By Eddy Odivwri
Did you hear of the unAfrican conduct of one of the youngest and most educated governors in the country?
UnAfrican conduct? Who? Where?
Did you not hear that the Governor of Cross River State, Professor Ben Ayade has been beating some people and forbidding them from crying? Where does that happen in Africa? It is bad enough that you beat a child, yet it is worse that you forbid the child from crying.
Stop dancing round the bush. Who did Gov Ayade beat?
You must be the only stranger in Jerusalem. You mean you did not hear that the professor governor ordered the sack of 30 Magistrates from the state judiciary for daring to protest non-payment of their salaries for 24 months?
Oh, is it that case?
So you know of it?
Yes, don’t you know it is very unethical for magistrates and Judges to protest? It is an embarrassment to the profession and to the government. For crying out loud, are they ASUU member or secondary school teachers? Haba! Don’t they have a kind of union to table their matter before the governor, so it can be sorted out? Protesting on the street is like dancing naked in the market square. The embarassment is monumental, and it is doubly worse by the fact that the supposed custodians of judicial ethos are the very ones who desecrated the dignity, order and gait associated with the legal profession.
What silly grammar are you speaking? What is unethical about asking to be paid your salary if your employer feigns ignorance that he is owing you, which was what the whole so-called protest was all about? You talk about union: why should a responsible governor or government need a union to get hired workers paid? Is it not wickedness to engage a people and refuse to pay them?
Is it ethical and professional that Magistrates should be starved? Is this your talk about Ethics, a means of exchange that can be taken to the market in exchange for food? What a bestial argument! A people are owed for two full years and you talk about ethics. What rubbish! How are they expected to survive and feed their families if they would not be paid for two full years, back-to-back?
Don’t mop at me, answer me!
You amaze me with your tirade. Do you know if indeed the so-called magistrates were not hired properly by the state government and so the demand for salary does not arise in the first place?
Look, that is Bunkum with a capital B! What kind of warped argument is that? Were these magistrates not sitting over cases for the two years? Did the government not recognize their rulings and functions in the dispensation of justice in the state? Why didn’t the government stop them from sitting all along, if they were not so properly hired?
Government is enjoying their service without wanting to pay? Was it government that sent them to university and the Law School? Or did they sign any bond of slavery with the state government as to work and not be paid?
Look, they were suspended from sitting. They were not sacked. The statement by the Acting Chief Judge in the state, Eyo Effion Ita says they have been withdrawn from sitting “till further notice”. So do not be too absolute in tearing Gov Ayade down.
My friend, do not hide under the torn umbrella of semantics in this matter. Whether you suspended them or sacked them, the question remains : is the state government owing them or not? If yes, why? If No, why not?
But you know that Prof Ayade is a very humane and emotional person who will not like to hurt anybody. Have you forgotten how he once broke down over his belief that he had not done enough for the ordinary folks in the state? How can such a person roll out against respected judicial officers in the state?
Are you asking me? You should ask the governor himself. What is good for the goose is also good for the ganders? If Ben Ayade is owed for one year, would he take it?
Do you know that one of the magistrates, Richard Edet, slumped and fainted during the protest, most likely because of hunger and exhaustion? Is that fair to fellow human beings, let alone guardians of justice?
Look, I can tell you that as a professor of virology, the governor knows the full import of physiology. And as a young man, he is one of the budding national leaders who are determined to create and project a new narrative in public governance. So, I enjoin you to check again, because the people of Cross River State are literally having a ball with their governor whose governance model is quite out of the box.
I don’t care about all the adulations you pour on him. So long as he does not reinstate those sacked magistrates and pay them their salaries without further delay, many Nigerians will consider Professor Ben Ayade a heartless and even wicked political office holder. So let him do the needful without further pummeling the magistrates.
It is only in doing that that the professor can justify his level of learnedness and that he is different from the order of jaded politicians who thinks of themselves alone. He should be conscious of the legacies he leaves behind. He is almost half way through in his second term. Donald Trump should teach some people some lessons. A word is enough for the wise!