“Kaakaki” is a Hausa word for trumpet. On Raymond Dokpesi’s African Independent Television, AIT, Kaakaki is a six segment news and current affairs programme, transmitted from 6-9am on week days. The programme is very popular among the politically conscious, the general interest minded and even those whose news and views preferences cannot be identified. High profile Nigerians have severally appeared on the programme, making clear their positions on a broad range of issues as they affect them or as they affect our nation.
For a greater part of the week ended, Kaakaki was the stage taken to by members of the ruling People’s Democratic Party in Cross River State, as the seething controversy that is the outcome of the delegate election held in the early part of this month, continues. The two diametrically opposed groups, in CR PDP’s one “family”, went to great heights to prove each other wrong. The positions advanced, will appear right or wrong as well as right and wrong, depending of course on were individual sympathies lie; that is not our preoccupation.
Let us say, like it is generally agreed that the dispute within the CR PDP is embedded in a network of failed individual political relationships. The expression of that failure began with the suppression of political spaces of contestation as seen in the last LG polls before moving on to the placing of limits for political debate and association.While it may be plausible to hold on to the view that democracy recognises the value of disagreement, we consider more, the implications of the current impasse on the lives of the average Cross Riverians.
Whereas our transient submission that CR is no more a civil service state, stands as nothing but a puff on the shirt, we are aware that the non-payment of last month’s salaries to civil servants in the state, several days into the new month, is not unconnected with the absence of key administrative figures believed to have relocated to Abuja. For the little above 22, 000 civil servants in CR, with a wage bill running into billions of naira, the non-payment of their salaries simply means that a huge amount of money that should ordinarily oil the domestic economy is unavailable. The beehive routine that has ‘moved’ key administrative officers to Abuja should not take staff salaries along, it is a lot of pennies, painfully earned.
Because our peaceful nature has a docile embossment, the collegial air which should discourage intimidation in political competition is nowhere to be found and no one is asking. We are of the strong opinion that this tragic filament in our politics must be shown the way out because letting it continue will be a dangerous gamble.
Our search for an appropriate response to this political disagreement has not been truthful; double speak continues to stoke the burning fire. Let those at the centre of this storm, consider more the interests of the man in places like Nsofang, Bayalele, Ibil, Umon Island; where government and governance are a long distance call. Finally, we must advice that all parties concerned in this disagreement must understand that without the experience of disagreement, political communication among citizens loses value and meaning.
Painfully, while all of this was on AIT, it was paid for in healthy figures.
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