The Directionlessness of Prof. Ben Ayade Government, By Kalita Joe Aruku
Truth be told, Prof. Ben Ayade did not promise cross riverians anything specific during the governorship campaign apart from his usual “politics with ethics” he was rather more interested in
showcasing his grammatical prowess rather than carefully outlining his vision and programs for cross riverians.
During the campaigns Ayade was always referred to as “the Professor” and Imoke was said to conclude his speech by introducing Ayade and saying “Professor come and give them” and truly Ayade will come and give them by speaking big grammatical jargons that rather than inform the crowd about his programs for cross riverians will excite and confuse them leaving them with nothing to hold him on to after his four year term.
Meanwhile, his main opponent the APC governorship candidate Mr Odey Ochicha from the word go came up with a well articulated manifesto. His focus he said was on education, health and infrastructure that will be anchored on three economic drivers, which are: agriculture, tourism and manufacturing (ATM). With this even an illiterate can easily understand what to expect from his government.
Is it not absurd to know that it is during his inauguration ceremony that cross riverians learnt for the first time the governor intention to build a super highway, deep sea port Garment factory etc. even that was and is shrouded in so much secrecy. The governor just announced the project claiming that he has already secured the sponsorship of a Chinese company to the tune of 20 million dollars for the super highway project. But the governor did not tell Cross Riverians how the company plans to recoup their investment and who will bear the brunt of repaying the debt. The governor has not told us if the road will be tolled or not. For the garment we are yet to know if it his personal business enterprise or that of the state.
The garment factory that the governor promised will be completed in 3 months is not even up to 20 percent complete more than 8months after the promise, what about the super highway and deep sea port? Well that one deserves a piece of its own because of the monumental deceit in the projects.
Everyday we wake up to hear of one new phantom project or another the governor wants to embark on, from new cities in the three senatorial district, to rice city, from recycling company to salt processing company, from tarpaulin factory to Pharmaceutical factory the least is endless, maybe someone will help me mention the rest because I have lost count already.
Governance in the state has been reduced to a huge joke with what the indefatigable Venatius Ikem called “Nonsensical appointments”. In a time where states like Lagos, Kaduna, Kano and Ogun that are more financially and economically viable than Cross River are cutting down on the cost of governance by
reducing and merging ministries and parastatals our governor is increasing that of the state with over 2000 appointments with a record 29 ministries with each having a special adviser, Special Assistant, Personal Assistant and most cases Director-Generals and directors all with no specific job description in the name of job creation. How can you claim you are creating jobs when they are not sustainable? If a new governor comes in he will definitely not continue with such a policy and all the said appointees will
be back on the streets leaving them worst off.
The nomenclature of the newly created ministries and agencies was even more hilarious than most of the comedy shows I had attended in recent times, it left a lot of unsolved puzzle in the minds of Cross Riverians who asked for the difference between works and infrastructure, New city and social housing, Environment and climate change, ICT and information, Rural Urban development Agency and Urban Renewal Agency? Because of this duplication of offices, they are constant crisis between the commissioners and other appointees who have the same job description.
It is no longer news that the state is now ran like a family business, with the elder Ayade also known as co-governor calling the shots especially as the governor is always said to be in his annex office in Transcorp Hotel Abuja . While some wards in the states do not have any single appointment from the state government, one village alone in Obudu has more than six appointments. Someone just whispered to me that Obudu is now unofficially the lingua franca in all our ministries, parastatals and agencies.
Rather than concentrate on governance, the governor is more interested in disposing the alleged Liyel structures holding elective offices in 2019. The battle with Sen. Owan Enoh over the control of the party in the state is no longer news. The governor is said to be planning to depose Owan in 2019 and replace
him with his long time friend Chris Agara. To achieve this only people dispose to Chris Agara ambition in 2019 are giving appointments. In the north I learnt the governor has instructed one of his aides from Ogoja to warm up to replace the popular Hon. Jarigbe Agom same for officers in the south and central.
Every day his army of media aides struggle to tell cross riverians how popular his government is, but the truth is evident for all to see. Almost every sector that represents the ordinary citizens in this state has protested against this government within the past 8 months. From pensioners to taxi drivers, to Keke Napep Riders. Even the disabled have protested against this government, who else is left?
Well the governor can choose to write his name in gold in the hearts of cross riverians by settling down to provide credible and visionary leadership or continue to rely in the deceit created by his army of praise singers that all is well. A stitch in time they say saves nine.
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