Much Ado About Cross River Monorail, By Okoi Obono-Obla
We can be very timid, naïve, earthly in so many ways in this part of the Country. This is why our so called leaders look at us with scorn and contempt. These leaders who should be unhappy that we are earthly and naïve are rather happy when they use lies to deceive us; to pull wool over our eyes; taking absolute advantage of our earthly way of thinking.
Civil Servants in Cross River State have not been paid for several months! The Cross River State University of Technology has been closed down for several months because Government cannot pay its teaching staff and other workers!
The Courts in Cross River State have been shut down since December 2014. Governor Liyel Imoke has not spoken a word on why the Courts have been closed down for almost six months. He most certainly is leaving the issue to his Successor-in-office to resolve.
Senator Imoke has maintained an ominous and studied silence on these issues. However, some naïve people would clap because Imoke furthered the Monorail Project in the State in the twilight of his government, a Project actually begun by Mr. Donald Duke!
The streets of Calabar are strewn with rubbish and refuge because Government cannot pay workers to clean them. There is helplessness everywhere. The people are hungry, angry and despondent. There is gloom. People are depressed.
There are numerous signs or trail of the gross incompetence and ineptitude of the government of Senator Liyel Imoke, yet we clap because he quickly brought in some derelict Monorails freshly coated with paint to deceive us on the eve of his departure! I am not the least bit impressed and therefore would not clap for the Governor.
The entire infrastructure especially roads are fast crumbling. As you approach Calabar from Odukpani you are left in no doubt that government has grossly failed in Cross River State.
The road sides are full of gullies. Erosion is fast eroding the sidewalks. Then somebody brought Monorails and we become so excited. We start jumping all over the place. How many jobs would Monorail create?!
How many jobs would the so called Summit Hill, Golf Centre, and International Convention Centre create? How many Cross Riverians can afford to buy a plot of land at the so called Summit Hills? Perhaps, only the thieving elite or inner circle running Imoke’s incompetent administration will afford such lands!
How much would these exhibitionist and white elephant projects conceived by these so called leaders to deceive the people bring into the State economy?
I criticised the then Governor, Donald Duke for the massive investment in Tinapa and Obudu Mountain Resort under the guise of bringing tourism development to the State. I was as usually abused, defamed and ridiculed! But I have been proven right today.
These projects that we naively clapped for Donald Duke have become drains to the State economy. Today the State groans under a debt trap that would take almost fifty years to wipe off, and that will be with consistent and prudent management of the State economic resource.
Senator Imoke must tell us how he accumulated a debt profile of about N300 Billon in 8 (eight) years of his calamitous administration. He must tell us what he did with more than 250 Billion Revenue Allocation from the Federation Account allocated to the 18 Local Government Area Councils in the State from 2007 till date!
What did Imoke do with the 18 Billion Naira given to the State by the Federal Government because of the loss of its status as Oil Producing State?
What did he do with the billions allocated to the State from the withdrawal of subsidy from 2012 till date?
Senator Imoke must tell us the owner of the Songhai Farm in Itigidi. If it belongs to the State (as his Press Secretary, Christian Ita, gleefully claims) who are the Board of Directors?
Senator Imoke must tell us why the State has become so broke that it can no longer meet its constitutional and social obligations.
It is not about Monorail and other ill-conceived white elephant and exhibitionist projects that are out of tune and of no benefit to the poor but the few thieving elites!
It is not about Monorail indeed! We cannot develop by adopting stock and barrel ill digested developmental concepts copied from other countries that have outgrown the developmental challenges we are currently faced with!
Cross River State cannot be Dubai. Cross River State’s development must be shaped by its historical experiences and environment. It must be home grown. Until this is done, thumbs down to the Monorail Project! An 8 kilometre Project which when compared to the bad roads in the State that majority of the common man utilizes (in urgent need of reconstruction and rehabilitation) will only throw up the emptiness of the Monorail Project to our faces! How very sad!