BY Agba Jalingo
Indeed, I will not allow my voice to be drowned by that sanctimonous claim that Wike in that his recent video reaction, is leading an assault on Cross River State and our governor. It is those who are urging other full grown adults not to express how they feel about Wike’s reaction to Governor Ayade’s earlier outburst that should actually be ashamed of themselves.
When aides and Governor Ayade himself were throwing direct jabs and veiled diatribes at Wike on TV, were they actually expecting that the Rivers State governor will keep mute?
You don’t call someone out for an open fight, the person accepts your challenge and calls you out also, then some self appointed defenders of Cross River state are on the prawl warning Wike to steer clear of Cross River as if our State is not part of Nigeria. Is there anything that legally preclude Wike from commenting on developments in Cross River? Did any law say that if you are a governor of another State, you cannot comment on the State of affairs in another?
It is true that Wike is seeking to interfere in the politics of Cross River State but in the end, it is the people of Cross River that will determine their governor come 2023, not Wike. We have had governors in Cross River before Ayade and every succession was a tough battle for the incumbents with external interference, but in the end, it was always Cross Riverians that went to the polls to decide their leader. This time will also not be different. I think the Wike-phobia is exxaggerated.
As for what Wike said, was he even wrong?
He said, “I am not a 419 governor.” Implying that Ayade that he was referring to is a “419” governor. In Nigeria, 419 is obtaining something under false pretence.
Has governor Ayade not been collecting lands up and down in the State under the false pretence of building this and that?
Has he not made numerous promises and failed Cross Riverians?
Have youths in Calabar not protested to his office singing “Ayade is a scaaam?
Was it Wike that sent them?
Has he not pretended to cry on TV and the things he cries about never change afterwards?
Wike also said, he disclosed Rivers state’s share of the money FG refunded to the State for the construction of federal roads in the State and wondered if Ayade did same. Is Wike lying? Has Ayade disclosed to Cross Riverians how much was refunded to Cross River State and what it has been used for or will be used for?
Wike talked about Ayade selling our forest reserves as timber. Is that a lie? Our forest, the largest rain forest in West Africa, is ferociously depleted by criminal timber cartels who daily carry truck loads of illegal timber for sale with the active connivance of State government and security officials. The governor has appointed numerous SAs and PAs on Forestry, who have no other job specification than to depend on illegal logging for survival. Till today, we have no knowledge of what happened to the timber that was harvested from the portion of the Super Highway that was cleared before the project was abandoned.
Wike also mentioned the scandalous budgets that our governor has signed in the past five years. No matter the professorial grammar you want to use, it was never going to be possible for a State that earns barely N50billion as allocation to meet an annual budget of over a trillion Naira. Those highfalutin figures were not only unrealistic, they were actually hallucinatory and the governor has abandoned that path himself. So what is the lie that Wike told?
Those urging us to go up in arms against Wike for insulting our State, what exactly did he say that is a lie or are you just angry with the manner he said it?
Since #TeamAyade had already dared Wike and vowed that they were ready for a fight, they should go right into the ring and respond to Wike, allegation for allegation and stop whining. Wike did not abuse or insult Ayade or Cross River, he raised salient issues that demand answers. That is what I want to hear. Not anyone telling me, an adult, how to react to what Wike said.
In a State where most of the citizenry is cowed by fear and stomach infrastructure, where the political class have lost their voices to complicity in the rot, if Wike and Ayade’s unusual style of open peer review is the mechanism that will stir the nest in our State, so be it. Let the roforofo continue. Afterall, both are not radically different.
Citizen Agba Jalingo.