Former Governor Duke appeals to youths against further violence in Calabar
BY our Admin.
Former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke on Sunday arrived Calabar from Lagos and took an assessment tour of the city where widespread violence started on Friday evening with the looting government warehouses where COVID-19 palliatives and food items were stored.
The violence continued the next day, Saturday with the looting and wanton destruction of property belonging to the government, politically exposed individuals and some private businesses despite the curfew announced by the state governor, Senator Ben Ayade.
Duke appealed to youths to allow peace reign in the State and to forgive the leaders; both former and current leaders in the state, noting that what happened in Calabar, the State capital is deeper than meets the eyes.
According to him, there should be “short term, medium term and long term approach to addressing the situation”.
Adding, “I know the governor and his government must be meeting today, not just to deal with the immediate occurrences, but also in an attempt to address this so that in future it never happens. “Whatever measure the government takes, one thing must remain constant; we must be sincere. We must be absolutely sincere. It is not enough to make heated and emotional exchanges at this time. We must mean what we say and say what we mean.”
Duke noted that if what happened in Calabar “goes on or if it ever happens again, our state is finished; completely finished”.
His words, “People may look at it this time as a one off occurrence, but if it ever happens again, then, you can write off this state. Talking about hospitality, that uniqueness is gone.”
“Different parts of the country are boiling; it’s a national problem that has been festering for a very long time. But we need to deal with it in our own state right now.”
Asked what he would do in the situation, he said, “the first thing I will like to do is; I know that there is a curfew and I know that it is difficult to reach out to these groups; that is why I am talking to you so that you may help disseminate the information. One, let’s assure them that they are not alone. That we understand their sympathies; Let them know that those things that they took, those things are transient.”
“For me, what is more potent is the state of their minds. You can replace a television set. You can replace furniture that had been burnt. You can even replace a house. You can’t replace a life. It’s difficult to rebuild a bruised mind.”
“What we saw yesterday was minds of young people that have been bruised. When a young mind is bruised, it leaves a scare. Now we have to address that bruise so that whatever scare is left, is something that time will deface. That to me is what is critical. So my desire is to reach out to as many of them as possible. It’s difficult today because there are all in their trenches.” “We have to reach out to them and we have to find forgiveness for them, because they also have to forgive us. And we have to heal the land.”
“Now, I am a lone voice, but I want to believe that I speak for all men and women of goodwill across the land. We love this state dearly, some are still trying to come to terms with it, but we felt that the sooner we come out as I have done, it will encourage others to do same. I can’t do it alone. I don’t even have the machinery to do it alone. But if others see that we have made this effort, it will also encourage a lot others to do the same.”
“They are telling us something but they are not telling us in words but in action. But they are talking to us and it is for you to listen and interpret. One thing I know is that action speaks louder than words and they have spoken very loudly by their actions. You can have it the first time but cannot have it the second time, let alone the third.”
“The youths have to forgive us first, because they are reacting to something. We are the ones managing the resources of our society and they are telling us that your management is poor, so they have to forgive us first so that with that forgiveness, they create an environment that encourages us to right our wrongs.”
“I don’t want to blame anyone. No government is perfect. There is no school where you learn governance, it is your instinct, cogent desire to do what is best that drives you but you must listen. No one knows it all. In fact the more elevated in society you become the more humble you should become and if you are humble enough then you listen twice as much as you speak. We may be very eloquent but the eloquence could just be words in the wind; they will fly away. Listen to what people are saying, no matter how daft and unintelligent it may seem. Regardless of what you think they have a right to be heard, we all have a right to be where we are. No one has superior rights. So we must listen to them, we are the ones administering the resources of this country and they feel the resources are not getting to them but they see us living a lavish lifestyle.”
“They know that you may have worked hard but give us the opportunity also to work hard so that we too can get the best of society. They feel deprived and they are reacting and even prisoners react in prison let alone people who are free. So they have to forgive us first then with that forgiveness an environment would have been created where we can work together. If they don’t forgive us there is no where we can correct what is going on because the environment will be so charged. As long as you have the military on the streets you cannot do anything. So long as you have 24 hours curfew, even 12 hours curfew dusk to dawn, this one is dusk to dusk you cannot do anything. So we need them to forgive us and that will enable this curfew and this artificial situation that we find ourselves to be taken away so that we can correct what we ought to correct and then we can work in harmony.”
“We need each other like bread and butter. To say that we forgive them no, they feel cheated. The minimum you can guarantee them is to give them the opportunity that we had that lifted us up to where we are today. You have a right to life and it is not a privilege.”