Duke's Unholy Attack On Imoke

Source: pointblanknews.com

When some people describe politics as dirty business, they may not be far

from the truth. Those who are really averse to the 'profession' stay away

from it and have chosen to remain apolitical. These people say they fear

politics because the actors play it without the fear of God and a complete

absence of conscience. And as Thomas Hobbes would call political power –

the leviathan (monster), those who seek it appear to wear the garb of

monstrosity. The twists and turns of it gives it the semblance of no holds

barred. Politics has no face, no front and it cultivates brambles for the

planting of blackberries. Blackberries are good but brambles are thorny.

If you must eat blackberries, you must be ware of thorns. While in war the

soldier knows his enemies, the battle lines, when to retreat, when to

advance, the politician's greatest adversary is his best friend. This must

be a dangerous indulgence. With the panoply of booby traps, outsmartings,

outmaneuverings, bickering, lies and slander, backstabbing, envy,

jealousy, hatred, failed promises, deception, violence, killings and

maiming and all other negative factors, it still more than other

professions enjoy uncontrollable influx of participants. It is for the

negative tendencies, that Sir Winston Churchill, the war time Prime

Minister of Britain during the first World War suffered no pretensions

when he said – “political skill consists in the ability to predict what

would happen next week, month or year and to have the same ability

afterwards to explain why it did not happen”. He should also have added

that it consists in the ability to explain why a governor may have

governed his people with the attributes of Benito Mussolini's Fascism and

cowed the people to submission and faced an outcry of rejection but

resurfaces eight years after brandishing a message of hate for his

This exposition is a prelude to the events leading to the 2015 general

elections in Cross River State. The serenity of the state is being

challenged by those who know no other method than bellicosity. Their

campaign language is becoming inclusive of vituperations and the venting

of condensed anger, simmering rage and bitterness.

On the 6th of November, 2014, I was both worried and sorry that Donald

Duke speaking during the reception organized by them for Goddy Agba

(gubernatorial aspirant) descended from an Olympian height to employ

Hitler's anti-Semitic theory of blaming someone (in Hitler's case, the

Jews) to distract the people and gain power. This strategy is bereft of

peace as someone is bound to pay for another's guilt.

In the weekend Chronicle of Friday April 2, 2010, I published an article

titled – Between Liyel Imoke and Donald Duke. As early as that time,

barely one year or two after Imoke had taken over power, the cordial

relationship between His Excellency, Senator Liyel Imoke and his

predecessor, His Excellency Mr. Donald Duke built on mutual trust was

beginning to turn sore. Due to this, Donald Duke contemplated moving over

to another party (Labour Party) as the speculations were everywhere. Most

of us did not like the idea as it would amount to pulling the rug under

Imoke's feet. This article was intended to remind him that such move is

only typical of ambitious people who move together to achieve a common

purpose after which individual ambitions take over and cause the breaking

of such union. I warned in that article that if that development is not

halted, thinking men would conclude that it amounts to a situation where a

man may say because I have drawn water from that well, let it dry up.

This development worked against their time projection which they had

agreed that working together, they would hold and control power for a very

long time. No sooner was Duke out of power than the dream became blurred

and he began to scheme its destruction. Stalwarts like Ntufam Ekpo Okon

and Venatius Ikem then avowed supporters of Imoke vociferously condemned

this attempted death blow on Imoke. In fact, they said unprintable things

about Duke. In the face of this condemnation and the ever watchful eyes

and listening ears of the irrepressible generalissimo, Obasanjo, the quick

witted maestro, Duke suspected reprisals by the entrapments of the EFCC or

ICPC, so he backed down. Having been helmed in by the ever watchful eyes

of these anti-graft bodies, Duke decided to lie low and do nothing but bid

his time.
In his speech on that occasion at the reception in honour of Goddy Agba,

to possibly claim that his long absence from the political scene was

deliberate, he said he was like the dinosaur. The dinosaur could be

extinct but it was all the same a monster that was feared when it existed.

How true such illustration could be! The question is, do we need to hold

someone or each other by the jugular to gain control of political power?

It is not worth it when you consider how fluid such things can be. It is

worrisome indeed that our leaders have forgotten that the state they have

reached is the state where diplomacy is most needed. When a man has become

governor, he has as much as I know reached a state to be counted among the

pantheon of our national leaders. And at a point, he could even be

referred to as elder statesman when he may have reached an age to count

his years downwards. How can you merit this regard if you never allowed

forbearance, wisdom and sanity to prevail?
I am worried when it appears that the little expression that time heals

wounds could outrightly be negated when a man could nurse his animosities

for almost a lifetime waiting for the total kill.
If from all that Duke said, he meant to prove to the world that Imoke is a

failure, he must have forgotten out of acrid bitterness and haste to

deliver killer punches that Imoke's trail of woes began when he inherited

an empty treasury and a staggering debt burden. As a true friend, vilified

for no known or just reason, Imoke on assumption of office tried very hard

to block tales of financial impropriety and misdemeanor so as not to put

his friend at great ridicule. He would not hear about it nor discuss it.

Many people insisted to exhaust their agitations over what they called

squandermania, profligacy, buccaneering achievements and a publicity

conscious government that was overrated by the press. What was achieved

was not commensurate with government claims. Most of the people who felt

so excited to make such remarks were the elders who were so chastised for

their held views over issues which ran counter to his beliefs that such

elders fearing reprisals fled the state. I am not sure that they may even

at this time have recovered from that fear and shock.

Whatever is on ground in the state since 2007 when Imoke took over is as a

result of his ingenuity. How could anyone have succeeded with an empty

treasury? This claim could be justified by what Donald himself

inadvertently said. He said that some of our neighbouring states, go home

every month with about 20 billion from the Federation account while Cross

River State goes home with a paltry 2 billion naira.

When Duke was in power, Imoke gave him every support he needed to succeed.

When Imoke came to power, Duke not only turned away his face, he attempted

to pull everything down. The opportunity to carry out his long scheme

presented itself with the coming of Goddy Agba for the governorship race.

Duke realized that Goddy would provide the much needed financial resources

and he would flaunt his former respectable position to bring Goddy under

his canopy, protection and direction to haul his arsenals and assaults on

his avowed enemy to extract revenge by which he would be mollified.

Openly Donald told Goddy Agba that this fight was not Goddy's but his

(Duke's). The question is, how long would you fight against an assumed

opponent may be “enemy” who is not ready to go to battle with you?

Possibly, your excitement to go to battle against such an opponent (enemy)

is because you assume that his pliability means that he has acquiesced.

Secondly, if during your reign as governor you were a dinosaur and feared

as such, are you saying that the government of Goddy Agba (that is if at

all he becomes governor) which you are championing should replicate your

methods? This is sad because metaphorically, the word dinosaur by the

Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary description refers to a person or

thing that is old fashioned and cannot change in the changing conditions

of modern life. This is self-explanatory in view of the old unforgiving

animosities he habours.
Thirdly, it is quite absurd and almost an enormity to attempt to implant

violence in the mind of Goddy Agba as you make him to believe that Cross

River State is a theatre of war.
As Governor of Cross River State you undoubtedly made some marks, yes, you

did! You left some legacies, yes! One of your most fundamental legacies

was the cleanliness of the urban centres especially Calabar. In the same

vein, Imoke is leaving some very fundamental legacies to be remembered by

posterity. One of such is peace. Peace is very key to the galvanization

and harnessing of our resources both human and economic. So if you put

this two on the weigh balance, there is likely to be a tilt to one side.

Cleanliness is external though with something to do with the mind. But

peace has got entirely to do with the mind and the spirit. It is more

difficult to achieve peace than cleanliness.
While His Excellency Donald Duke concentrated development in the urban to

the exclusion of the rural communities, Imoke did not abandon the urban

centres. He improved on what was on ground and shifted attention to the

rural people who had never been so patronized. In fact about 75% of Cross

Riverians began to experience a sense of belonging.

More than this, Imoke insists on instilling a sense of fairness and equity

on the psyche of Cross Riverians. It was based on this that Imoke insisted

that power must shift to the North who have been abandoned and neglected

and who if it had to go by free for all may have again been submerged by

political intrigues.
However, when that exercise was being pursued by Imoke, we are aware that

some people who think that they must now come to limelight to shine were

never in complete support of this shift of power. Imoke did it almost

single handedly in case someone is forgetting.
Imoke has also exemplified the lesson of forbearance. That is why you

hardly see him reply supposed opponents with the same snag.

However, what is in front of us now is not a fight or warfare. We do not

need to trade tackles to achieve our aims. We do not need to betray

ourselves to the outside world. We do not need unforgiveness otherwise we

would be throwing the state into turmoil and darkness even if we win the

election. What we have in front of us is a political struggle to put a

worthy and deserving successor to Imoke.
When Imoke became governor he used superior and peaceful methods even when

it was obvious that his predecessor and bosom friend had recanted and

reneged on the initial plan of succession. He never abused Duke or

disagreed openly with him to the extent that Cross Riverians began to

imagine that Imoke fears Duke.
It is typical of human nature that they approbate and reprobate. Duke

knows this fact very well. That is why he thinks that people have

forgotten or even forgiven him to the point that they listen to him

lambast innocent people. This approach of giving a dog a bad name to hang

it is an ungodly way of killing innocent people. And anything that is not

of God brings calamities to the people.
I know that Cross Riverians realize this facts and as smart people who

cherish their peace, they would reject every attempt by such people to

foist themselves on the people. Anything that would dislocate and

disorganize the peace that Imoke had helped to engender in the state would

be unacceptable.
Let me use this medium to remind the Presidency and the National Working

Committee (NWC) of the PDP that as they are looking into the crises in the

State following the last delegate elections, they should realize that

through the instrumentality of His Excellency, Senator Liyel Imoke, the

party has been stabilized in the state for sixteen years. From 1999 to

2007 during Duke's reign, Imoke was the stabilizing agent of the party.

That was why Donald's henchmen at the time such as the State Chairman of

the PDP Sunny Abang, Mr. Geshum Bassey, the present Deputy Governor to

Imoke Barrister Efiok Cobham, who was then State Secretary of the Party

and Ntufam Ekpo Okon, then Commissioner for Works who doubled as the NDDC

Commissioner shunned Duke when he no longer wanted his friend to succeed

him. These men stood with Imoke because he offered better leadership to

them even as Obasanjo's Minister of Power and Steel. He showed more

concern to the wellbeing of the party than Duke did and since he swung

support to himself and became governor against the wish of Donald, he had

never found it easy to reconcile with this fact.
It would therefore be good to take all these into consideration in

handling Cross River matter in Abuja so that the party will continue to

enjoy the victory and successes it has recorded over the years in the

Hon. Moses Oko
S/A to the Governor on Orientation & Public Affairs

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