There have been mixed reactions following the call by the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, at the weekend that Governor Ben Ayade should step aside and learn from an interim administration.
Speaking when a delegation led by former Governor Liyel Imoke paid him a courtesy visit following the devastating destruction that took place in Calabar, the Obong stated that if it was within his powers, he would have asked Governor Ayade to wait for an interim administration to take over so he can learn from the administration.
While some imminent persons in the state have condemned the Obong’s statement, others pointed out that the traditional ruler’s assertion was a reflection of Governor Ayade’s poor crisis management ability.
Reacting to the issue, political leader of Northern Cross River State, Chief Linus Okom, said such a call could lead to anarchy and that as a leader; the Obong ought to have been more temperate in his speech.
He said: “I believe the Obong must have been misquoted or his statement taken out of context but if he actually said it, then that is unfortunate because the office of governor is not that of a village meeting position.
“Even at that, the chairman of a village meeting cannot be removed arbitrarily without due process. Governance is a tedious task and it is not proper to apportion blame without a careful and thorough appraisal of the issues at stake.
Governor cannot resign by somebody’s fiat.” Also speaking on the matter, a political leader and veteran journalist Dr Matthias Oko, said: “If the call by Obong for the governor to resign is because of the EndSARs protest, which was hijacked by hoodlums, did he not hear that the protests and destruction were not peculiar to Cross River State.
So, why single out the governor of our state and asking him to resign?” On his part, former Chairman of Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC, Mr Godie Akpama, said, “The Obong has no constitutional powers or traditional role to call on the governor of the state to resign.
The governor was voted by people of the state, who are about four million though the result shows four hundred thousand. Therefore one individual cannot ask the governor to resign.”
Also rejecting Ayade’s resignation call, Bishop Etim Ekpatt, Presiding Bishop of Victory International Centre, Calabar and former Chairman of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, Cross River said: “If it is their brother, would they ask him to resign? Clearly there is a failing but that is not to say the governor should be asked to resign.”
A former member representing Ogoja/Yala at the House of Representatives, Peter Igbodor, said he doesn’t agree totally with the position of the monarch, stating that he should have looked for a way to talk to the governor in private and not openly the way he did.
On his part, an APC stalwart and former House of Assemby member, Cletus Obun, said he totally agrees with the Obong though, constitutionally, it’s not attainable.
He said: “I agree with the Obong of Calabar on this, even though it does not have any place in our constitution. The kind of governance we have seen in the last five years is abysmal and what the Obong posited is nothing but the truth.”
According to a former aide to Governor Ayade and social critique, Ray Ugba Murphy, though the Nigerian constitution does not allow such, the Obong of Calabar spoke the minds of a huge number of CrossRiverians.