by crossriverwatch admin
As we approach 2015, different interest groups, political parties, pressure groups and interested persons are jostling behind the scene on who the cap fit to take over the mantle of leadership from Governor Imoke.
While as spectators we watch the fight of the Gladiators, I will use this medium to talk about the attributes “we the people” expected from a candidate that we may refer to as “popular choice”.
A candidate that will meet the benchmark of our choice as a people will be expected to meet at least five out of the seven attributes listed below.
First, we look forward to a Governor who will be his own man. Even though Political Godfatherism is commonly associated with African Politics, we will need a Chief Executive who will be his own man. Since it is general opinion in the state that the people of the Northern senatorial district should produce the next Governor, then our prayer is that their consensus candidate should not be “yes” man.
We look forward for a Governor who will listen to his advisers and act, who will accommodate advisers that have opposing views, rather than terminating their appointments, who will be bold enough to say no to some powerful political Godfathers even if doing so will put him or her out of favor with King makers, but will be for the overall benefits of the people.
We look forward for a Governor who will understand the plight of the poor, who will understand that most young unemployed youths are not lazy, but really do not have the were withal to go out in search for jobs, and in the event they find job openings, they do not have the connections to let them in.
We need a Governor who will pay attention to little things that matters. Who will understand that while it is noteworthy to build giant projects, it is also necessary to maintain existing facilities. While it is impressive to build Highways and Bridges, it is also necessary to fill pot holes in our roads and clean our street gutters. We need a Governor who will understand that while is it impressive to build medical facilities, it is also imperative to ensure that bed sheets in existing hospital are regularly replaced, nurses have enough syringes, writing pens, and note pads. Blood banks are filled to capacity to aid emergencies during child birth, Doctors are on hospital grounds to attend to emergencies, and Nurses are trained and supervised to be respectful to patients.
We further need a Governor who will understand and appreciate that while it is impressive to build schools and campuses, that teachers are paid a meaningful wage. Children have school supplies, writing boards in schools are regularly replaced, children have desk to sit in school, teachers are properly trained and principals have operating budgets to administer their schools.
While the luxuries of office are attractive, we need a Governor who once in a while will leave the comfort of his lodge and visit a local market, a village clinic, a local age grade meeting, a street bar and have conversation with common street people, visit a local hospital and talk to patients, inspect the sanitary conditions in our state school toilets, visit and inspect government offices and inquire how many copy machines, printers and scanners are functional. Access the functionality of your commissioners by making surprise visits to their ministries, parastatals or bureaus.
As concerned indigenes of Cross River State, We are forced to inquire, amongst all the candidates who are parading their resumes, financial muscles, street popularity, or those seeking anointing from the political stakeholders in our dear state, who amongst them can be a leader who will come to office with a defined mission ready to execute to completion, or who will approach governance as a business, or who will apply civility and nonviolence in political struggles or who will be willing to engage head on those he disagrees with and even bring his opponents to his cabinet.
Second, we look for a candidate who will emerge in the spirit of Late Pa Obafemi Awolowo one of the key figures in Nigeria’s independence. Pa Awolowo was a core regionalist for a good cause. He was never in my opinion and studies a nationalist.
However, a regionalist who promoted the cause of his group through a strategically designed manipulated plan to give his group an edge in the future of Nigeria, I will humbly term Awolowo a regionalist for a good cause.
While the Igbos (Biafra) and the Housas were engulfed in a bitter civil war, burning down villages and starving young children in the late sixties, Awolowo was busy creating opportunities for young Yoruba people from his region to travel to London for education.
Today there is virtually no Yoruba household without a family member in London. This explains why most Yoruba’s today have British passports and travel to Europe at will either to give birth to babies or for business as compared to other tribes. This early education of the Yoruba’s gave them an edge in the federal civil service for over four decades post Nigeria’s independence.
Pa Awolowo as a regionalist is of Ikenne Ogun State origin. He Championed regionalism not tribalism. The largesse of his educational scholarships benefitted all in the region. He did not limit it to his native Ogun tribe.
In search for a visionary gubernatorial candidate for Cross River State, the said aspirant must show determination to promote the peoples of all the zones in the state as a region without favoritism to his or her tribe. The said aspirant must believe in education. The said aspirant would be one who would embark on a “No Child left behind” policy from day one in office.
The said leader must believe in his people and be willing to invest in them. Such a candidate must be one who in whatever capacity he has served presently or previously, promoted the educational cause of his region as a yardstick for progress.
Third, we look for a Candidate who will emerge in the spirit of Aliko Dangote. A shrewd business man who counts and knows the value of every kobo he makes. Aliko Dangote in his wisdom invest primarily in Nigeria and a few African Countries. He took advantage of the Nigerian population and invested primarily in consumables, Sugar Cement and Flour.
Sugar because no matter the inflation, Nigerians will still buy sugar, refineries and soft drinks companies will still patronize his sugar. Cement because no matter the suffering and smiling, houses will still be built, flour because, bread remains the common food for the poor man.
Dangote is ranked by Forbes Magazine as the 23rd richest person in the world and the richest man in Africa to become the world’s richest black man. A Governor who will manage the resources of the state as a shred business man is what we the people would aspire to have come on board. The people will seek for a Governor who will calculate his states income before embarking on high priced projects beyond the capacity of his budget.
Fourth, we look forward to a candidate who would approach statecraft in the spirit of Barack Obama. Mr. Obama practiced politics without bitterness. He was engaged in a bitter fight with Hillary Clinton during the primaries, but when he emerged president he considered all his quarrels with Hillary as politics, and went ahead to appoint her as secretary of state.
We look forward to a candidate who will not be scared of those who disagree with him, who will be courageous enough to confront those who disagree with him in a civilized manner, we look forward to candidate who will not be intimidated by the intelligentsia, traditional institutions or political blocks, a candidate who will display intelligence and a sense of humor if necessary.
A candidate who has a stint of the civilized world, a candidate who is widely travelled, who will not come into office and think the Whiteman knows it all, giving every single meaningful project to be managed and executed by foreigners because their skin is White. We need a Governor who will look inwards and source the best from his own people.
Fifthly, we look forward to a candidate who will emerge in the spirit and humility of Mahatma Ghandi. Known as ‘Mahatma’ (great soul), Gandhi was the leader of the Indian nationalist movement against British rule, and is widely considered the father of his country.
His doctrine of non-violent protest to achieve political and social progress has been hugely influential. Ghandi and Martin Luther King fall within this category. Martin Luther King dreamt of a country where both white and black kids alike will one day hold hands and proclaim we are free at last. As we search for this candidate, we look forward to a unifying candidate who will bring together the various political blocks in North, Central and Southern Cross River state together. Our next Governor should not be divisive or arrogant, but a leader who like Ghandi will promote nonviolent social change.
Sixth, we look forward a Governor who would emerge in the spirit of Mother Teresa who founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Catholic order of nuns dedicated to helping the poor. Begun in Calcutta, India, the Missionaries of Charity grew to help the poor, the dying, orphans, lepers, and AIDS sufferers in over a hundred countries. Mother Teresa’s selfless effort to help those in need has caused many to regard her as a model humanitarian. A governor who would understand the plight of the poor.
One who has felt the pains of hunger and poverty rather than one who reads about hunger and poverty in textbooks. A mother Teresa Governor is the type our dear people in Cross River needs today. The rate of poverty in the State is massive, sickness, disease and child malnutrition is common. We need a Governor who will descend from the glory of power and control to the humility and selflessness of peasants and the poor.
We really do not need some elitist candidates who gets offended when the poor comes around or ask for help, or some elitist candidate who remembers the poor only during election times, we actually need a Governor to emerge from the Poor man’s zone. While we spend too much time talking about north, south and central zones, no one talks about the poor man’s zone. Hunger knows no skin color, tribe or geographical boundaries. The only common denominator between the poor man in the Southern zone and the Northern zone is that both are hungry. The poor man has been disenfranchised, the boundaries of his zone cuts across tribes and tongues.
The poor amongst us have never produced a Governor. Its time, our next chief executive is drawn from this zone or is someone who identifies with the pains of this group. Although most of the candidates jostling to be the people’s choice at present are too elitist to be a Mother Teresa to the people, however, we pray they understand the poor man’s plight when finally elected.
Seventh, we look forward to a candidate who would emerge in the spirit of Nelson Mandela. An aspirant who will forgive those who transgress against the mighty and powerful through the initiation of a peace and reconciliation committee. We need a candidate who would be able to bring together the state as one indivisible entity, a candidate who has both the carrot to massage the ego of the proud and to wield the stick on the non-compliant. A candidate who will be ready to work with all irrespective of affiliations or political godfather’s loyalty.
In summary I will solemnly ask, who among the current aspirants will understand the poor man’s plight, be a Mandela, a Barack Obama, a Ghandi, a Martin Luther King, a Dangote or a Mother Teresa and address those little things that matters to our people?.
Is that candidate out there among the current aspirants or do we need to look for another messiah.
PRINCEWILL OJONG ODIDI IS A CROSS RIVERIAN AND UNITED STATES BASED PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND FINANCIAL ADVISORY CONSULTANT. HE CAN BE REACHED AT (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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