This is like a football match, you are either on the side of Agba Jalingo or Governor Ben Ayade or on the fence like spectators watching in a stadium. But whoever you are, whatever team you are in or support, as this match draws to its dying minutes, you must lift up your eyes and look at the score sheet. What is the score? Who is winning?
Those who jailed Agba Jalingo for over 40 days now will think they are winning but that is because they can’t read the score sheet properly.
Let’s read the scores together.
Agba Jalingo wrote several articles criticizing Ayade, I don’t know how many persons read those articles, I don’t know how many persons even knew those articles existed; but immediately Agba Jalingo was arrested all the articles started trending.
By arresting Agba Jalingo, Governor Ayade and the Cross River State Government gave him and his critical articles massive publicity. People all over the world wanted to know what Mr. Jalingo wrote against the Governor, they started searching for those articles, they started reading them. Now, see, the whole world knows what they didn’t want the world to know.
uAyade 0 – 20 uJalingo.
Amnesty International issued a statement in support of Mr. Jalingo, prominent lawyers and human rights activists issued statements; on Channels, on AIT, other TV stations, Radio Stations, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook … Agba Jalingo is being discussed as a topic, as a victim of abuse of power.
The Cross River State Government tried to paint him as a terrorist, as someone who is trying to blackmail the Governor for contracts, the paint refused to stick; the media didn’t buy it, the masses didn’t buy it, the world didn’t buy it … Agba Jalingo is still being held up in the media as a victim of Governor Ayade’s recklessness and power drunkenness.
Ayade United 0 – 50 Jalingo United.
All of a sudden, a suave, intelligent, handsome Governor who prides himself as an ethical politician is being used all over the world as an example of despotism. The name Benedict Ayade is now known for someone who doesn’t brook criticism, the world is now using the name of this Learned Professor as a synonym for democratically elected leaders who jailed journalists.
Oh. Oh. Oh …
Many years from now, maybe 50 or even 100 years from now, some scholar will be writing a paper or delivering a lecture and then will mention one Benedict Ayade and then talk about how many years ago, when he was Governor he locked up critics and journalists who criticized him or disagreed with him.
They will talk about how he was so power drunk and paranoid that he locked up a journalist who criticized him because he, the Governor, thought the journalist wanted to overthrow him. The audience will laugh and mock at his legacy. And those who goaded the Governor to take this abominable step today will not be there; or maybe they will be there to join others in laughing at his legacy.
uAyade 0 – 100 uJalingo.
I wonder why no one told His Excellency that there was no way he could possibly win this. Locking Jalingo for 50 or more days is not victory, for you can lock up a man’s body but you can’t lock up his spirit. Chaining his hands and feet is not victory, for you can chain his hands but you can’t chain his views, you can chain his legs but you can’t chain the speed of the truth.
Agba Jalingo has been made a martyr and the longer he stays in detention the quicker his canonization.
Still we rise.
First Baba Isa (FBI) is a Legal Practitioner and writes from Abuja.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, First Baba Isa, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.