Thursday, 13 February 2020

Rising Issues on Ayade's Apology: Who Advised His Excellency?

EDITORIAL|13 February 2020

During the first week of February 2020 a video about the Gov Ben Ayade of Cross River State apologising to Agba Jalingo the embattled Nigerian journalist standing trial for four count charges of treason, felony and attempt to topple the Cross River State Government etc went viral on social media being published by 'Cross River State Government Electronic Media'. 

Particularly, Ayade stringed out the following words in a 36 second video footage: 'I want to make the facts very clear —very, very clear that there was never a time the wife of a former governor was ever detained. There was never a time the blackmail of Agba Jalingo became a thing from where he was getting monthly payment for. And I want to put it on records with strong apologies that I didn't intend any hurt or harm. I think I got my facts totally wrong, and I have to correct it because nobody fell to the blackmail.' 

The above apology is to contradict a previous set of allegations made by the governor himself where he accused the persecuted journalist on national television. Reacting to this development, Eyo O. Ekpo the gubernatorial candidate of the Social Democratic Party SDP in the 2019 general elections in Cross River said thus: 'What do we make of this? Governor Ayade admitting, first, that Agba Jalingo never blackmailed Governor Imoke and his wife; and, second, that Mrs. Obioma Imoke was not arrested or detained by anyone for anything... contrary to what Governor Ayade himself asserted just a few days ago.'

There are a handful of issues which arises from the apology of His Excellency the Governor notable among which is captured in this statement: 'I think I got my facts totally wrong, and I have to correct'. The corollary to this statement is —the competence of the aides to His Excellency the Governor. Who advices Ayade the governor? In the case of the 'I got my facts totally wrong...' who supplied those facts? Who is taking the fall for that totally wrong facts? Who went down for that grave national error? Who was fired? Who took responsibility for the totally wrong facts supplied His Excellency the Governor? Any body? Or, should we rather say: who selected the aide(s) that subsequently supplied the totally erroneous facts? 

His Excellency increased the size of the State Executive Council SEC from 12 Commissioners and a handful of advisers in former Governor Liyel Imoke to 27 Commissioners and hundreds of advisers (including thousands of SAs, SSAs, PAs, DGs, etc) during his first tenure (2015 - 2019). In the second term, we have about 37 Commissioners and over sixty Special Advisers and still counting with a billed-to-expand retinue of SAs, SSAs, PAs, DGs... All of them draw emoluments and salaries as public officers from the taxpayers' money. What's the justification for this benefits? 

How were they selected? Why did His Excellency approve their appointments? Are they square pegs in square holes or round pegs in square holes? Do we have more technocrats or politicians without professional competencies germane to the work description? With His Excellency already getting his facts totally wrong barely 4 months after their official engagement, the quality of their professional competencies is obvious to all and sundry? 

This piece would suggests that His Excellency the Governor reshuffles his cabinet to a sizeable pack in the nearest future earlier than the one year mark he announced or outrightly sacks his army of incompetent aides. It is the conviction of this editorial that the smaller the better and the merrier. 

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