By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent
Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade recently swore in Mr. Eric Anderson as the new Commissioner for Tourism months after he resigned from the position.
Mr. Ayade also swore in Mr. Samuel Ayuga as a Permanent Secretary but his remarks on Mr. Anderson left a few wondering whether Mr. Anderson was being sworn in as commissioner for Carnival Calabar Affairs.
“The only way we will measure the efficiency of our Commissioner is by how he will he organizes this year’s carnival,” Ayade said.
The Governor then said he will like to know what Mr. Anderson will do differently and further confused some when he said Mr. Anderson has held the position of Tourism Commissioner for two years.
“I will like to know what Eric is going to do that will be very different.
“Eric indeed has held this office as Commissioner for Tourism for two years and I have had reasons to execute the carnival within that period,” he said.
But, Mr. Ayade had announced Mr. Anderson as his Special Assistant on Tourism.
However, he announced that the Carnival Calabar has risen from being almost 30 to the second biggest in the world.
“You all have records in standards of Carnival we have set.
“And within the two years of my organizing the carnival, Cross River state rose for twenty something position to the second. Calabar carnival became the second biggest carnival in the world.
“It is a very big task. Taking off my job as a digital governor, you are in trouble, because I have set such a big standard for you,” he said.
He then advised Mr. Anderson to put in his best and refused to announce himself as the former Tourism Commissioner.
He said that: “You have a very big challenge. The challenge of organizing a carnival better than the one we did, than what was done by the former Commissioner for Tourism in 2015 and 2016.
“So 2017 is in your hands. The budget is not going to be different, so it is the magic you bring into it that will matter.
“The energy, the understanding, the sleepless night and of course the new tonic that has come in. To bring another mixture and flavor that will create a new excitement for anybody and the public that chooses to come in and berth in Calabar.
“Obviously, having risen to the second biggest carnival in the world, you expect that there is greater traction and densification into Calabar.”
On Mr. Ayuga, Ayade said that: “You know you are the custodian of the history, the culture, the heritage of the EXCO which is the symbol of the digital regime that I represent.
“Therefore, you must come with all that is required to continue to sustain it.”
He said he was shocked at the excitement expressed by members of the State Executive Council when he announced Mr. Ayuga as a potential permanent secretary and maintained that his choices were made much out of emphasis than passion as claimed in some quarters.
“My choices are not driven by emotions or passions. I know I put a lot of emphasis on merit but I also know that mercy counts but I always do a delicate balance between merit and mercy but, these two are a select case where merit became predominant,” he said.
Also, he warned his appointees against complacency when he gives them a task to complete as he always watches.
“I watched Eric. Eric never knew that I had an eye on him. And so, that is a lesson for every one of you. If I give you an assignment, I am watching you without complain, without letting you know but I am making records,” he said.
“I watched this young man, that 2015, that 2016, that we have made it to the second position, Eric was the organic part of the success,” Ayade added.