Ayade’s Regrettable Humiliation by the Church
Notes for File
Perhaps Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, thought it was one of the events where he used to mesmerise the people of the state with donations, verbose and grandiloquent words. But he was wrong on this day as he got the greatest shock of life.
The event was a holy mass held at St. Patrick Catholic Church, in Ikot Ansa, Calabar, the Cross River State capital. It was organised by Obudu-Obanliku Elites Forum, in honour of Justice Agim, who hails from Obanliku, for his elevation to the Supreme Court.
The holy mass officiated by Bishop John Ebele Ayah, also from Obanliku, coincided with the unveiling of the year’s harvest, themed, “harvest of divine intervention.”
Ayade, who was a guest at the event, made a donation of N25million on behalf of the state government, his family and the judiciary arm of the government. After the donation, the governor turned to the direction of the presiding bishop and said: “For our pride, the pride of Cross River North, the son of the soil, Bishop John Ayah, I will whisper my package to him later.”
Knowing his tricks, Bishop Ayah without wasting time, and as it is characteristic of him as a man who is known for always speaking truth to power, rose up, took the microphone and stunned the congregation by rejecting the offer from the governor. He urged him to rather pay salaries of workers in the state.
He said: “I want to appreciate the governor and tell him to package whatever he has for me, add to it and use it to pay the salaries of the workers”.
The bishop’s reaction was greeted with a thunderous ovation of “correct bishop God bless you” by the congregation.
Some civil servants in the state have been owed salaries and arrears for over four years. Last May, the civil servants stormed the office of the Head of Service (HoS) at the state Secretariat in Calabar, chanting solidarity songs and displaying placards with different inscriptions such as “Over four years without salaries, who did we offend? Yet we go to work everyday,” “The injustice too much,” “labourer deserves his wages,” “Governor Ayade please pay us our salary.”
Many people in the state know that the governor is in the habit of making unfulfilled promises to churches and even the traditional institutions. But this time, he met his match in the no-nonsense bishop.