Buhari, Yesterday, Today And Cross River State, By Utum Eteng
The visit of President Buhari on Monday, 19th October, 2015 to perform the groundbreaking ceremony for the 260km superhighway if compared with his visit as the presidential candidate of the APC early 2015 to canvass votes in support of his presidential ambition are two unparalleled events of remarkable significance. The two visits and the circumstances as presented create and teach a complete lesson in history never to be forgotten in a hurry. The visit of yesterday was when as Gen Buhari and candidate of the APC whilst his visit today is that of Buhari as the President and Commander-in-Chief of Nigerian Armed Forces. The visit of yesterday was done as a Gen Buhari flown in a chartered aircraft whiles that of today is done using the American equivalent of Air Force One, in Nigeria parlance called, Presidential Jet.
The two visits in no small measure signify an unparallel contradictions; an irony of faith, and also tell the full story about the emptiness of man’s perceptions and projections into the future with certainty. The future, it is common knowledge that it is an abstract which though uncertain could reasonably with foresight, be anticipated from a subdued and untainted mind. All political indices, permutations and configuration pointed squarely to the possibility that Gen Buhari then, was set to win the 2015 Nigerian Presidency.
It is pertinent, first to give kudos to Gov Ayade’s organizational ability and capacity and to say well done for showing the people’s hospitality potentials. It is no gain emphasizing the point that President Buhari’s October 19th, 2015 visit is significant in many respects. Thus, without equivocations it re-acted aptly Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba SAN’s apology and claim before when he led a delegation of eminent Cross Riverians to the Defence House Abuja early this year to express un-behalf of the people support and to also congratulate Gen Buhari, then a president-elect. Ndoma-Egba was quick to let Gen Buhari then, to be on point on the hospitable nature of the people of Cross River State.
Nostalgically, as the leader of the delegation, Ndoma-Egba pungently pleaded with Gen Buhari not to mistake the uncultured and lack of ethics of civilized treatment given to Buhari and his APC entourage by the Cross River State government, led by Liyel Imoke. Irrespective of one’s political alignment, the president last visit to Cross River State, inspite of Ayade’s one man show style of governance was well planned, handled with quality time and money spent to roll out the loud drums, people, and the traditional institutions to confirm Ndoma-Egba’s soothing postulations to the president that the people of Cross River State are cultured and hospitable. It is no gain stressing the point that, inspite of party alignments, Ayade made the people proud. The president’s attempt to remain a solider he is by not laughing broadly was frankly overwhelmed with controlled smiles on his face showing an element of satisfaction. Ayade showed statesmanship, a rare quality of a truly exposed and unbiased leader.
Significantly, the same Cross River State government and people who before under Imoke refused and or neglected to accord Buhari a simple Airport reception, even as a former Head of State, throng the Margaret Ekpo International Airport all driving on top or high gears of their cars to catch a glimpse of the president and to accord this same old Buhari a arousing welcome. One may be a moderate Christian, yet one would be alive to the admonitions of the scriptures that sometimes in human life and human events, “a stone once rejected by the builders of the mansion could become the corner stone (pillar) of the house”. It is a significant object lesson to learn from the fall out of events at the groundbreaking grounds that even ex-Gov Liyel Imoke out of nobody’s fault inspite of the weather was momentarily refused movement and or entry into the V.I.P pavilion where other governors and ex-governors sat. The same Imoke braced the odds to wait for President Buhari at the Airport to accord him his deserved compliments. The bitter truth and lesson about life is, never write-off a fellow man and to also keep to the wisdom of the old that, “everybody is somebody”. Otherwise, one would not be able to explain why Obasanjo, the firewood breaker could become Obasanjo the Head of State and former President of Nigeria, in the same way, why would the once garage boy in Makurdi or Agboko Motor-park today be the governor of Benue State.
If Buhari was denied the use of the Brigadier U. J. Esuene Stadium early in 2015 to conduct his presidential rally, the same Buhari by the acquisition of his present credentials was in a position to be hosted in the most expensive or reserved Public Square on 19/10/2015 at whatever cost to the state government.
That Imoke entered the venue of the ground breaking ceremony unnoticed contradicted significantly the outburst and tumultuous applause that rented the air when ex-governor Donald Duke, a man who left the stage more than 9years ago is a lesson in humility.
Though no one is perfect except God, inspite of all the imperfections of Gov Ayade, he on 19/10/2015 scored a distinction. It is however pertinent to remind him as the man of the moment that life, like power is transient. As a mark of arrival, power and perhaps as one in charge, Ayade for all these reasons drives the most ambitious, expensive, unwieldy and chronic noise making convoy in the history of the state. If he has to come to terms with the reality on ground, he has to be told clearly that governance is not all about flamboyance, not about the self, family, community, but about the overall happiness and satisfaction of the people in general.
The sooner he liberates himself from the grips of the euphoria of him being governor, the better for him. If Ayade is a Christian he should know that before he was born, God knoweth that he would become governor of Cross River State to serve the people one day. He should also be reminded that from records, now public knowledge, he has overzealously for personal comfort and self-aggrandizement stretched the lean resources of the state within these 5 months to breaking point. The signature projects he has provided for himself if not done with tact would permanently keep the state accounts in red. He is encouraged to go ahead but let it be that at the end of the tunnel there is a ray of light. He should ensure that the state is not bankrupt, and overburden with avoidable debts. It may be worthwhile to point it to Ayade that, it never would amount to prudence, efficient financial managerial ability or good logic for any government to eat deeply into the future Federal Allocations or expected finances of a future state government, even where the is continuity in governance.
Lets Ayade forgets, it is important to remind him also that, the once Obudu Ranch, a Centre of attraction and TINAPA are lying waste. This was compounded by the Imoke sudden introduction of the concept of International Convention or Conference Centre which is yet to host a local major event to compliment the huge wastage or outshine the dreams of the charismatic Donald Duke in Tinapa.
Today, Ayade has come to add his money consuming projects which he hopes to compliment first in 100days, 18 months and two years. How real are these projects? The questions are; who is the contractor handling the construction and supervision of the Garment Factory still on foundation level? What is the role of Ayade’s family or private companies in the Garment Factory business? The questions asked now if not answered would be asked in future as one wishes Ayade and his emerging administration well.
CHIEF (BARR) UTUM ETENG
CROSS RIVER STATE