Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Is all well with these two?


Opinion




For keen observers of Cross River State politics, it is obvious that the state commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu enjoys a harmonious relationship with the First Lady of the state, her Excellency, Dr. Mrs. Linda Ayade as they are often called mother and child and seen in as such in public.

But recent happenings indicate that all might not be well between both mothers and professional colleagues. They seem to be a crack in their relationship as a recent publication published this morning by an aide to the First Lady took a swipe at the commissioner calling her a sycophant. 


It all started last Sunday during the International Women's Day celebration for 2020 where the Honorable Commissioner for Health Cross River State, Dr. Betta Edu likened Her Excellency, Dr. Linda Ayade, Wife of Cross River State Governor as the present-day Mother Theresa. 

This was during her brief interaction with newsmen after a Sunday morning service at Saint Bernard Parish. Dr. Edu further noted that Her Excellency is her woman crush, mentor and inspiration to the younger generation. She called on all women to emulate her good qualities and humanitarian services for the betterment of Cross River State.


This might not have gone down well with some Cross Riverians who criticized the commissioner for likening the governor's wife to Mother Theresa. Prominent among these critics was that of a social media influencer based in Abuja, Mr. Simon Utsu, who questioned what the First Lady has done to deserve such a name tag? 


In his criticism, Ustu wrote thus: 

There's nothing I hate in politics like sycophancy. Today is international women's day and like Dr. Obasesam Okoi rightly observed, some Snr govt appointees in my state took turns to lavish the wife of my Governor with all sorts of superlative praises. One that really caught my attention was that of a female commissioner who referred to her as "the Mother Theresa of our time". 


Like seriously? Dr. Linda Ayade akin to Mother Theresa and Cross River still has the highest number of almajiris(street kids) in the Southsouth & southeast combined? Obioma Imoke devoted a fair amount of energy as the first lady to the motherless babies. What's Madam Linda's pet project focus? Isn't it poetry or something? Apart from the annual visiting of the orphanages(on her birthday) to distribute a couple of dozen cartons of Noodles and some rolls of tissue paper, the most reoccurring project that I see tagged to her is one poetry award where people get to write & recite poems and win prizes.



 Is that who is being compared to Mother Theresa? Ha! If you want to describe the first lady of Cross River, you can say she's beautiful, you can also say she's intelligent because I've heard her communicate before a couple of times but please stop comparing her to even Mother Theresa's shadow until at least she does something considerable towards the rehabilitation of the close to 1,000 street kids in the state capital.



Responding to the criticism, Pastor Fred Abua, an aide to the First Lady noted that, 

"Every public figure will get their fair share of sycophancy and adulation from those who aim to gain from so doing. In fact, I have come to learn that politics in Nigeria and perhaps everywhere else is dominated by those who have mastered the art of praise-singing, public commentary, criticism and standing in front of cameras to insult the less privileged with peanuts. 

It is no surprise that the gentle, self-effacing, compassionate, cerebral, spiritual and homely Dr. Linda Ayade can be called 'Mother Theresa' and many other names by these people in order to gain her attention and favor. Of course, there are others, many others, who may adulate her with these wonderful titles in the expression of what she truly means to them without expectation of further reward – and I know she has done a lot for many people!

What is surprising though, is that one should – instead of attacking the praise-singers – begin to insult the governor's wife because another has praised her.


In my opinion for Fred would have gone ahead to list the good works of her excellency instead of roping Dr. Betta Edu in his rejoinder. Why will he call her sycophants and Praise Singer and finally why will he ask Utsu to target his criticism to Dr. Betta instead of the First Lady? 

The above questions, gives rise to the question, is all well between Dr. Mrs Ayade and Dr. Betta Edu? 

I believe, her excellency must have gone through this piece by pastor Fred and approved it for publishing, didn't she see that her aide had taken a swipe at her friend? Or is it a deliberate act to send a message across to her? 





Pastor Fred's rejoinder reads Thus: 

DR. LINDA AYADE DOES NOT WANT TO BE MOTHER THERESA; SHE IS SATISFIED WITH BEING LINDA AYADE

Every public figure will get their fair share of sycophancy and adulation from those who aim to gain from so doing. In fact, I have come to learn that politics in Nigeria and perhaps everywhere else is dominated by those who have mastered the art of praise-singing, public commentary, criticism and standing in front of cameras to insult the less privileged with peanuts. 

It is no surprise that the gentle, self-effacing, compassionate, cerebral, spiritual and homely Dr. Linda Ayade can be called 'Mother Theresa' and many other names by these people in order to gain her attention and favor. Of course, there are others, many others, who may adulate her with these wonderful titles in the expression of what she truly means to them without expectation of further reward – and I know she has done a lot for many people!

If Mother Theresa could peek at those who try to protect her name, she would cringe at their callousness and lack of sensitivity! This is not what she stood for! Some of those who knew her certainly despised her too – or she would have had more provisions to change the world. 

We unnecessarily lash out at those who have found themselves in the political space as though they do not have feelings anymore. 

What is surprising though, is that one should – instead of attacking the praise-singers – begin to insult the governor's wife because another has praised her. Dr. Linda has never claimed to be a Mother Theresa or a superhuman; she will only do her bit to make the life of the next man better. This she has continued to do personally and through her political organization, CROWEI, and her pet project with purely humanitarian intents, the Mediatrix Development Foundation, MDF.

MDF has a 5-year strategic plan that was developed in 2016. The 3-Day process was fully funded by the UN and several UN agencies participated in developing this strategic plan. As I write, MDF is in partnership with many organizations, including 3 UN agencies to implement several projects within the four thematic areas of the organization. It is the first time a governor's wife in Cross River State is getting funding and support from UN agencies – Don't tell me that the UN is stupid!

There are those who say she is not at par with past governors' wives politically, philanthropically and socially. I will not respond to them because they are just fishing; they have no empirical evidence of the work of these other First Ladies so there is no basis for comparison. It is not too long ago since Her Excellency, Obioma Imoke left office. So, we remember all the mud they slung at her for making efforts to save these same street children that the same critics now use as her shining achievements. 

Beyond all that, Dr. Linda Ayade is not in competition with the wives of past governors of Cross River State; she is following her own dreams and doing her own things. She has carried out 20 community-based and 9 school-based outreaches in 8 LGAs of Cross River State; her Hunt Malaria Initiative has donated computers for clubs in 40 schools cutting across the Southern, Central and Northern Senatorial Districts of Cross River State; 20,000 persons were reached with Behaviour Change Communication on Malaria, HIV, Domestic Violence and Cancer Care interventions; MDF's livelihood interventions have reached the Cameroun refugee communities in Cross River and the Benue States affecting more than 20,000 beneficiaries; I won't add those she has saved from the clutches of child molesters, etc. 

Being a medical practitioner, she has focused a great deal on medical assistance, leading her to sponsor about 6 medical outreaches across the various zones of the state in which the less privileged benefit from various services including major surgeries – all without charge.

Dr. Linda Ayade will certainly do more as the US Embassy and two other organizations are about to start new projects with her for vulnerable people but we are aware that critics will not be satisfied with her commitment to the poor. I beg those who say street children have numbered 1 million in Calabar to do their own bit of goodness; get one child off the streets into school. Posting derogatory messages about leaders on FB might pay you but it does not help them.

There is neither time nor space to list those who persistently criticized the government and were seen as Messiahs by the believing public until a 'smart' government brought them in and they melded into the system and started singing a different song!

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