By Magnus Effiong
A Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Akpabuyo local government area of Cross River and Commissioner for Rural Transformation, Hon Edem Okokon Effiom, has berated former governor, Donald Duke, for an alleged verbal attack on Gov Ben Ayade, saying such action was unbecoming of Statesmen such as Donald Duke
Recall that the former governor was quoted as saying, last week, during the inauguration of campaign council of the State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Calabar, that with the underperformance of Gov Ayade, the next governor would have an uphill task to reinvent the State.
“I am worried about development in the state, a whole generation had been lost. We know where the state ought to be by now. The plan was that we would have been governing the state without relying on federal allocation by now. The plans were all laid out. Whole paradise had been lost. This is certainly not the best of time to govern Cross River State,” Duke was quoted to have said.
Reacting, Hon Etfiom said he was disappointed in Duke’s utterances, saying casting aspersions on a sitting governor in such a manner was ungentlemanly, and therefore urged the former governor to retrace his steps.
He said: “Those who live in glass houses do not throw stones. His Excellency, Mr Donald Etim Duke is someone we admire so much as both a former governor and an Akpabuyo son, but for eight years of Donald Duke’s administration, how many people did he empower in Akpabuyo. Those of us from Akpabuyo have not seen even a culvert he could point to and say ‘yes, I did this.’
“In 1999, the entire South, both the ANPP and PDP collapsed structures to vote for Mr Duke. Yes, he initiated the Tinapa Resort, the Marina resort and remodeled Obudu Cattle Ranch Resort but the question is: What was the economic spin off effect of those projects on the people?
“How many people can His Excellency Mr Duke point to and say ‘when I constructed Tinapa, they benefitted from the construction? Rather we had contractors who came in from Lagos, Port Harcourt and other places to cart away what would have righty belong to our people. If you go to Obudu find out how many people Prof. Ben Ayade has made.
“Okay, let’s talk of his style of politics, how many of his people did he empower? His style of governance was considered rigid and anti-people. He was the first Cross Riverian to arrest and lock up the Obong of Calabar. This is considered a sacrilege and an abomination in our society
“For bringing the Obongship stool to disrepute only set a mark for others to trample upon the revered stool. I don’t think any Cross River state governor ever did that to the traditional leadership of the area where they come from. It was indeed bad.
“In 1999, the southern senatorial people stood by Mr Donald Duke to win his election and today, he is busy campaigning against the very people who stood by him to make him what he is. What moral justification does he have to do this?
“Today, our son, Senator Prince Bassey Edet Otu, is contesting the governorship, thanks to His Excellency Senator Professor Ben Ayade’s sense of equity and fairness. The Governor stood his ground that power should return to the South after sixteen solid years and unfortunately, we have another son of the south, Donald Duke, who is disparaging and saying no, it should rather go to the central. On what platform is he standing to say it is not the turn of the south? What is his justification?
“Let those supporting Donald Duke know that at the fullness of time, all of us would always find our ways to our father’s compound and then we will know whether His Excellency, Donald Duke would find his way to Nsofang in Etung (where Senator Sandy Onor, PDP guber candidate hails from) or Akpabuyo.
“We have seen what His Excellency, Senator Professor Ben Ayade has done for not only the Obudu people but the entire people of Cross River State and yet someone would have the temerity to disparage him.
“What has Duke done for the good of his own people? Few months ago, Duke spoke glowingly of Governor Ayade and today, he is calling him names. What has suddenly gone wrong? Is it in the name of politics? Politics without ethics is a disaster waiting to happen.
“Those from the South supporting Duke’s position against the south can continue to do so and keep quite because it favours them today but they should sit down and think about the future of their children,” he stated, and urged Mr Donald Duke not to cast aspersion on Governor Ben Ayade any longer.