As The Storms Begin To Gather (1) BY VENATIUS IKEM

In Columnists, Opinion, Politics, Uncategorized
Venatius Ikem

As we draw near to the midterm of this administration come next month, and in political terms, about one year to the emergence of candidates for the next general elections, most politicians are already oiling their tools predictably to position for the next election. Without much to engage us, we have no choice other than do what we must do. That’s the only time we seem to exercise some “power” of democracy!

The interesting movement of persons across party divides, actually from the ruling PDP in the state to the ruling APC at the federal level was long predicted but only delayed because of several factors which I won’t bother to highlight here.

It is consoling that it has resumed in ernest or actually continued after the mass defection of 2015/16. In fact those moving now, were long expected to have moved back in 2016, because they had actually started consultations towards it before events and circumstances within the APC made people to become a bit skeptical or if you like circumspect about their plans.

Governor Ayade also decided in a very disingenuous way to flood the state with appointments of what one of his aides described in a recent scathing criticism as “every Tom, Dick and Harry!” I have written severally on this in the past because I have taken some interest in the development given our state’s political culture or the lack of it and the attitude of our politicians and the reality of opposition politics vis-a-vis a strange new system of politics introduced by governor Ayade, in the name of “building political structures” which has not only been an experiment with confusion but a recipe for monumental failure. The backlash seems to be at hand.

Beyond the now open secret that Senator Owan Enoh has decided that “enough is enough” with PDP as he is quoted to have informed his supporters over the weekend, there is the larger implications to this bold move. First it is likely that all three senators of Cross River State and certainly some members of the House of Representatives will follow suit. Secondly, it will open a floodgate to more such movements some of whom will happen unannounced because the juicy ones with capacity for media hype or attention would have all been gone.

What I welcome most about all these developments is that they will impact heavily on how the state is governed henceforth. A situation where one man took power in the state through a democratic process, however flawed, but has proceeded to treat everyone with contempt at best or disdain at worst, over the past two years has baffled me to no end. Worst, most of us have pretended that all is well as long as we get some peanuts from him, however given grudgingly as crumbs from his brother’s table! Blatant and flagrant abuse of office never before imagined possible in our state have been recorded without any whimper beyond the social media voices.

There is no greater antidote to bad governance than the fear of losing election. That’s where we are right now! There is nothing a politician fears more than losing election. Governor Ayade, even more so! For all his ego, if the balance of probabilities shifts to an unpredictable level of political outcomes, I know for a fact that the governor will change his attitude both towards politicians and to governance. And the state will be better for it. I will reserve to myself how he should change.

My interest in pushing for some sensible approach to the conduct of public affairs has continued to propel me to comment on what I see as wrong for many reasons. First Ayade is “our brother” from not only the north, but from Obudu. His failure (or continued failure) will become a collective judgment on us as a people, as is already happening unfortunately. Indeed the cloud that is gathering out there is not only gathering for Ayade, it is gathering for all of us.

The spectre of power shifting back to the Southern Senatorial District in 2019, leaving the north with only 4 years in government unlike the other two is real, but holds frightening prospects for those of us who think we have paid a price for this power to have shifted at all which was apparently not contemplated by some wiser men.

If Governor Ayade thinks this base sentiment alone is enough to get him back in Government House come 2019, then he has another think coming! Every ambition succeeds when it understands that it is only a conglomeration of several other ambitions as well as a people’s aspirations.

Governor Ayade has without shame appropriated the governorship chance of the northern Cross River State to himself and his family without consideration for the wishes and aspirations of generations of politicians from “Ogoja” which propelled their many decades of struggle! If he does not heed the warning signs from his clueless confusion over governance as a curse of the gods, and reverse himself with humility, then he will see a total collapse and reversal of his personal and political fortunes as he attempts a second term on the graves, sweat and blood of those who suffered in the struggle but whom he is repaying with a bitter taste of ingratitude.

Secondly, all of us have or must have an unquenchable desire that our state remains on the trajectory of development rather than reverse the gains of the past as is currently happening unchallenged by the political elite, most of whom have “‘taken refuge in an attitude of passivity” , to borrow the words of Franz Fanon.

Since Ayade’s aides are too afraid of him to tell him what he does not like to hear, let me help them. Every gathering of his aides has become the greatest occasion for a discussion of his failings! How pathetic! They seem to have become so reckless that they don’t even care when members of the opposition APC are present with them sometimes. Or maybe they have decided that is the only way to get their message across to him! As I am helping to pass the message now. Maybe it is a good smart strategy after all. Maybe some are actually sending a message that they are available for recruitment!

It is noteworthy that most of the movements out of PDP so far have had nothing to do with the efforts of APC, but everything to do with the attitude and failings of the leadership of Governor Ayade. How would it then be if APC makes some effort to deliberately woo some persons whom they may consider strategic to their success in 2019, away from the PDP? I have used the phrase “when APC puts her house in order” in my past write ups to describe such and similar umbrella circumstances to the jest of some Ayade’s pretenders to loyalty but whom I will remind soon, when the time comes as it is drawing nearer and nearer.

Venatius Ikem Esq. is a politician and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress.

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