By Joseph Kingston, Calabar
The political animosity between Governor Ben Ayade and Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, who is representing Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, may have deepened as Jarigbe, last weekend, accused the governor of killing businesses in Cross River and handing over the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state to his younger brother to run.
The governor, during the visit of his Bauchi state counterpart, Bala Mohammed, to Cross River state had said the PDP may see a ‘new Cross River’ if the party fails to address ongoing injustices perpetrated against his interest in the state.
Ayade had told Muhammed, “I cannot blind myself to the challenges of PDP and decide not to know what to do at the right time for their [Cross River people] sake. I know you are somebody that doesn’t take injustice. One single injustice, they will see a new Cross River state. I say it as a warning because it does appear that your party seems to celebrate people who threaten and stress them.”
But Jarigbe, finding fault with the governor’s remarks, said, “This outburst could send the wrong signals to those who are ignorant of the goings-on in our dear state and the PDP. How has my dear governor played politics with ethics? Is it by handing over the administration of the party to his younger brother?
“The last ward and chapter congresses of the state were conducted from the comfort of the living room of his younger brother. He picked and chose who became Ward chairmen in the Wards of National Assembly (NASS) members and even serving commissioners, with total disregard for NASS members or other stakeholders.
“In my own case, when I complained, I was asked to nominate an ex-officio. The governor and his brother treated all of us with levity. That was not the style he inherited. Anyway, in this case, it was a premeditated move to throw us out of politics. Is that what we deserve for being in the forefront of Ayade’s emergence as governor? This claim of ethical politics should be told to the birds.
“Talking about injustice, let’s look at it from the perspective of contemporary issues bordering on his leadership of the party and governance of Cross River state. As leader of the party, he has been unjust, as he appropriates every opportunity to suit his whims and caprices. We are in a democracy and this affords us the opportunity to challenge non participatory and dictatorial decisions.
“We did not give you the party as a franchise. As leader of the PDP in Cross River state, the governor is not a franchise. We got stakeholders. As Governor of Cross River state, why have you killed the industry of businessmen in the state? We had contractors in Cross River state and the governor and I were part of that industry.
“Why are all the contractors within a single family? Why was the Mobile Police Squadron 75, relocated from Ogoja to Obudu? The Inspector General (IG) of Police had approved for it to be located in Ogoja but the governor went to the IG and lobbied for it to be relocated to Obudu. Why do you try to divide us along ethnic lines? Where is the acclaimed justice? Should I tell my own story of how this struggle started? That will come in another epistle. He who goes to equity, must go with clean hands.”
Recall that the governor and Jarigbe had been in a long-drawn battle over who occupies the senatorial seat for Cross River north. While the state chapter of the party, led by the governor, is supporting Dr Stephen Odey, Jarigbe is said to be supported by many National Assembly members. The case was said to have been decided in favour of Jarigbe at the Supreme Court but Odey is the one occupying the seat since he was sworn in some weeks ago.