The Purported War Between Governor Ayade And Venatius Ikem And Others: An Exegesis BY OROK DUKE

In Breaking News, Columnists, National News, Opinion, Politics
Hon. Orok Duke, Chairman, Cross River State Sports Commission
Hon. Orok Duke, Chairman, Cross River State Sports Commission

It is said that war does not know who is right or wrong, but who is left – at the end of the day. So, to my chagrin, I watch and listen to the purported feud between Governor Ben Ayade and his kinsman, Barrister Venatius Ikem, both from Obudu, Cross River State.

While the Governor has distanced himself from the imbroglio, his close aides have not let up and Venatius too, is intermittently spewing venom and opprobrium at the Governor.

I refuse to be drawn into this dispute in a way that will not douse this fire, but will rather, err on the side of wisdom and caution, for obvious reasons. I have been a Justice of Peace, since the year 2000.

Venatius worked for the success of Governor Ayade during the last elections and was among the first set of beneficiaries of the regime’s contract (for the supply of dustbins for individual homes) and rightly so.

Therefore, it is unnecessary for those who should have remained innocent bystanders, to continue to fan the embers of hatred between two brothers (who also worked assiduously, for the governorship slot to be zoned to the north, over the years).

The Obudu people are supposed to celebrate this achievement (slightly dented by petty squabbles).

This was ably and succinctly captured by the late musicologist, Chief Inyang Nta Henshaw, thus:
‘’Di dara ye ami,
Ufan mi odung ibuot obot,
Di dara ye ami,
Ukot ikut ke idibi ikut,
Oyom mi ndiwowot,
Ikidi eyeneka oo
Kuyak imam asak nnyin,
Di dara ye ami…
(meaning) –

‘’Come and celebrate with me,
My friend living up the hill,
Come and celebrate with me,
The tortoise’ leg in its belly,
Now wants to kill me?
We are blood brothers,
Please don’t let the people laugh at us,
Come and celebrate with me…’’

This is the situation today – a dilemma for our Obudu brothers. Ayade should be allowed to govern without this insipid distraction and Venatius should also cut some slack (as much as he would also allow).

I am currently supporting and helping Governor Ben Ayade, to turn around the various misfortunes of Cross River State, particularly in the area of Sports Development.

As the Chairman of the Cross River Sports Commission, I would lead in the quest to revive and reposition Sports in Cross River State (Including the successful hosting of the National Sports Festival in November, 2016.)

Despite the initial ignorant distractions that I faced from meddlesome interlopers when the Commission was reconstituted, I persevered, because I am allied and committed to the Governor’s vision.

It is just too early in the day to judge Governor Ayade’s projects and programmes. The same view is held by me, concerning some of President Buhari’s projects and programmes.

However, for those who may choose to go to war with Governor Ben Ayade and sustain that war, then you should read the book, The Art of War by Sun Tzu. Sun Tzu (c. 6th century BCE) was a Chinese general and a military strategist.

The Art of War is an immensely influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy; also known as Sun Wu, and Chang Qing.

His 13 Chapter Book is summarised, but not limited to the following:

a) All warfare is based on deception.

b) The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.

c) What is essential in war is victory, not prolonged operations. There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.

d) It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperilled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperilled in every single battle.

e) Too frequent rewards indicate that the general is at the end of his resources; too frequent punishments that he is in acute distress.

f) In war, numbers alone confer no advantage. Do not advance relying on sheer military power.

g) A leader leads by example not by force.

h) Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.

i) Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.

j) To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.

k) Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.

l) The true objective of war is peace.

m) In peace, prepare for war. In war, prepare for peace

n) Fear is the true enemy, the only enemy.

From the above, the different sides in any war, could easily locate and determine its intention and justification. I took time to explain the various aspects, so that whoever would want to continue with this war, would be aware of its implication(s).

If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Now. Eventually, the history of any battle will be written by only those who won. Heed Sun Tsu and be wise. The main essence of war, is Peace.

It’s not uncommon to fight with your siblings – in fact it’s a fairly normal part of growing up. However, it can be good to know why you’re fighting and different things you can do that might ease the tension, like developing effective ways of talking to your brother or sister without it turning into a mega argument or a public show.

Sometimes it can’t be resolved and that’s when you might have to agree to disagree. Brothers and sisters know exactly which buttons to push to get you annoyed and start an argument.

Ongoing arguments can be stressful, annoying, and unnecessary, but there are things you can do if it gets out of control.

But I find it distressing that a feud would fester for this long, with the Barbarians baying at the gates and encouraging it. Governor Ayade needs the space to continue with his work and Venatius Ikem needs all the time to adjust and settle into his new Party and comity of friends.

This is simply sibling rivalry. The Governor will not shirk his responsibilities at this time and will not just walk away, I am sure.

Aeschylus (ca. 525–456 BCE), the Greek philosopher and tragedian, wrote in the Fragment. 123, thus:

‘’So in the Libyan fable it is told
That once an eagle, stricken with a dart,
Said, when he saw the fashion of the shaft,
‘With our own feathers, not by others’ hands,
Are we now smitten. ”

The idea of the eagle struck by a feather from her own wing is proverbial. Lord Byron in English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809) talked about being dealt a blow by someone close to him.

When Byron published his first book of poetry, “Hours of Idleness” in 1807, it received a brutal, scathing review by Henry Brougham in the Edinburgh Review – it was a humiliating criticism. So, the English Bard expresses his disappointment and surprise thus:

‘’So the struck eagle, stretched upon the plain,
No more through rolling clouds to soar again,
Viewed his own feather on the fatal dart,
And wing’d the shaft that quivered in his heart.’’

Edmund Waller (1606 – 1687), an English Poet and humiliated Politician, in his To a Lady Singing a Song of His Composing, further talks about feuding and parting. He compares the relationship between two friends with that of the eagle, thus:

‘’That eagle’s fate and mine are one,
Which, on the shaft that made him die,
Espied a feather of his own,
Wherewith he won’t to soar so high.’’

It is the lack of co-operation and the presence of internecine feud in Nigeria, after Independence and the departure of the colonialists that made John Equere, in 1964, to admonish Nigerians to come together and work for the success of their country. He had said:

‘’No longer do foreign vulture on us prey,
But we on us.’’

In summary, we make our mistakes and occasionally highlight our differences in public, instead of doing that privately. To this end, criticisms, any attack (verbal or political), from someone that you consider a friend and a brother, is usually interpreted as a stab in the back (like Brutus against Julius Caesar).

This is assessed as normal and underlines our mortality as human beings. The following quotes clearly capture the phenomenon of sibling feuds;

a) Sibling relationships…outlast marriages, survive the death of parents, and resurface after quarrels that would sink any friendships. They flourish in a thousand incarnations of closeness and distance, warmth, loyalty and distrust. (Erica E. Goode)

b) Even though we appear to be sewn in a different pattern, we have a common thread that won’t be broken-by people or years or distance.

c) We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time. (Clara Ortega)

d) I know a man and his brother
Who never spoke to each other,
But talked through their cat
And left it at that.

Even if Governor Ben Ayade and Venatius Ikem, grow different ways and directions, like branches on a tree, their roots will remain as one. Therefore, it is advisable for all the acolytes, cheer leaders and chorus singers, to give peace a chance.

The fruit salad of their lives should, if we truly care, lead us to live in the world of the following poem:

The feud, I want them to settle it;
No matter how loud the feud might get,
My two friends will soon show me
How deep and true Obudu love is.

For though these two might argue
And claim that the other is mean,
Let nobody should take a familial bond for granted.
If someone hurts just one of them,
They’ll promptly unite.

How wonderful is loyalty
That never ever ends;
For certain they both know inside
That they’re forever friends.

It is said that war does not know who is right or wrong, but who is left – at the end of the day. Governor Ben Ayade is presently on the saddle and should be given the opportunity and space to actualize his dream for Cross River State – within his mandate.

Hon. Orok Otu Duke is the Chairman, Cross River State Sports Commission

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