masquerade as leaders in our society. The idea is often to intimidate opponents and cow them into submission, opening the doors to specified terms in office, used to do nothing for the common man on the street. It is even worse that most of those behind this violence generally enjoy complete impunity because of the powers of intimidation they wield and the tacit acceptance of their conduct by police and government officials, which should not be so.
Again, we are worried that bands of youths, across the length and breadth of the state are presently being recruited and armed by politicians who have no articulate programme(s) for the youth once elections are over. Long after the elections are gone and done with, the bands and the arms combine to leave us all with the esoteric groups that unleash mayhem on law-abiding citizens of the state.
We tow the line of the argument being advanced by well-meaning Cross Riverians that the one marketable virtue we lay claim to – Peace, is about to be taken away by the shameful actions of our individualistic political class committed to the Machiavellian type of politics which seeks to dominate territories, the people and their resources. It is the one reason why political gymnastics seem to preoccupy our leaders, over and above the welfare of the people or how else do you refer to a situation where government has been unable to pay salaries for two months now?
Let us warn, Cross River State cannot lay claim to being a tourist haven if bombs, guns and bitter politics occupy the front burner. Those who should effortlessly be attracted to the tourist sites in the state will beat a compelling retreat once it is certain that our actions cannot guarantee their safety. Indeed our economy which is already crawling will be the worse for it and all of the investment in tourism over the years will only yield groundnut benefits for the state.
While our youths seem not to have learnt, it must be sounded out to them that those politicians who would rather arm them with guns instead of provide financial support for educational or business purposes mean them no good. These are the politicians who will in later days refer to them as cultists or arrange with the establishment to have them arraigned before phantom law courts on trumped up charges when hunger induced financial demands are made.
Tomorrow’s Cross River State is before us now, if we tenaciously work on building her foundations negatively, we sure have no assured future.
This Editorial is the position of www.calitown.com on the issue addressed.
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