Drama is playing out in Cross River State between Governor Ben Ayade and one of his former allies, Agba Jalingo, who is also the Chairman of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the state, and publisher of an online newspaper, Cross River Watch.
Recall that Jalingo had, within the last few months, gone public with press statements and figures which sought to expose an alleged misdoings of government, a situation which the Governor described as ‘blackmail’ from a ‘beggar.’
Last week, the Governor had, while flagging of his the trees planting campaign, said, “In Cross River, a man who is begging and does not get what he wants becomes a journalist and starts blackmailing the State. That is not journalism.
“Unfortunately, the period of blackmail is over. The period of writing nonsense and earning a living is over, because no matter what you write, you don’t change the truth.”
Few hours after, the AAC strongman released a salvo in which he described the government as a ‘laughing stock’ in the eyes of all well meaning Cross Riverians.
“It is only Governor Ayade himself and a few of his cronies lingering around him who are still not aware that his Government has become a laughing stock among Cross Riverians and Nigerians alike.
“From beer parlors and motor parks in Calabar to Obudu to Akpabuyo, to boardrooms of concerned stakeholders, people discuss about how Ayade has no direction in Government and these people include some of his closest appointees.
“By the time he will understand what is happening to him, his time in that office would have elapsed and he will find out he was only able to build monuments that his successor will lock up like Tinapa Resort, when he exits.
“More seriously, I wish to challenge Governor Ayade himself to show or tell the people of Cross River State, by way of audio, video or in any other form, what exactly I begged him or asked from him that he did not give me or he should respect himself, respect his high office, stop hallucinating, and shut up!
“I have challenged Governor Ayade several times to embarrass me and shut me up by putting in public what I begged or asked him for. He has no answers. A governor who lacking in moral values to descend to talking about the delayed conception of my wife as a response to my petitions, should have no qualms putting any other information he considers damaging on me out, if he has any.”