Donald Damien Duke: The Man Who Saw Tomorrow By PRINCEWILL OJONG ODIDI

In Breaking News, Columnists, Opinion, Politics

by crossriverwatch admin

ojong odidi

The history of Cross River State will not be complete without a mention of the Man, Donald Damian Duke. Donald’s popularity is not so much about his politics, his high handedness or his quest for social enjoyment, Donald will be remembered more as the “Man who saw tomorrow”.

I am neither friend nor foe to Donald, my assessment of his administration and how he positioned the state for development is borne out of objectivity and fairness. Before Donald, nobody considered tourism as a source of income in Nigeria. Donald initiated the Calabar Carnival which is now copied by most Nigerian states, he developed to completion the cattle Ranch which recently was used for a Presidential retreat, he Initiated Tinapa and a free trade zone in Calabar, today we have over 12 proposed free trade zones all over Nigeria. He was always an initiator.

Eight years in office was not enough to build these projects and see them to fruition, however, he completed all his projects in terms of structures. All of Donald’s projects were high quality; at least, the projects speak for themselves.

Liyel Imoke started on a good note structurally. Note, I said structurally not economically. Donald may have left behind debts on the state; however, we cannot hold it against Mr. Duke because at the least, the people could see physical development attributed to the loans.

Mr. Imoke, a fine Western trained lawyer and career politician inherited not just the physical structures Donald Duke left behind, but also inherited loans. One major feat that is not really celebrated that Mr. Imoke achieved is the restructuring of the loans with better terms. If I would evaluate Mr. Imoke’s performance, top on my list will be the State’s loan restructuring. His ability to move the state from Red to Green in the account books.

While Donald developed ideas and built the structures, Imoke put in place institutions that gave meaning to the ideas. For the Calabar Carnival, Imoke set up the Carnival Bureau, for Tinapa, he set up Investment Bureau, for the Ranch he set up Tourism Bureau and to ensure that future investors are not given the bureaucratic run around he made functional the Office of due process.

Again, as a Public consultant with a penchant for project evaluation, restructuring the State’s debt and putting in place institutions to actualize the visions of Mr. Duke, in my judgment were Imoke’s greatest achievements. I know some critics would also expect me to mention rural roads and agriculture as areas Imoke had a remarkable improvement, which is not in doubt, but history hardly remembers men for doing ordinary things; history remembers only the extra- ordinary inventions.

The Challenge to the Next Governor:

The greatest challenge facing Cross River state today is the emergence of a wrong leader post Imoke era. If the wrong candidate emerges as Governor, two things will happen. All Donald Duke’s Structures will become obsolete and all Imoke’s institutions will die a natural death.

The next State Governor should be someone who has both the political intrigues to combine the efforts of both Duke’s structures and Imoke’s institutions and bring life to these inventions. Duke built the Physical structures, Imoke built institutions, and the primary role of the next governor is to make these institutions workable.

The next state governor should be a person of proven intelligence and excellence. He should be a true Cross Riverian devoid of ethnic biases and should not be one who idolizes zoning and place of origin.

Zoning, I believe, produces sycophants and mediocrity. It encourages boot licking and placement in positions of authority persons who have no ability to obtain anything by merit. It discourages struggle which is the hallmark of politics.

Okwudiba Nnoli my mentor and Professor of Political science in the good old days at UNN department of political science instilled on us that “politics is the struggle for power”. You don’t negotiate power, he often thundered, negotiation is weakness. Zoning is negotiation; the belief that “it is our turn” is an expression of cowardice.

If the people of Northern Cross River State believe it is their turn, they should come out and struggle for it. They should not sit down and wait for an anointed candidate.

I am by no means saying the people of Northern Cross River State extraction do not have credible candidates to take over the mantle of leadership in the State, to be factual; some of our best brains in the State are indigenes of this zone. However, power cannot shift to this zone based on geography, or based on “it is our turn” if power must shift, it should be by merit, and merit finds excellence in struggles.

Donald Duke had a vision, articulated and built projects, Liyel Imoke developed institutions to actualize Donald’s visions, and the next governor of Cross River State has a greater task; to create the missing link between Imoke’s Institutions and the Donald Duke’s projects.

As Cross Riverians, we are one people, we are one culture and we cannot be divided by race, class or village of birth syndrome. From the cattle Ranch Mountains of Obudu to the Creeks of Bakassi we are one people, we refuse to be designated into three zones.

We cannot allow the machinations of the ruling classes dictate our future. They are quick to tell us that zoning is the cure to political and economic instability; we fail to agree to that logic, our problem is not zoning. A common denominator that defines the farmer in Obanliku and the farmer in Odukpani is hunger and poverty. Hunger is no respecter of zones. Zoning is a political ploy designed by the ruling classes to deceive and divide the people.

Our problem is not geography and zoning, our problem is economics and classism. When the ruling classes sit together to share the State’s allocation and contracts, nobody talks about what village you were born, up stream or downstream, Efik, Etung or Bekwara. We should do away with the “sharing mentality” that emphasize zoning and embrace a “nation building mentality that promotes patriotism.

The worst legacy a generation can bequest to future generations is to institutionalize zoning in the mentality of future generations. The Lord Lugard’s divide and rule policy is a colonial mentality, we are a new generation, let us emphasis merit, hard work and creativity as conditions to lead.

Let us rise up, dream the dream of Donald Duke who though was an Efik from the South, developed a State of the Art Ranch in the Northern Cross River state, who dreamed of a Dubai in Tinapa as the hub of modern Nigeria’s enterprise. This dream is not too big to achieve, if only we can dream and see the stars, our sons and daughters shall multiply and fill the earth like the stars in the sky.

Princewill Ojong Odidi is a United States of America based project management and financial consultant.
princewillodidi@yahoo.com
Face book: princewillodidi

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4 commentsOn Donald Damien Duke: The Man Who Saw Tomorrow By PRINCEWILL OJONG ODIDI

  • This is an Excellent piece! Donald is indeed the man who saw tomorrow, i wonder what would have become of cross river state today after our oil wells where taken away from us, Donald helped develop the tourism sector atleaste today cross river state still has relevance in Nigeria, Donald initiated the carnival even though there where other people that worked with him to make it happen but he was the forerunner and vision-er, he is not perfect but to a large extent he did his best, yes, he incurred debts for the state, but unlike the likes of ibori and timi priye sylvia of bayelsa state who embezzled state funds for their own selfish interest and nothing to show for it, Donald developed the obudu cattle ranch, tinapa and initiated the calabar carnival that we are still benefiting from today and stands as one of our major sources of income in the state, even the governor of imo state who initiated the clean and green project could attest to the fact that it was after he visited cross river state during Donalds administration that he was motivated to emulate such in his State.

  • THE VISION WAS NOT JUST HIS ALONE, IT WAS COLLECTIVE. YOU MAY PRAISE HIM TO THE HIGH HEAVENS FOR DELIVERING, BUT ALL THAT IS OVERSHADOWED BY HIS RUTHLESSNESS, LACK OF TOLERANCE FOR THE OPPOSITION…HIS GREED…HE IS NOT A DEMOCRAT…HE IS A DICTATOR…THESE WERE HIS GREATEST UNDOINGS….SO WHAT ABOUT ALL THE UNNECESSARY DEBTS HE BROUGHT UPON THE STATE FOR OUR CHILDREN..GRANDCHILDREN..GREATGRANDCHILDREN…GREATGREATGREAT……CHILDREN TO BEAR,..WHILE HE CARTED AWAY ALL OUR ASSETS FOR HIS GENERATIONS DOWN TO THE 10TH LINE TO LIVE ON? I DON’T KNOW WHEN LAST YOU(PRINCEWILL) VISITED HOME…BUT I TELL YOU, HE DONALD SOLD ALMOST EVERYTHING WE HAD TO HIMSELF AND HIS CRONIES….I AGREE WITH YOU, HE ACTUALLY SAW TOMORROW…A TOMORROW OF A PERPETUALLY INDEBTED STATE. SOMEDAY, DONALD DUKE AND HIS LIKES WILL GIVE ACCOUNT OF WHAT THEY DID TO OUR NATION.

    • your publication sorry, is merely a display of ignorance. You contradict yourself in all points and issues raised here.could your struggle to acquire political power give you the ability to sustain Imoke,s institution and Dukes Projects?.you tend to forget that politics is a game of number with southern senatorial district with 7 lGA,Central with 6 and North with 5 LGA.The northern senatorial district you so agree that the have the best brain should continually be marginalized.cant these best brains be put to use, does it mean if its zoned to the north, it will make the brains to fail? PLEASE NOTE CLEARLY,STRUGGLE/MANIPULATE TO ACQUIRE POLITICAL POWER IS DIFFERENT FROM HAVING STRONG AND VIABLE IDEAS TO MANAGE A STATE LIKE OURS.

      • Ferdinand, you can still make your point without hauling insults on the writer. The writer only expressed his point of view. While i dont know this writer personally, but you can clearly tell, he is a master of words, and a proud member of our cross river family in diaspora.

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