I have read a few post and comments from Ebonyi indigenes criticising their Governor, Engr. David Umahi for engaging close to five thousand appointees in his second term, and why that should not be, and I must say that I can relate with their concerns, having had this concerns as well previously.
However, with the benefit of hindsight, I’d like to ask them to let the man be, even though I know that their social media agitations would not distract him from the fantastic job he’s doing in Abakaliki and adjoining places. The world class infrastructure he’s putting in Abakaliki is especially of note to many indigenes and non-indigenes alike.
The reason I support the idea is because I saw what and how that similar initiative saved a lot of families in Cross River State during Ayade’s first term. I saw how people who would have struggled with family obligations were able to cater for their children’s fees and other needs because of this singular initiative of expanding Government.
Recall that I was one of those who was against the idea of expansion of Government when HE Governor Ayade started this in his first term, I saw no reason why that should be done because of the implication such expansion would have on Government resources needed for infrastructure. Having seen what and how this idea of expanding Government and its corresponding benefit of increasing the disposable income of the people and it spurred economic activities in the local economy, I therefore, encourage the Government to engage more people even in his second term.
The benefit of such massive appointees for States like Cross River and Ebonyi are obvious, as the lack of massive industrial activities and industrialization and joblessness creates economic challenges that can be attributed to high levels of crime and criminality. So, these appointments create the political jobs that provides the needed shocks that joblessness would have otherwise created. Howbeit, these jobs and opportunities cannot be given to political jobbers at the expense of the needed infrastructure required for the general good of both the privileged ones in Government and those of us outside Government.
Beyond engaging a plenteous number of people in Government like I said earlier, Government must never renege on its core responsibility of providing infrastructure for the general use of those of us who may never be in Government because of our objective criticism of Government. Government exist for all of us, allocations or internally generated revenue, taxes collected within and without our state meant for our States should be used to satisfy the general public and for our collective good.
This is because, when you engage sycophants for the purposes of their ability to sing your praises, you should also consider that those of us who are not called to sing praises (since everyone has his calling), deserve to be accommodated in the scheme of things as far as governance is concerned. Those of us who drive on our roads, deserve to enjoy potholes-free experience while driving. This is very important to us.
That said, I need to say here and now, that those of us calling for an improvement in infrastructure especially road infrastructure in Cross River State mean well for our State, and Government must live up to our expectations and demands in this direction. Overzealous appointees of Government must stop tagging unprintable names on those who call on Government to live up to expectations, as these guys are doing a noble job of being watchdogs in society, they are providing the needed role that civil society provides in every democracy. We all should not be quiet about the misgovernance of our collective patrimony, after all, we are all stakeholders, citizens and appointees alike, in the project of Cross River State; or is Government meant to benefit only a few? Shouldn’t we who cannot be in government benefit from our collective resources?
It is on this note that I make the appeal again to Cross River State Governor HE Ben Ayade to free Agba Jalingo as nobody should be persecuted for having an opinion in a democracy, nobody, not even when that opinion is against the Government’s misgovernance, a lack of accountability, and misappropriation of public funds.
Government exist for the welfare and security of the people, we cannot then be using Government or State apparatuses for the persecution and prosecution of those who disagree with Government policies and programmes, as democracy thrives on constructive engagement of both the leaders and the led; the press, civil society, etc, are all important institutions in every democracy, and therefore, must be allowed to thrive in our system. The press and those who disagree with Government too must be allowed to coexist side-by-side with other institutions, as nobody or institution is more important than the other in a democracy. We all need everyone and every institution to function alongside others. The idea of persecuting those who disagree with government stands condemned. Government exist for the generality of the people, not for a selected few.
For me, with respect to Agba’s ordeal, I know for a fact, that Agba is one person who contributed immensely for Ayade’s emergence in 2015. I know Agba’s contribution because I was with him in 2014 both in Governor Ayade’s house in Abuja and other places during the battle for who occupied the Peregrino House, and most times eavesdropped into most of their conversations, most of which in all good conscience and as a political observer, I cannot reveal here or in any of my writings, because it will be immoral for me to do so.
Even in the last just concluded 2019 governorship election, I remember how I met Agba and asked him who he was supporting for the race and he clearly told me he was supporting Ayade and gave me reasons why Ayade must return as Governor, and this is even against the fact that Sen. John Owan-Enoh had approached him and sought his political support. Could he then had declined giving his support to Owan so Ayade can kill him?
The continuous detention of Agba by State apparatus and the Cross River State Government, is therefore, ungodly and totally condemned in the strongest terms possible. Agba has the right to his opinion in a democracy, he does not deserve to be incarcerated while demanding accountability from Ayade’s government, especially with what and how Agba contributed in Ayade’s emergence in his first term in 2015 and after.
Mr. Kennedy Nsan, hails from Ikom and writes from Calabar.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Kennedy Nsan, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.