By Jonathan Ugbal and Christiana Alawa
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday said that Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade told him that Mr. Jedy Agba who contested the gubernatorial elections with him in 2015 was not bitter that he lost but has been working with him.
Mr. Obasanjo stated this while unveiling the autobiography of Mr. Agba titled: “Stepping Forward With Uti J.D Agba” in Calabar where he said Mr. Ayade’s comments about his relationship with Mr. Agba was his idea of what politics should be; service to the people.
He said that: “The Governor said a very good thing about you (turns to Mr. Agba). I don’t know whether he has said it to your hearing but since he said it to my hearing, I want to be amebo.
“I was in the car with him and I said hey, this young man is a good man and a lucky man. He said he is more than a good man and a lucky man, he is a very good man.
“He said ‘he contested with me, we come from the same place, he lost the contest but he was not bitter. He joined hands with me and we are working together.’
“And I said ‘that is what politics is supposed to be, it is not a matter of life and death.’
“If all we are trying to do is to serve people, if you contest to be the chief servant and you cannot win the position to be the chief servant, then you can be assistant chief servant because the chief servant cannot do it alone.”
The former President who departed Calabar shortly after the unveiling the book also congratulated Mr. Agba’s father who is the longest serving monarch in Africa, Uti J.D Agba.
“Let me now congratulate the old man. I have been envious me. I am envious of you because while you are still around and here and kicking, you can see the performance of your offspring. Congratulations,” Obasanjo said and declared his intention not to throw a jibe at former Governor Liyel Imoke, who was ower and steel minister under him.
“Eh, Liyel, what sis they call you? Ultra digital or what? Or maker of digital government? Well your own, I won’t expose you,” Obasanjo said leaving a wide eyed Imoke and others reeling with another bout of laughter, chuckles and smiles.
There was a little comical moment after unveiling the book, as Mr. Obasanjo accompanied by several dignitaries opted to cut the cake and share with Mr. Ayade, Mr. Agba, his father, Uti Agba, the Etsu Nupe, the Amanyanabo of Eleme, Professor Kalu Uka, Senator Imoke, Professor Ivara Esu among others.
And, Mr. Ayade in his remarks affirmed Mr. Obasanjo’s stance and disclosed that he has known Mr. Agba for a long time and contrary to rumors that they are at loggerheads, Agba has been influential in his administration.
“Nobody will imagine that himself and I had to share nights, planning and working very hard to see how we can go to Edo state to marry his wife.
“We came through the political struggle together, today we are united, very focused and seeing how we can emancipate Cross River State and continuously decouple Cross River State from it’s continuous dependence on federal allocation.
“Today, he is one of my strong advisers and continuously giving meet guide to see that we pull through the difficult challenges that we face.
“I take a special exception to any form of politics that comes with bitterness because off he was of that style,he won’t have this massive crowd. We must learn to forgive, we must learn to realise that of we seek to serve, we must learn like what our former president has said that if you can’t serve, you must support your brother to serve,” Ayade said.