On Ayade: Rev Fr Evaristus Bassey Is Sure That A Ghost Is From Cross River State? By First Baba Isa
Over a month ago Fr Evaristus Bassey wrote an article lashing Ayade for refusing to pay him and his friend monies Liyel Imoke pledged during his friend’s book launch. He raised other sundry issues bothering on Ayade’s leadership style. I felt (and I still feel) that Fr’s approach was wrong. I wrote a rejoinder to that article and two days ago Fr Evaristus Bassey wrote me a scathing reply.
He entitled his reply: “On Ayade, reply to a Ghost? Cc: @firstbabaisa.” The opening paragraph confirmed one of the issues I raised in my rejoinder to his initial article; that Bassey is a deft server of elementary psychology, playing with the minds of the readers while passing his points through turbo-charged emotional channels.
Fr Bassey: “Dear First Baba Isa, is this your real name or are you a ghost? Just to be sure, perhaps privately you could send me a photocopy of your national ID or your driver’s license, so I know I am not dealing with a fictitious person or a ghost. With the internet the potential for scams is enormous. This kind of name sounds like a name used to perpetrate internet scams. You say you are a legal practitioner; if I go to the supreme court, will I see your name in the register? I am really sorry if this is your real name but seriously it sounds so fake.”
With the deepest respect Fr, I don’t need your apology, because I’m not offended. I will pass it on to readers and any other person who might feel disappointed at this outrageous opening; for me I’m not outraged. I’m rather amused. This is elementary psychology every lawyer is taught in Law School. We are taught to deploy this psychological strategy during cross examination.
A lawyer should begin his cross examination by casting doubt in the mind of the court about the identity of the witness. This goes to shake the witness credibility, affecting his reliability and dependability. This is the strategy Fr Evaristus was deploying: begin your article by raising doubts of my identity, sow doubts of my existence in the hearts of the readers, shaking my credibility and attempt to push me aside casually.
I wonder why Fr will chose this strategy. He clearly underrated the intelligence of his teeming readers. People are wiser than you think Fr. They can see through the dust you are trying to raise, the befuddlement you are trying to inject into their consciousness. What does my identity even have to do with it? You wrote an article, I wrote a rejoinder, so what does this got to do with my name or profession? What does this have to do with internet scams?
Assuming without conceding that First Baba Isa is a fictitious name, how will that affect the content of my rejoinder to your first article? Fr should be exposed enough to know that people write with pen names na. Anyone can get a new name in less than 24 hours. Fr have you been involved in scamming people before? How do you know the kind of names scammers chose to use? I have seen a lot of criminal cases, including murders, where the accused is bearing either Evaristus or Bassey. Will it be logical for me to conclude that Evaristus Bassey is a name used in perpetrating crimes? Na wa o.
Why didn’t you go to the roll of lawyers (what you called register) in the Supreme Court to check if my name is there? Asking me to send you a document proving my identity is presumptuous. Again, I ask, how does my article disagreeing with your approach in lashing out at the Governor because he has not taken government funds to pay you for a private book launch made by his predecessor raises the issue of verifying my identity?
Do ghosts write articles? And you take out time to reply ghosts? Why do you even think your identity don’t need verification too? Is it a case of megalomania?
It is also ridiculously surprising that you say I might be a ghost but you stated categorically that “…you cannot fool me that you are not a Cross Riverian…” So a ghost is from Cross River State? You will agree with me that this is laughable. You also stated strongly in your reply to my rejoinder that you know that Ayade is my paymaster.
So because I rose in defense of the Governor, I’m automatically his aide? Is this how democracy works in your perspective? So will it be logical to say that because you criticized the governor you are a member of APC? This will be utmost untenable. Such an attitude pollutes the political conversation. Let’s stop this political segregation and labelling based on our stance on issues today. Tomorrow we might be on the same page, then what will you say?
Both of us want this same thing: the progress of the state. But we must not always agree. Concluding that I don’t want the best for the State because I don’t agree with you is very wrong. So every person who disagrees with you is dishonest and evil? Are you always right? Let’s learn to disagree while defending our rights to disagree. This is this beauty of democracy. Demonizing me because I don’t agree with you is primitive and retrogressive. It is unfair to arrogate the feeling of love for the state to yourself alone.
Fr the allegations of insults you raised, might respectfully, be the case of paranoia or you are being tetchy. I will never insult an elder. With all sense of modesty, I have acquired a decent “quantum” of words to project my views powerfully without resort to insults, even when speaking to a child. Show me, if you can, one insulting word I used in my last rejoinder to you.
I understand the apparent display of tetchiness. As a catholic priest you might not be used to your views being challenged. You might have spent your entire life enjoying the untouchable eminence provided for you by the church. If you want to pontificate, please do so from the safety of a pulpit; but if you chose to step into the arena of political debate, expect to be challenged. Welcome it. Don’t take it personal when others argue with you. Let’s learn from you Fr. And in the 21st century robust learning is unproductive through the unfettered instrumentality of pontification.
I still believe that writing an article to lash the governor for a debt he is not even officially owing is wrong. You conceded this much in your reply. I also still believe that criticism should be an ingredient that is added to sweeten the soup, not one that is thrown in to make it sour. Whether this ingredient sweetens or sours the soup has nothing to do with the ingredient but everything to do with the motive of the critic who is hurling it into the soup.
First Baba Isa (FBI) is a Legal Practitioner and writes from Abuja
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