Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Cross River Watch online news media, Comrade Agba Jalingo who also reigns as Chairman of African Action Congress (AAC) party in Cross River State has accused the state governor, Sen. Ben Ayade of sponsoring “murderous gangs in Obudu who are unleashing deaths and kidnappings for ransom”.
According to Comrade Agba, his party has resolved to seize the governor’s second tenure to ask questions about the four billion naira (N4billion) the governor withdrew from the Joint Local Government Account few days to the last elections, even as they plan to uncover the governor’s ulterior motives for aspiring to claim lands in three communities measuring up to 9km for a promise to build a 1st class airport in Obudu when the super highway, deep seaport, spaghetti flyover, calachika farm and other “big” Ben Ayade projects are still but artworks in the governor’s mind.
The Obudu born activist made loud his voice in an open letter he sent to the governor entitled: “I Dare Governor Ayade To Arrest And Prosecute Me”.
Comrade Agba who is already under the governor’s threat to keep shut or be thrown to jail told the governor that he actually wants the governor to humiliate him.
“Now, let me make it clear that Ayade as governor of Cross River state, has all it takes to arrest me and humiliate me and prosecute me and even put me in jail. I do not have any doubt about that in my mind. After all, he is governor. Having said that, I also want to make it clear that, that is exactly what I want now,” Agba said.
On why he is ‘letting his cat out’ at this point in time, Agba said “Our governor has gone out of control. With a weak and placated House of Assembly, surrounded by commissioners and aides who lack courage to question his decisions even when they are wrong, surrounded also by acquaintances who see his rise to governor as a finger of God and consider all his decisions right, the governor has developed a “messianic” mentality, where he now feels that no one should express contrary opinion to what he considers right”.
In Agba’s belief, the governor’s refusal to conduct local government elections for about three (3) years now, plus, the secrecy with-which the governor guides his budgets since 2016 were enough reasons for citizens to ask questions – which is what he has decided to do and would not stop no matter the intimidation.
Below are excerpts from Jalingo’s open letter to the governor:
“I have personally written about some of the governor’s projects that I consider in my opinion, vital to opening up our State. I have spent money to do animated videos of the superhighway, rice seedlings factory, deep sea port etc to promote what I believe are laudable projects of the governor. The governor did not commission me to do all these. But he was delighted with the outcomes.
“Now that I am critical of some of the governor’s projects and their plausibility, he is threatening me with prosecution and jail as if I care.
“You withdraw N4billion Naira from LG Joint Account, just days before the last election and you don’t want citizens to ask questions?
“Is it your money?
“You want to go and annexe community lands in Obudu in the name of building airport and you don’t want us to ask questions?
“Is your position not a public office?
“2019 budget is passed in secret. Previous budgets under your 4 years remain a secret and you don’t want us to ask questions?
“Is it your personal budget?
“You refuse to conduct LG elections for over 3 years and you don’t want to be asked questions?
“Are you bigger than our constitution?
“You support murderous gangs in Obudu who are unleashing deaths and kidnappings for ransom and you don’t want us to ask questions?
“Are you not the CSO of our state?
“The governor has said I should stop sending anything to him again but I assure you I have not stopped and will not stop sending.
“Governor, if you block me on Whatsapp, I will send sms, if you block me on sms, remember I know your verified Facebook ID. If you still block me, I will bring my petitions to your house either in Abuja or Calabar. If you refuse to open gate for me, I will carry placards, invite my media friends and sing aluta songs in front of your gate, you will watch it on television. If your security decides to arrest me, I would have achieved my aim.
“Arrest me. Prosecute me and jail me. That is exactly what I want from you right now. I am ready. Both mentally and physically. Because I am not going to stop asking these questions that irritate you so much. It won’t matter to me whether you get angry or not. Take me to jail for asking questions and everyday I spend in jail will diminish you. I will keep talking from jail. I still won’t be quiet.
“Even if you decide to kill me, death is but one of the characteristics of every living thing. You too shall die. Everything shall die. Even death itself shall die after killing every life. But like your middle name says, “Bengioshuye”. No one knows tomorrow.
“As you resume your second term, prepare answers. I now wear a new cap of responsibility and I must stay up to it. I have a constituency. I am now the state Chairman of our young party, AAC. Members of our party and the generality of Cross Riverians will dog after your heels in your second term. We need answers not threats. That is what will work more efficiently.
“1460 days is what you have left. It’s not a very long time. Your desire to return to the Senate in 2023, which is also making you more nervy is in the hands of God. But till then, there is a lot of work to do within the next 48 months. We want you to do it more transparently. That is why we are asking questions.
“Lastly, I am in no fight with the governor; so you don’t get it twisted. I can’t fight a governor. I don’t have the wherewithal to make fight with a governor. If he wants to deal with me, he has all the capacity to. He can bundle me from anywhere. Remember how Ifere Paul was bundled from Abuja. He can also bundle me from Lagos. But that won’t even be necessary because I am coming to Calabar after the weekend and I will let him know that I am around. And from Taiwan where he has travelled to, he can then ask for my arrest and jailing which I am ready to endure and wait him out.
“But to think I will be threatened to stop asking these questions is a big fat lie.
Citizen Agba Jalingo.”