Few days ago the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Cross River State, Mrs. Ann Odey goofed by taking a unilateral decision on a matter that almost set the state on fire, a matter that ordinarily would not have been a problem if proper line of authority on dealing with such issues was taken.
Unfortunately, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, though not deliberately, decided to issue a directive stopping the observance of prayers and devotions in Primary and Secondary Schools in Cross River State.
Frankly, the directive of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, though said to have emanated from a directive from the Director of State Services (DSS) based on security tips that Boko Haram sect was planning to attack school assemblies in the country, which some schools in the northern parts of the state have started observing, it was actually a time-bomb that would have set the governed against the government if not timely clarified as done by His Excellency, Senator Ben Ayade.
It is true that the Permanent Secretary though acted in good faith with a good intention to prevent sorrow, pain and anguish in the event of such strike in the state, her action was taken without careful thought of discussing it with the Head of Service of Cross River State, extend it to the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and then to the number one citizen of the state when it comes to such sensitive matter bordering on religion and the right of the people to their conscience and to proffer whatsoever religion they like.
As one of the Media Aides to Governor Ayade, I feel highly impressed to venture to passionately appeal to my Principal, His Excellency, Senator Benedict Benyaushuye Ayade to temper justice with mercy and forgive the Education Permanent Secretary by reversing the suspension, bearing in mind that from all indications, her action was based on pure patriotism and love for the safety of Primary and Secondary pupils/students in the state.
Again, to err is human but he who forgives, especially a subordinate who has acted beyond the mark, is himself exhibiting the attribute of divinity. Besides, forgiveness from a superior person to a person lesser in rank attracts greater respect from he/she who is forgiven to the forgiver.
Your Excellency sir, by forgiving the Permanent Secretary, you will equally prove to Cross Riverians in practical terms the religion of Christianity which you so devoted yourself to and which in the first place caused you to pronounce her suspension after giving a directive which ordinarily is not in her position to take without due clearance from a superior.
It is true that matters of religion are to be treated with the highest caution because they can inflame an entire society and turn it into a huge ball of unquenchable cauldron.
The governor has proven to the entire world by his activities in the past, his utterances in public fora and his recent action which clearly showed that that he is a Christian indeed and that he loves and stand by God’s side.
Forgiving she who has erred especially she whose action was intended for the overall good of the public, though carried out through a wrong procedure is the most welcoming decision for a leader to be taken and such is always pleasant to God.
After all, in Obudu where I hail from, it is said that parents who scold their children with the right hand and draw them back closer to themselves with the left hand will always win and sustain the confidence and love of their children, even after they are gone.
The governor will equally be remembered by the erring Permanent Secretary, her family members and friends as he pardons her by the lifting of the suspension and the disbandment of the committee set up to investigate the matter.
Temper justice with mercy, Your Excellency!
Solomon Asha is Special Assistant, Media to Governor Ayade
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