*There Comes A Time When Silence Is Betrayal – Martin Luther King Jr.*
Have we all, in the deepest recess of our hearts, asked ourselves why political leaders across party lines in our State are silent about developments in the State?
It is not as if I know myself. I am equally thinking aloud about it and I think we should think it out together.
The APC nearly and may still get a national chairman from Cross River state in the person of our former governor Chief Clement Ebri. The party also has a line up of other leaders like former Senate Leader and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, Senator John Owan Enoh, former Minister Usani Usani, Minister of State for Power, Prince Jedy Agba, NPA Chairman, Chief Akin Rickets, Chief Hilliard Eta, Mary Ekpere Esq. etc all from our state.
The principal job of opposition is to profer alternatives to the policies of the ruling government and take actions that can instigate reform. This can not be by ‘silent diplomacy’. But even with all the experience of these big opposition politicians in our State, at no time are they keen about intervening, whether in support or against developments in our State, publicly. Not individually, not collectively.
In the PDP, we are told that the governor is at war with all the National Assembly members from the State except one. Their supporters are online fighting proxy wars for their masters yet, their masters remain in cold silence over fast pacing events in the state.
We even have other leaders of thought in the State who are either apolitical or have taken a back seat from politics. They are also silent. Is that what happens in other states? Is that the character of democratic opposition in theory or practice?
There are issues of concern to the Cross River public regarding COVID 19 response, LG funds, LG elections, kidnappings for ransom, robberies, gang wars among others, bedevilling the state, but rarely does even leaders of the opposition say a word as well as the members of the ruling party who are allegedly at war with the governor. Yet most of them complain and speak in hush tones about their misgivings and send their foot soldiers to ventriloquise for them.
For the benefit of doubt, *Hon. Legor Idagbo*, for instance, has remained steadfast with the governor and openly supports all his actions in the run up to this time. He does that by physically identifying with the governor in some of his events and also sending out press releases and writing his position on his social media handle. His position may not be agreeable, but as a leader, we know that he openly stands with the governor.
*Hon. Jarigbe Agom* has also openly taken a decided stand against the governor over the politics of northern Cross River and has refused to talk about it in hush tones. He is openly taking a stand and taking actions that are clearly telling his constituents where he stands. His position may also not be agreeable but as a leader, we also know where he stands.
As a leader, it is important that your followers know your position on issues of public concern. No one is calling on any leader to criticize the governor of our state or to come and help the younger generation fix the State, but it is part of leadership accountability to always make public where you stand when issues come up. There is no middle ground.
All that talk about silent diplomacy and talking under ground is one of the biggest deceit in the arena. If you are silent in times of crises, you are standing with the oppressor. Silence in times of public anxiety is complicit and we must make this clear to our leaders.
For those of you fighting proxy wars, encourage your benefactors to speak out; For or against. They should not remain silent. We need to hear from them directly through whatever means they prefer on where they stand when issues come up. Even if they don’t want to come and meet us ‘small children’ on social media, let them speak clearly enough and send you with the message. But we must insist that all of them, unless the ones that are sick, should have a position on issues of public concern in our State. That is part of what makes them leaders. Not otherwise.
And you! Stop fighting proxy wars for these politicians. They are all in sync. It is class consciousness. They talk and laugh at us when they like. That is possibly why they can’t speak in public for or against themselves. They know when they talk.
Let us start talking to ourselves too.
*Citizen Agba Jalingo.*