Cross River State governor and the leader of the PDP, Sir Ben Ayade
By Dominic kidzu
Listening to people talk about the upcoming State Congress of the PDP in CRS one would think that it is armageddon or the flip side of epiphany, or even D – DAY in Normandy. Like the whole world was possibly coming to a definite end following the result of the exercise.
The PDP in the state seems to have ungainly borrowed the notorious example of the opposition APC by needlessly upscalling disagreement to a state of war. As if politics itself is not ipso facto, about the resolution of disagreements and distribution of resources and advantage.
The die seems cast in the pursuit of the golden diadem, as if to lose is to die, and to win is to achieve eternal life. Most of the actors have taken on the form of plaster gods or machine gods in hot pursuit of vanity fair, with ego as the superintending geni. There is tremulous frenzy on the land with countervailing streams of orgasmic passion bubbling in the manner of fresh palmwine. One would think that the much awaited RAPTURE by the Christian faithfuls was here in Cross River State on August 8, at last.
This unhelpful confrontation brings back reminiscences of the epic chasm between Governor Clement Isong and the National Assembly musketeers led by the then Senate president Joseph Wayas. After beating themselves blue, black and sore, the military swept them all aside leaving no winners and no losers, only the bitter embers of the hurt and bruises and the inevitable enormity that dogged them all to the end of their lives.
Now the tragedy of war between brothers is that it is the family that suffers. The PDP family in Cross River State is bleeding today as a result of the current wanton skirmishes. While the leaders dig in deeper into the grapes of wrath, the followers are gnashing their teeth in frustration about their dreams that will not now be realized. Because those who fetch water from the brook of the Governor can no longer wet their beek in the pond of the Senators and the Representatives. It is now obvious that the umbrella has torn right down the middle, and we are all left “…turning and turning in the widening gyre with the falcon too far to hear the falconer and the centre can no longer hold” (W.B. Yeats).
Yet this party used to be the fabled umbrella that covered all who came to it, and all disagreements were settled as a ‘Family Affair’. What happened to that cohesive, all providing super party that never disclosed its blemishes in public? What has become of that super structure where the Governor was the leader of the party and members of the National Assembly were part of the same leadership in the metaphysical manner of three Gods in one? Has the crow swooping down with out – spread talons dug out our eyes and left us so blind that we are unable to recognize our common brotherhood? Or are we all willing victims of ego, pride, impiety and ultimate nemesis?
Or is it rather the pull of rapacious ambition to climb even higher on the rungs of power and circumstance , to control resources and men, to achieve new status of honour and fame, maybe even to deify oneself and favourably compete with God Himself? Yet in all these, the everlasting moral equilibrium is CONTENTMENT. Permit me to submit that our leaders have been needlessly pugnacious, bellicose and belligerent. Today many stacked turtles lie hidden behind the veneer of loyalty and continue to egg our leaders on in this tragic enterprise in expectation of a bounty, without a care for the soul of the State.
If the two sides are convinced that they are fighting for the people then it should be very easy to bury the hatchet and reach a mutually beneficial rapprochement. As a scholar once said that the dancer is the dance and one could not separate the two, the people brought them all to office and to power. The main frame of the Peoples Democratic Party makes the Governors the leaders of the Party in the States and there must be a reason why it was made that way for even the APC has quickly copied the formula. While the immediate ring of power around the Governor have every right to complain where they feel unhappy, that unhappiness cannot now become a malignant sore that cannot be healed.
The Governor himself must stoop to conquer. The abuse of greatness is when it disjoins remorse from power. The king is also mortal and therefore can also do wrong. The ability to accept wrongdoing and to recant is not only a sign of leadership, it is also the mark of a brave man. All those who are pushing the two sides to war are positioning to gather grain for their personal bushels. They mean us no good, nor do the men of power from other states who are throwing rocks across the fence. We are Cross Riverians. We will always be Cross Riverians. We can sit down at table and sort out our differences. The people expect no less. We are not looking for heroes. We are looking for cohesion, togetherness and peace amongst ourselves and our leaders. Just the way it has been these several seasons.
The politics has become axphixiating, and we the followers are not able to breathe easily. There used to be elders of the party and the polity. There used to be youths who spoke the truth to power and got every power centre back on line. Sadly, all that is gone today. Today we are all members of the choir, unified by mutual poverty and want. Today you are either abusing the Governor in defence of members of the National Assembly or abusing the MPs in defence of the Governor. The voice of reason is mute because you are either privileged or extremely poor, begging and therefore voiceless. No political entity grows this way. If the Almajiri system helped the Muslim North they would not now be seeking to throw it away today.
The Governor must sit with his Assemblymen and find an end to this egotrip and reach a win – win solution for the themselves, for our party and for our polity. Their personal ambitions cannot truncate the tremendous progress we have made as a party and as a State. The members of the National Assembly on the other hand have not been able to showcase the altruistic intentions of their struggle. How are we to know that they are not only concerned about robbing Peter to pay Paul in order to carve their own hour in the sun.
(Dominic kidzu has been a member of the Peoples Democratic Party since 1999 and is currently the Special Adviser to the Governor on Information).