REJOINDER: CRWATCH And The Witch Hunting Of Efiok Cobham BY OBONO OBLA

In Columnists, National News, Opinion

by crossriverwatch admin


I read with alarm and total amusement the essay titled “CRWatch and the Witch Hunting of Efiok Cobham” by one Mike Abuo on the internet.

I make bold to say the essay by Mr. Abuo is hogwash, balderdash and a mere farrago of words. I am ashamed that somebody who says he is an “ activist” and “ public analyst “ would pen such a sycophantic essay to defend what is clearly indefensible.

A true “Activist” must always be on the side of justice, truth and defend human rights at all times. He or she must be a vigorous advocate of a cause. He or she must not be seen to be defending the political establishment blindly just to further his or her personal interest.

An activist must be ready to defend and advance public causes or carry out advocacy against those who use their privileged position to oppress the ordinary people if not he does not deserve to hold out himself as one.

Just like Barrister Obono-Obla and Agba Jalingo stoutly came out to defend Mr. Abuo two years ago when he was arrested by the Police and incarcerated for alleged criminal conduct.

An activist, who is not outraged by the horrible behaviour of a Deputy Governor suggesting that Agba Jalingo should consider himself lucky that he is not dead over s a story published in the CRWatch, is not worth to be an “activist”.

If truly Mr. Abuo is an “activist” he would surely have been outraged by the scandalous and outrageous behaviour of Mr. Cobham attacking Aga Jalingo in the public and suggesting that if he was not Deputy Governor Mr. Agba Jalingo would have long died!

I would not have bothered to join issues with the sycophantic piece of Mr. Abuo but I have to, in order to put straight the erroneous and misleading impression created by Mr. Abuo among readers that the private life of the Deputy Governor of Cross River State, Mr. Efiok Cobham is not the concern or business of those who voted for him to become Deputy Governor.

I honestly do not think Mike Abuo knows what he is talking about. I did not even think he took his time to carry out a research on the subject matter before he impetuously decided to dabble into this matter.

I do not even think that he has locus standi to meddle into this matter. Mr. Abuo tried strenuously but tenuously and unconvincingly to defend Mr. Cohbam over the allegation made by Agba Jalingo that Mr. Cobham threatened and assaulted him over a story that was written in CRWatch over a year ago on how Mr. Cobham humiliated his wife before his personal aide by ordering her to kneel down.

Most importantly since this story broke out, the office of Mr. Cobham had not deemed it fit to deny it. Mr. Cobham has also woefully and spectacularly failed to deny the allegation by Agba Jalingo that Mr. Cobham said that if he was not the Deputy Governor Agba Jalingo would have been a dead man by now.

So since Mr. Cobham has continued to maintain a studied silence over this disturbing and ominous allegation that he threatened the life of a citizen, I am entitled to believe that the allegation against him is established.

The writer of the essay Mr. Abuo has not either denied the allegation in his piece. Rather than denying the allegation Mr. Abuo was busy trying to argue that the CRWatch and Barrister Obono-Obla were on a mission to witch hunt Mr. Cobham.

The apposite question is: Does Mr. Abuo knows the meaning of the phase or word “witch hunting”? I do not think he knows otherwise he could not have employed the use of the word. The word is inappropriate in the context of the subject matter or the pith and substance of the matter.

The Encarta Dictionaries of English Language defines the word “witch hunt” thus: “1.campaign against dissenters: intensive systematic campaigns directed against those who have done something wrong or who hold different views. 2.
Persecution of witches: a persecution of people believed to be witches”.

In the light of the above, it is clear as the crystal ball that Mr. Abuo does not know what he is talking about. It follows that the impression he created that CRWatch and this writer have no ground to condemn Mr. Cobham over what he did to Agba Jalingo is totally not well taken.

So going by the definition of the word “witch hunt” Mr. Abuo has admitted that Mr. Cobham indeed assaulted Mr. Jalingo. So what is Mr. Abuo really talking about? Is it a case of defending the indefensible?

It is inconceivable that Mr. Abuo who described himself as “ an Activist and Public Analyst” has woefully failed to appreciate the fact that it is within the right of the people of the State to know what the Deputy Governor does in the inner recesses of his private home. It is of great public interest. The Deputy Governor is not an ordinary person. He is the number two in the hierarchy of government in the State.

It is a notorious and incontrovertible fact that in the event of the death, resignation or impeachment of the Governor, the Deputy Governor becomes the Governor. So every member of the community known as Nigeria is entitled to know and have the right to pry into the privacy of the Deputy Governor. The Deputy Governor and his family are being maintained at public expenses. It stands to reason that the private life of Mr. Cobham is of public interest.

Again we take recourse to Encarta Dictionary on the meaning of the word “public interest” thus: Public interest: the general benefit of the public (e.g. a law that would be contrary to public interest). 2. General interest in issue: the general level of interest shown by people”.

The private concerns or business of the Deputy Governor is our business or concern. Everybody has the locus standi to know what the Deputy Governor is eating in his house; the dealings between the Deputy Governor and his wife.

Even the business of the children and wife of the Deputy Governor is our business.

It follows that CRWatch was perfectly right to have published the story of the row between Mr. Cobham and his wife.

I was also right to comment on the editorial in yesterday edition of CRWatch online on the assault visited on Agba Jalingo last weekend by Mr. Cobham. There is nothing insulting about my commentary.

If Mr. Abuo is truly a “Public Analyst” who is conversant with contemporary issues within Nigeria and abroad he would not have suggested that the row between Mr. Cobham and his wife that was reported in the CRWatch is a “personal issues”!

Let me use an illustration of the scandal that took place in the United States of America during the Presidency of Clinton in 1997, that led to the indictment of President William Jefferson Blythe Clinton by the House of Representatives in the impeachment proceedings, initiated by the United States Congress against President Clinton for misdemeanour. Luckily President Clinton was exonerated by the Senate.

President Clinton was alleged to have had a sexual relationship with a staff of the White House known as Monica Lewinsky. Nobody suggested that a President Clinton affair with Monica Lewinsky was a private matter. A strictly private matter became a public one because of the position of Clinton.

I will not join issues with Mr. Abuo or his bland reflection concerning my professional integrity. But I make bold to say that if Mr. Abuo considers me not deserving to be Barrister; why did he make overtures to me to defend him in the criminal charges that were levelled against him by the Police before the Chief Magistrates’ Court?

Okoi Obono-Obla

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