A former Commissioner for Land in Cross River State and a king maker in the palace of the Obong of Calabar, Etubom Bassey Ndem has traced the two days of carnage in Calabar, Akpabuyo, Bakassi and others to politics of vendetta and settling of scores.
In a statement made available to PillarToday, Arch Ndem said the issue of EndSARS which snowballed into the sad events of October 23rd and 24th October 2020 was just an opportunity but that the main issue was a more pernicious trend.
The statement read in part; “What I see is the politics of vendetta and destruction that we are now witnessing for the first time in Cross River State.
“From all indications, these attacks were not spontaneous. Rather, some persons received information a day before, that their properties were marked for destruction. For it to degenerate to the extent that perceived political opponents’ homes and businesses that employ our people, were deliberately targeted, looted and burned speaks of extremely selfish desperation in the quest for political power, and it cannot be in the interest of the common man and youth who were manipulated and used” .
“What manner of hatred against the Governor or other politicians would make some Cross Riverians sponsor mercenaries to burn our heritage and infrastructure to ashes? What manner of jostling for political power would make sons of Cross River plot to make the state even more unsafe or ungovernable , just to score political points?
“This is a monster that all men and women of good conscience, across party lines, must speak out against or it shall consume us all. I hereby join all others to call on our politicians to cease and desist from such self destructive and psychotic behaviour” .
Ndem charged every actor to “sheath his or her sword as you should not kick a man when he is down. Rather, let us all come together with constructive suggestions, to nurse our broken State back to life. My heart is heavy, but even in despair, I see this as an opportunity for a new and improved Cross River State to rise from the ashes. Bitter lessons have been learned by all stakeholders. I commiserate with those innocent people who lost their lives, property and businesses during the mayhem and pray the Almighty comforts you and replaces your coffers a million fold”.
He wished governor Ben Ayade the very best saying, “the buck stops on his table. We voted, but God Almighty put him in that position, at this very difficult and trying time, and it is for a purpose. Let us all join hands to support and engage this Administration, renew our spirits and make up our minds to rise from the ashes and face a new, safe and prosperous Cross River State”
On the comment by the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, who was quoted as saying that an interim government or administration be put in place for Ayade to step aside, he said, “perhaps, unsurprisingly, some of the headlines that followed were sensational and obviously a mischievous attempt to pitch the revered Monarch against the Governor and cause even more chaos.
“This insinuation contradicts the official reconciliatory statement issued by the Obong two days after the carnage and the subsequent statement should not be quoted out of context and become subject to manipulation and subterfuge by those whose interest is inimical to the overall interest of the State”.
Ndem who is most likely to enter the governorship race ahead of 2023, called on media practitioners “to be more circumspect and constructive about the kind of headlines they put out in the social media echo chamber. This is not the time to add fuel to an already raging fire”.