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BEN AYADE must not suffer the fate of Donald DUKE (PART 1) by OBI OJAGE

“….Father let this huddle pass amicably, we pray Lord.”

YOU can’t be wrong and get things right; before warned is before armed. I speak as an Oracle and as an insider who had always endeavoured to be on the side of truth as I see them, which is to enhance progress. Be it political or spiritual, whether I gain or lose in the process, I careless as I leave my reward to be determined by my Redeemer, the Lord of Host and Time who operates in the void as a Ghost and Holy. And who is known as the Almighty.

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POLITICS is what gives birth to a government. A bad government usually is a reflection of the mindsets and character of those who are in charge. Politics is a game we must all endeavor to take part in otherwise compound fools, chronic idiots and thieves will continue to play ping-pong with our destinies as they shall be the ones saddled with the onerous responsibility to initiate or formulate policies with potentials capable to make or mar our future and that of our children now in schools and those yet unborn.

Is that what we want?

BEFORE I go into the details of this essay which is meant to serve as my candid advice as a politician and, indeed, one that represents the minds of most patriotic APC members here in Cross River State to our current Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, for the enhancement of a safe and rancour free transition and success of the party in the forthcoming governorship election in the state against the rival PDP.

I must, first of all, debunk an entrenched fallacy infused clandestinely into the minds of most Cross River indigenes as a factored belief erroneously going on and has continuously been hammering on the existence of a “three wise men-coinage” in an obnoxious agreement to rule the State as Governors in succession undeterred of which under no circumstances no one would be allowed to venture. We would have had Governors of the state, namely: Donald Duke, Liyel Imoke and Gheshiom Bassey in that order.

AND this fiction of another version of abracadabra was to see to it that each person amongst these trilateral beings ruled the state as a right in succession whether or not they were better options. Mr. Donald Duke, as the tale suggested, was to rule first after which Liyel Imoke would takeover for eight years. And lastly, according to the false rumor, it would be the turn of Geshiom Bassey, who is the present Senator representing the Southern Senatorial District of the state, by default whose election to the Senate was made possible by Imoke who used his position then as Governor of the state to forcefully auster Senator (Prince) Bassey Otu and had Geshiom as his replacement in the Nigerian Senate.

THERE was nothing like that ever in the cards during the coming of Duke as Governor and thence after. The dynamics that threw up Duke as Governor then couldn’t have supported or given rise to such arrangement if ever there was one. But there wasn’t. It was just a lie told often by some blindfolded fanatics which, over time, has taken the semblances of truth but is a fat lie.

THAT couldn’t have been possible where 70% of the entire political structure that enabled Duke to win the governorship election was the one controlled by late John Oyom Okpa of blessed but sad memories. The structure enjoyed a huge support base that cuts across the three Senatorial Districts with barely few of Duke’s associates from the DPN that participated followed by the few of us who were from the GDM deeply involved in the process, including Liyel Imoke who was to function as Campaign Manager and the overall Coordinator of the entire project to make Duke Governor, and we won!

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RT. HONOURABLE Essien Ekpenyong Ayi was holding sway as “Warlord” whose boys were on ground steadily and were to contain the insurrectionists’ moves of the so-called Atam Congress gang up’s against Duke’s candidacy of the PDP from Calabar municipality, the Southern Senatorial District in favour of Dr. Ukpo of the ANPP to the Northern Senatorial Districts of Ogoja.

LEST I forget, without Essien Ayi (Funky) functioning in Duke’s inner circle then, the former Governor wouldn’t have had it smooth and sailing in the State during and immediately after his tenure, owing to the unsavory ganged up against Duke by detractors and insurrectionists clandestinely working to destabilize the government in favour of the so-called “Atam” proclivities.

DONALD Duke and Imoke are friends except for the chasm that continue to surface, plaque and play up wrong signals of hate as a result of personal interest or political differences either for themselves or for those they’re rooting for or in support of their candidacies. Both were brought into the political space initially by the first civilian Governor of the State under the military, Chief Clement David Ebri, where Duke served as Commissioner of Finance in Ebri’s Government and Liyel was being pampered and aided to the Senate, all by Ebri for the sake of his father’s name, while Geshiom Bassey had been Duke’s childhood friend and Secondary School mate.

THE former Governor, Mr. Donald Duke on his part was said to have solicited the help of Imoke both of whom were resident in Lagos at the time, who agreed to come over with Duke to Calabar to help in coordinating both the Central and Northern Senatorial Districts for him against the towering influence of Late Johm Okpa who had used the formidable structure he inherited as party Chairman, which he nurtured and built around himself at the time, right from the period when he was State Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) being one of Ibrahim Babangida’s two party structures of NRC and SDP.

LATE Okpa used that to change the political calculation and culture of the state. Where he had to bring in surprisingly a highly devoted barrister in the state then in the person of Chief Kanu Godwin Agabi (SAN) who was highly celebrated as a prominent lawyer and philanthropist in the statye from Ogoja to run as Governor with the military governor posted then to the State, Col. Amed rooting for Agabi as his favorite candidate to take over from him as the outgoing military Governor.

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BUT all that changed, all of a sudden when late Okpa was called up as a result of the plea by the pairs of Imoke and Duke to Alhaji Atiku Abubaker (the Turanki Adamawa) who in turn persuaded late John Okpa to consider working with Duke. Alhaji Atiku was the Head of PDM, a political group founded by late General Musa Yar’Adua to which both men belonged, where he (late John) agreed to join Duke and Imoke, leaving Chief Kanu Agabi half way into his adventure. The move attracted wide condemnation across the state with some attributing the action of late John to that of greed which they felt is an unforgivable betrayal on the part of late John to his friend Chief Agabi (SAN) without knowing the exact cause of why Late Okpa did what he did at the time.

THIS pieces of information on Liyel Imoke’s journey to Calabar with Duke was not fabricated by me but was rather one given to me by Imoke himself in my apartment on one faithful night at no. 6, Punch Street, in Calabar where I was to broker piece between the three men namely, Duke, Imoke and Gheshiom Bassey over a trivial mater they unfortunately had while in DPN with my very good friend and backer, late Chief Dominic Bassey, (Mavenco) who was one of the chieftains of the DPN, at the instance of Donald Duke who was now willing to work closely with late Dominic Bassey (Itim) on his Governorship project.

SENATOR Geshiom Bassey with whom I had partnered closely with for the sake of Duke’s project to become Governor, was always known to hang around Duke as his friend and able Assistant, right from when Donald was Commissioner in Chief Clement Ebri’s government. They were childhood friends who still enjoys a lot together though, but do not relate as equals in many circumstances. Geshiom was solely depended on Duke before now who was often seen as the go-getter of the two, of whatever successes or achievements recorded by Duke which Geshiom often associated himself with. That relationship persisted until when both men parted ways fairly due to incessant betrayals on the part of Bassey, especially when Liyel became Minister of Power. Geshiom Bassey eventually switched his loyalty from Duke to Imoke from which he got rewarded with a Senate position to the bargain.

SERIOUSLY, I may not want to dabble further into the details of that here because that is not the primary aim of this write-up. It is to help the current governor avoid the pitfalls of these men which was characterized by in-tricks, innuendos and ingratitude, as we approach 2023 elections being a ruling party with an incumbency status against a formidable opposition in the PDP which also includes these men still in active service.

THE coming in of Imoke as Governor of the State at the time it occurred was just a mere coincidence which gained prominence as a result of happenstance precipitated by Providence whose birth became stronger and realisable as a result of Liyel’s elevation, by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, from the position of Special Assistant to the President on Public Utility (which he gained as his own reward for contributing in Duke’s Governorship project) into a full fledged cabinet Minister in charge of the Power Ministry, from where the idea was supposedly mooted, I guessed, and not by the influence of any trilateral arrangement engendered by the so-called Wise-men-ism nor was Duke directly involved. It was purely an issue of destiny playing out for Liyel Imoke at the time by the grace of his God.

OTHERWISE nobody, I repeat, nobody would’ve contemplated going into the governorship race in Cross River Central Senatorial District where Liyel hails from, nor think of defeating Late Chief John Oyom Okpa to become the next governor of the state in PDP in that order, after Duke.

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Liyel won his governorship race out of tint of hardwork though, but which efforts were characterized by a lot of in tricks and slander backed by the huge amount of money and influence Imoke came into the race with as former minister of Power. This was equally aided by the unconventional method employed, including the blackmail of Late John Okpa, using various fronts to achieve that, most of whom where from the Senatorial District with late John who was Duke’s Deputy.

And that singular act helped in destabilizing completely, the smooth succession plan that would’ve taken place between Duke and whoever would’ve come after him as a successor in PDP and subsequently, which resulted in Duke leaving the party in disarray after his tenure of eight years unceremoniously to SDP. From where everything turned topsytovy resulting in the death or abandonment of Obudu Cattle-ranch project, the Cable Car Project and TINAPA to date.

WE shall not allow that to happen to the current Governor Ben Ayade as an incumbent who is now the leader of our great party, the APC. He should be aided to have a successor gregariously accepted and who would heed to plans as enunciated for the sake of our people and not one who would come only to prove a point resulting in the abandonment of uncompleted projects and structures based on animosity and ill feelings carried too far, mostly from the stages during primary election or selection in our case in APC which would’ve been nipped on the bud.

CROSS River State has as its Governor today an intellectual in the person of Prof. Ben Ayade. Like former Governor Donald Etim Duke and Sen. Liyel Imoke, the three men became governors below the ages of 55 years old. Donald was fairly less than 40 at the time he became governor of the state. But exudes a lot of energy, finest and intelligence. So too was Imoke who was breeded more down in America than he was in the country, both of whose parents were prominent personalities in Nigerian history. Both men as governors were ranked amongst the brightest in the country then in terms of carriage, initiative and reach, in spit of some of their shortcomings within, they were the pride of everybody, especially Mr. Donald Duke.

GOVERNOR Ben Ayade supposedly came to build on the successes of these men both within and externally. However you see it, Ayade is unique and has his own style. He is smart, bright and intelligent with age on his side to venture into many other things. He has the ability to talk you into anything he wants you to believe in. He is a gifted person and no one can take that away from him. Neither would I. I wish he would listen to this free message of mine for free. Coming from one crying in the wilderness with vivacity and compunction for the sake of the children.

ONE thing stands very apparently as a huddle which the Governor must do everything in his power to surmount. It needs wisdom, and that is on how to manage the five numbers of political gladiators, in my calculation, who are critical stakeholders in this business as the name may apply. This is in order to record a resounding victory without a backlash resulting from treachery, betrayals amongst the stakeholders in the course of our fight against the formidable opponent we have in the state, the PDP, who are ready and prepared to do every and all things necessary to see to our defeat as the incumbent. That is where the huddle to our success lies as the ruling party with an incumbent governor leading the fight.

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ALL that will largely be dependent on how the governor is able to persuade the old APC members, a tag which I also wear; who have kept the party afloat despite all odds from both internal and external forces, especially the likes of Senator Prince Bassey Otu, Senator John Owan Enoh, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, Prof. Eyo Etim Nyong to see reason why only one person amongst the lots of those who have kept the party is required to fly the party’s flag as a candidate to the election as Governor.

LAST but not the least is a name that keeps resonating in the tongues of most party men, women and youths recently, since the Governor’s defection to APC, as one with the financial capacity, reach; with the right mind and conscience to carry the state to a higher level of development from where the current Governor would’ve left it. He is no other person than Chief Christopher Agam Agara, an Agro-industrialist and philanthropist said to be a friend to Governor Ben Ayade who has been helping in most of the achievement recorded by the governor in the agricultural sector, would’ve been a good experiment in governance at times like this according to those who know Chief Agara deep enough.

I HAVE spoken to all the names involved of those well known to be nursing Governorship ambition in the party who have made huge sacrifices. And have had close door meeting with most of them where we analyzed the issues square and sincerely. And none, in my interactions with them individually is ready to withdraw his candidacy without a fight based on their individual investment in the party and the faith of their supporters who have remained steadfast in the direction of their individual aspirations without defecting to other partys over such reasons.

AND, except wisdom is applied to engage their concerns by none other than Governor Ben Ayade himself who should call those men mentioned above together in a close door meeting with them to discuss the issue of succession. And to decide who amongst them should succeed him. They’re all men from the South and Central Senatorial Districts where the political Pendleton has tilted presently. And the Governor should look no further for a successor elsewhere. He’ll only be compounding an already worsened issue or situation in the present circumstance.

AND let the person so chosen by the Governor in that secret meeting, stay there instantly or go home temporary to make-up his mind on who he would prefer among those of his colleague who were in the meeting to be his running mate. Otherwise I doubt if anything meaningful would work in the direction of success or lasting peace as we proceed in Cross River APC. And I say so before the Holy Spirit and I fear not. And I lie not.

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THOSE who have suddenly wakened up from their slumber, who are now posing as politicians who think that they could become Governors overnight or what have you, on any platform of their choices. Either because they have some money in the bank from which they can use so generously in enticing the authorities in the party to impose them, or the fake attestation of who they’re or those they’ve associated with in government in the past from where they had the opportunity to embezzled as alleged, what they now flaunt, are dreamers.

THESE are a bunch of distractions and those with no conscience. They’ve seen and concluded that APC as a party in the state of cross river is so porous and rudderless such that any Tom, Dike and Harry can just wake-up from any side of his bed anytime and run in there, with a little blackmail stunt handy, and would find a comfortable place to actualize his or her dream without ever inputting anything for its sustenance prior to their coming. Not now again. That’s a dame foolish assertion to contemplate. We, the committed “old members” shall resist them forthwith.

INTERREGNUM…

PLEASE, do not forget to speak to any of the blocks you’re close to or that to which you belonged within the party hierarchy in Abuja. Urging them to graciously consider me as the best man for the office of the National Publicity Secretary of our great party on merit from the South South zone, in the forthcoming National Convention of the party due, hopefully, on the 26th of this month, the Lord willing. I have nobody to talk for me up there but you. Yes, you! I am speaking to you sir/ma. Take a chance on me.

I AM a tested product with many years of experience in political propaganda, partisan politics including their in-tricks. Presently I have something to show, of what I have done so far, for the party severally on my own than most; thanklessly, in the areas where I publicized its activities and in stout defense of the leader of our great party, President Mohammadu Buhari, if the party truly rewards loyalty and ferventness.

THE party does not need a concealed lunatic usually to function as a Barking-dog or whatever to be engaged in attacking everything on sight, true to his nature. Of the likes of Femi Fani-Kayode or anybody in that mould, as its spokesperson, where such insolence are often considered as being part of politics. It’s not. It is beastliness which is being encouraged only in a Sithole society by immoralist. Those era have gone for good. A kettle cannot be seen calling a pot black. Except something is wrong somewhere or being concealed.

I WOULD do much more in the positive as the party’s spokesperson if I am given the opportunity to man such office, trust me.*

“End Time Message!

GOD WITH US….

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Remain blessed!

Adesoji Omosebi
Editor-in-Chief
SOJ WORLDWIDE…an ONLINE NEWS with a difference.

Written by Adesoji OMOSEBI

BSc Agric Science

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