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A Leader's Appetite For Devt. Influences Selections Of Those To Work To Achieve Democratic Evidence Otherwise Embezzlement Becomes The Norm
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A Leader’s Appetite For Devt. Influences Selections Of Those To Work To Achieve Democratic Evidence Otherwise Embezzlement Becomes The Norm

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“Political Opportunism As The Bane Of Cross-River Backwardness: The Power Of An Image Maker As A Game Changer In An Election”
– PART (2)

“His Excellency, Senator Liyel Imoke is an exemplary character and a very calm human being highly exposed who talks less but is very astute, upholds integrity and is highly calculative. He is one of those who has helped to sustain the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River state to date as a loyal party man who himself is loyalty personified. Without Liyel’s presence in the PDP, the party would’ve been decimated after the temporary exit of Mr Donald Duke both of whom are the founding fathers of the party in the state including my humble self amongst others some of whom have since left the party. But Duke who was been rumoured had finally returned to his former party, the People’s Democratic Party recently to join his friend Imoke.”

The two names as far as I am concerned are that of Chief Femi Fani-Kayode (FFK) like or hate him, and Chief Dele Mamodu of the Ovation Magazine fame, all of whom are of Yoruba extraction. The two are known for their dexterity and unpredictability in their delivery in the business of defending, marketing, projecting, stimulating actions or attacking opponents of whichever candidate they’re meant to support for higher political office through the campaigns. You can count on these men to dislodge or give any political opponent a run for their money in terms of the defence they establish on behalf of their candidate through good write-ups with in-depth content laced with unbridled attacks to demoralize their rivals. They are equally very eloquent in speaking. I operate in that mould but with propriety. I am proud to say that I have had cause to challenge these outstanding men in their act vehemently on social media in my responses to their various attacks on former President Mohammadu Buhari. To respond to their gushes of attacks you need to be as good as they are in their skilful method of presenting their facts even though sometimes it is full of vitriols and malevolence.”

“I must say this here for emphasis that the purpose of this writeup is to recollect how it all began in our politics and also to celebrate the political history of how democracy was birthed in Cross River, those involved, and to recall the attitude of renegades, backbiters, and how all the tricks and backstabbing that took place then were surmounted and the repetition of what we still found amongst the current actors occur the majority of who are opportunist and persons with no capacity and passion all they know is backbiting and name dropping, taking advantage of weak leadership to manoeuvre through to gain political appointment base on that. It is also to dispel as untrue the unfortunate rumour from my adversaries that I do not often maintain cordial relationships with my associates or political friends, and further that I have fallen out of favour with my very good friends who happened to be the two past governors of my state namely, Mr Duke and senator Imoke. This is not true. The two people meant a lot to me and do admire my driving spirit, sincerity, ingenuity and had my best cooperation in our drive to conquer our rivals when we were together in the same political camp and going forward.”
– Obi Ojage

By OBI OJAGE

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Last week in part (1) of the series I promised I would endeavour to discuss the role of an image-maker as a mass communicator and not the praise singer’s role, campaign manager or director general in achieving distinct success for a candidate in a very crucial election that is usually characterized by mudslinging etcetera and what it takes to be one, their relevance in opinion moulding as an attempt to alter the status quo and change the tide in favour of a particular contender with the declivity to win.

Writing and not speech-making is an act I consider to be more tedious as it involves concentration and a concerted effort to create logical content for easy understanding than speech-making where one just has to speak especially if you’re brought up or born into communicating in the language in use within the circle where you hail or operate and become adapt to it, you’ll be fluent in speaking without gaffe or seen applying any extra skills involved even if you’ve not attended higher education to acquire those skills.

Sometimes riches acquired or the attainment of a high position in life occasioned by easing domestic tension potentially tend to boost one’s confidence and help to enhance Oratory. People can listen and admire a well-delivered speech by an orator but soon after forget easily what was said or the content of such a well-spoken speech if time were not taken to record the messages accordingly. Nonetheless, when one puts up an elucidating and intellectually filled write-up relevant to the issues needing an address, it becomes indelible and highly treasured both by intellectuals and the majority of those who are open to identifying with what is educative and showcases elements that bring out the facts in the matter as they are.

But to sell or restore confidence in an adverse state of contention by a highly brainwashed public in a democratic setting against the image of a man or woman with a dented personality appearing to contest for a higher political office in the system such as in Nigeria, be it an incumbent or incoming, you require more than interest or flair in writing to break such an impasse without delinquencies.

It demands dexterity, and in-depth knowledge of the issues at stake followed by extra spiritual insights into the hearts of humans and their precipitation to attain higher positions in life either by chance or being ordained and the capacity to execute the issues raised in their true context for effective outcomes, especially during political campaigns leading to the elections where a candidate is supposed to win or lose.

To be sincere, I am bold to say here that throughout partisan contestation between candidates throned up to be elected by the major political parties in Nigeria recently, there are just two undisputed and highly gifted media personalities I admire who are uniquely different, pull a lot of stunts and are game changers during political campaigning of the party to which they are any day. The two names as far as I am concerned are that of Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, (FFK) like or hate him, and Chief Dele Mamodu of the Ovation Magazine fame, all of whom are of Yoruba extraction.

The two are known for their dexterity and unpredictability in their delivery in the business of defending, marketing, projecting, stimulating actions or attacking opponents of whichever candidate they’re meant to support for higher political office through the campaigns. You can count on these men to dislodge or give any political opponent a run for their money in terms of the defence they establish on behalf of their candidate through good write-ups with in-depth content laced with unbridled attacks to demoralize their rivals. They are equally very eloquent in speaking.

I operate in that mould but with propriety. I am proud to say that I have had cause to challenge these outstanding men in their act vehemently on social media in my responses to their various attacks on former President Mohammadu Buhari. To respond to their gushes of attacks you need to be as good as they are in their skilful method of presenting their facts even though sometimes it is full of vitriols and malevolence.

Thriving to become a successful print media man or personality is never a tea party, it depends on how wide you’ve read to improve your vocabulary and logic, the skills you’ve acquired as a result of your academic divulgence, openness and the interest and competence you bring to bear on each and everything you put out there for the public to access especially in writing, it must be intellectually rich in content with some aspects of fireside philosophy to spice up the message otherwise your audiences would be limited in scope and you’ll achieve little in your attempt to change the views and opinion already held by those you want to be drawn to your side especially when you’re out to protect and project an image or personality you’ll want to peddle as being the best towards an electorate who are already holding onto a particular sentiment you would have to erase during political campaigns in favour of your candidate. A Leader's Appetite For Devt. Influences Selections Of Those To Work To Achieve Democratic Evidence Otherwise Embezzlement Becomes The Norm

Many people mostly idle mongers, talebearers and opportunists are unaware that I didn’t just metamorphose to the level I am now in my writing skills as an intellectual or a media personality, I evolved. I was a cub reporter for more than two years in the field Publicity Unit of the Ministry of Information, Calabar where we publish our weekly news bulletins immediately after high school, and I was later transferred to head the information office at Akamkpa local government of cross river from where I resigned for higher education.

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So, as you can see, I am not just good at feature writing but I am an exemplary news reporter as well if I want to be because I started by being one. A news reporter is inflexible and more or less constrained or guided by the four “Ws” and one “H” to have a good story put across by strictly exhibiting the ethos of news reporting as a journalist.

Feature writing or articles on the other flank do not require anyone to be a trained journalist per se where you’re made to express those backgrounds training rather it compels you to offer an opinion with a profound knowledge of the subject or issues you intend to dabble into in the area over which you have the grip to canvas for acceptance against what obtains hitherto. So as a good communicator, you must be skilful in both.

HIS Excellency, Senator Liyel Imoke is an exemplary character and a very calm human being highly exposed who talks less but is very astute and highly calculative. He is one of those who has helped to sustain the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) in Cross River state to date as a loyal party man who himself is loyalty personified. Without Liyel’s presence in the PDP, the party would’ve been decimated after the temporary exit of Mr Donald Duke both of whom are the founding fathers of the party in the state including my humble self amongst others some of whom have since left the party. But Duke who was been rumoured had finally returned to his former party, the People’s Democratic Party recently to join his friend Duke.

IMOKE’S ability to sustain loyalty made it possible for persons like Senator John Owan Enoh and Gershom Bassey respectively to become Senators amongst others by force from the power that be who were aided into elective positions at that level at the expense of many who were not too happy with him. It was a painful decision to make at the time considering those involved but it was said to have been done to encourage loyalty, not only to friendship but also to the party, its leadership and its vision.

MY first encounter with Liyel Imoke was in a meeting held in my former house at No. 6, Punch Street Calabar the cross river state, at the instance of Mr Donald Duke where I was to broker peace between them with a maestro the late Chief Dominic Bassey (Mavenco) a bosom friend of mine, to reinforce the alliances Duke had envisioned was necessary to spread the message of change which was the hallmark behind the vision they both had with Imoke in their mission to govern the state which was then in the absolute grip of recidivist consisting of older men who refused to see beyond their noses that made them unwilling to let go power even though the change had eluded the state since the creation of Akwa Ibom state from it, nothing had changed. They crave to do the same thing expecting a different outcome not until the arrival of Duke and Imoke from Lagos to set the pace and open up the political landscape, it may have remained the preserve of rubble-rousers and bulk passes.

HOWEVER, our people especially the young ones began to see and smell change in the choices of words and those recruited by this new group of young political neophytes from Lagos with bantering new ideas required being given a try. Most of the successes recorded by Duke throughout the campaigns leading to the elections were largely due to the support and loyalty Imoke accorded him as the central “object” while he remained the head of both the think-tank and the campaigns proper. Without the meekness exhibited by Imoke and his ability to accommodate those who defer to Duke’s missions, it wouldn’t have had the spread it did in the face of unsavoury opposition group of the so-called Atam-Congress convergence.

Of course, Liyel had told me himself in the course of our discussion in my house then that the role he was playing in the entire struggle we are engaged in to gain power, was exactly what Duke back in Lagos, solicited his help for.

LIYEL was the bridge and go-between for those who wanted the Duke’s attention as the pressure to expand our tentacles beyond the south mounted, not until he convinced him to see reasons why they should man-hunt in search of those who had the grip on the terrain as crowd movers to complement the trust of those we had on our side. And he insisted that they should approach and appeal to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who was head of the PDM group in the country with the Late John Oyum Okpa as his Deputy and the leader of the entire South and the East of the group to join them from Barrister Kanu Agabi (SAN’s) camp which Atiku obliged.

LATE John was offered the position of a running mate to Duke as compensation and the scenario thenceforth changed automatically owing to Imokes foresight. Late John now became both the galvanising strength as deputy to Duke and also one to enlist many of his supporters in droves into the fold across the entire Central and Northern Senatorial District of the state to curtail the Atam Congress intransigence where the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) became the preferred choice across the state.

This galvanisation of support from the double throttle of the inexhaustible fighting spirit engendered by a pair of Imoke and the late John Okpa helped to collapse the entire blocks of structures that were opposed to Duke at both the central and northern senatorial districts respectively which made it possible at this point for the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) to win a majority of the elections entered into and became a formidable force to beat not until the APC took over the reign of power recently through the defection of Ben Ayade who was Governor under it now becoming a member of the APC.

I must say this here for emphasis that the purpose of this writeup is to recollect how it all began in our politics and also to celebrate the political history of how democracy was birthed in Cross River, those involved, and to recall the attitude of renegades, backbiters, and how all the tricks and backstabbing that took place then were surmounted and the repetition of what we still found amongst the current actor’s majority of who are opportunist and persons with no capacity and passion all they know is backbiting and name dropping to gain political appointment base on that. It is also to dispel as untrue the unfortunate rumour from my adversaries that I do not often maintain cordial relationships with my associates, and further that I have fallen out of favour with my very good friends who happened to be the two past governors of my state namely, Mr Duke and Imoke. This is not true. The two people meant a lot to me and do admire my driving spirit, sincerity, ingenuity and had my best cooperation in our drive to conquer our rivals when we were together in the same political camp and going forward.

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People forget that I am a Christ Devotee, one with an independent mind susceptible only to the din of the divine. I don’t breed hate or encourage rift amongst friends in politics and assume that to represent good politics nor encourage political vendetta where I can act as a bridge to reduce detente. I have shown strength in all friendships I enter into by making myself dependable not based on gossip or backbiting but on my ability to make a difference for whosoever I term a friend to count on my ingenuity and trustworthiness. I abhor deceit in whatever guise

These two great men and I had never for once had any form of quarrel or disagreement ever as we both leveraged our strengths as intelligent duds, not our weaknesses and never tolerated gossip or backbiting messages to come in between us as the basis on which our relationships were rooted and which had remained indelible in our minds despite the differences in our earthly acquisition or status which is largely based on our values and desperation towards what we cherish most in our life’s journey.

I have a course to trumpet my admiration for both men and their exemplary leadership style on my platform as pacesetters in the development of our state of Cross River where they were able to identify their priority areas and do well to enhance it for continuation by successive government. Exemplified by some successes many of which were the expansion programme of the state capital by Duke where the city of Calabar was made to stretch beyond the Municipality all through on its way towards Akpabio local government where new buildings sprouted up including a road network and culverts, including emphasises on culture and tourism etcetera.

Imoke on the other hand concentrated more on opening the rural areas and roads to farms amongst others including most significantly the re-channelisation of the volume of water from the highway to decrease the heavy flooding from the city centres to down to the sea. Their ability to curb the pressure of those who desire to serve in their various governments based on political consideration and ethnicity rather than competence and loyalty was also exemplary.

I would like to speak briefly here on the purported and exaggerated rift between Duke and Imoke that wouldn’t have been if a destructive common friend between them were not locked around playing a spoiler role for personal gains. But if ever that existed was largely the fault of Duke. What bound the two was politics and their craving for power. There was nothing like the presence of three wise men of equal standing as speculated. It was barely three associates who were friends and were seen together always but their decision to be involved in our local politics in the state created the rationale in the minds of people in the direction of their being rated jointly as wise men. There was absolutely nothing like that besides Duke’s ambition, whatever each held on to as their future ambition were all in thinner mind due to opening and based on their capacities and acceptance by the people. An example of Liyel becoming Governor after Duke purely based on hard work and his capacity to weather the storm of politics.

The political association between two of the three men was so latent and highly demanding that one was required to subsume his ego to the other to encourage a smooth relationship in their quest to attain this power that was starring in their faces requiring just a little display of wisdom here and there which was synonymous with loyalty in this case scenario as the budden were squarely on the shoulders of the two men to deliver.

As it was then, most of the connections and resources were sought by Duke, and Imoke being the next man had to apply the virtue of loyalty sensibly not to allow the infiltration of ego syndrome to come in between them. So he partnered along in total loyalty to bridge the gap. And because the gestation period to smitten the imbalance took a longer period to calibrate and allow a level playing field, Liyel continued being loyal until the attitude had been absorbed in his subconscious mind which made the loyalty become an attitude exhibited by Imoke whenever he has anything doing with Duke. And that wasn’t a problem either on the part of Imoke or Duke who was less bothered about that more or less.

So even when he became special assistant to the president, Chief Obasanjo and subsequently became Minister of Power in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, his loyalty to the Duke remained the same. And it comes naturally. The problem between the two was Geshiom Bassey being the third person who is now a Senator assisted by Imoke when he became Governor of the state as compensation for the loyalty he also showed him in his position as a minister which was all fictitious as he is never known to be loyal but a boisterous and a highly discriminative person.

His loyalty was meant to spite Duke as Governor before whom he finds no place to exhibit his true self because his friend who has now become Governor could no longer sustain a relationship based on relics with no corresponding wavelength on which to derive mutual benefit which neither exhibits loyalty based on his new office as Governor nor has he the intellectual capacity to offer solutions to improve governance or allow those attracted to the Governor with the capacity to come close to do so than the mere friendship tag placed against the quality of those seeking to join the government on merit and to willingly exhibit an unflinching loyalty to him as Governor. And where they would contribute their quarter of what they have upstairs other than mere friendship.

I was myself a victim of this indifference exhibited by Senator Geshiom Bassey typically who had never encouraged my closeness with Duke as the Governor at the time despite the huge contribution I was making in the areas of conflict resolution, my loyalty and commitment to the Governor’s aspirations and that of the party. But the Governor resisted all of his efforts to breed enmity between us as he did between his benefactor Liyel Imoke and his predecessor Donald Duke. Rather I became his confidant. They’re lessons to learn here.

This is largely why Senator Bassey and myself are politically not best of friends to date. And I care less. The evil that men do, lives after them. There is always another time. He and those like him can gain the whole world from their political exploits full of bitterness and influenced by bigotry for all I care. I dare affirm that I am a small axe characteristically, the presence of a gigantic tree never bothers me but my maker who it is has the right to dismantle me at will.

I am pretty sure that if Duke had allowed the reality of Imoke’s new status both as minister and Governor then, to effect the imbalances that existed between them where the latter showed absolute loyalty and allowed the reverse to be the case on his part and let his friend who was now Governor after being a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to dictate the tune of whatever differences still exist between them considering his friend’s new status, nothing amis would occur. And those like the one-man router in their midst creating the chasm would have nothing else to fall on.

“In the (3) part of the series, I shall discuss the unregretable and unwavering decision I made to work for my candidate Prince Bassy Otu against the candidacy of Senator Sandy Ojang Onor, the Gobarnatoral candidate of the People’s Democratic Party who indeed is my Ejagham junior brother and long-standing friend. And Senator John Owan Enoh both of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) though being Ejagham my tribe, decided instead to advance the course of our party and our candidate Prince Bassey Otu, deployed jointly by using our reach and huge following both in the media and ground forces to whittle down the culminating effect the Ejagham sentiments on whose platform Prof. Onor was to base his campaigns proper as the single largest ethnic majority cut across the entire state, would’ve had on the elections, the travesty and characterization of his aspiration vis-a-vis the divine intervention. All to be discussed here next week. Please stay with me.”

END Time Message!

GOD WITH US…….

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