Buhari And Ayade: An Uncommon Alliance BY PRINCEWILL ODIDI

In Breaking News, Columnists, National News, Opinion, Politics
From left: Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, Cameroonian First Lady, Mrs. Chantel Biya and President Mohammadu Buhari at a state dinner in honor of President Buhari in Yaounde
From left: Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, Cameroonian First Lady, Mrs. Chantel Biya and President Mohammadu Buhari at a state dinner in honor of President Buhari in Yaounde

The coming together of two opposing gladiators to agree on a common purpose is not everyday happenstances.

Earlier this week, Agba Jalingo on his personal Facebook wall, opined that those who fight Buhari as a prelude for Ayade’s attention were greatly mistaken. I strongly agree with him. The comments on his wall had reactions from Cross Riverians from different walks of life.

Venatius Ikem a social and political commentator, reacting to Jalingo’s post, still predicts that “Governor Ayade may just lead this state to APC. He is quick to point out, that he may be wrong, but continued by saying he is a keen watcher of people and their body language in politics”.

Jalingo agrees with Vena, however, Simon Utsu another commentator points out, “Some of us that blast Buhari do so independently. We all are entitled to our opinion. Ayade would stand to lose much if he joins the majority who aren’t happy with Buhari’s slowness. Ayade is a politician and as such, must play his politics right. His working towards becoming Buhari’s man Friday shows he is smart, as for me, I’m still dusting my verbal artillery.” Simon Utsu concludes.

As an analyst, I am poised to ask: Are these signs of things to come? Will this new economic relationship translate to a political alignment? Has Ayade been able to get the unreserved attention of the Peoples General during their last state visit?

Did he use the medium of the visit to Cameroun to sell his signature projects to the President? Will an APC President extend his political goodwill to a state where he got less than 10% of the popular votes?

What are the benefits if any, of a federal support for the signature projects and how will these leverage on our lean resources as a state? The visit to Cameroun, does it seal the hope of the people of Bakassi or are there additional loopholes left to explore for an eventual resolution?

To what extent did Ayade strike an attention note on Buhari? Does he consider him a man to do business with? These are mute questions that will be unveiled in days ahead.

Our earnest prayer is that the new relationship between Buhari and Ayade though uncommon, should grow to impact us positively as a State. We look forward to Buhari’s visit to the state.

While we hope he flags off the signature projects which will send a strong message to the anticipated investors of the federal government interest in the venture, at the same time, a visit by General Buhari would afford Cross Riverians the opportunity to seek answers to certain economic concerns bothering on Tinapa and other federal abandoned projects in the state.

If Buhari visits the International Convention Center, will that exposure of the facility attract other national events to Cross River State? How do we tie other projects envisaged by Ayade like the Bansara Rice farms, granite development, proposed banana farms and exports, industrial plantations, cocoa processing factories, Okpoma salt, maize and cassava plantations among others for export?

If Buhari visits and discovers Cross River State, a state with such great potentials and capabilities, will that be the beginning of national attention for our dear state? And can that translate to more national investments and need for better infrastructure?

In all history, like minds attract, intelligent people easily align with other intelligent people irrespective of party or ideological beliefs, skeptics easily notice other skeptics. Ayade’s meetings with Buhari, did it strike a chord of friendship, familiarity, or virtue between both men?

The meeting of the duo in Yaoundé by all indications is expected to produce some results in a few weeks. Either President Buhari will align and support Governor Ayade, buying into his signature projects and concepts or may show outright disinterest. The Peoples General has been known not to get easily pleased, but if Governor Ayade has gotten the Generals attention, then it is sign of better days ahead.

It is no gainsaying that Cross River state has been greatly neglected and has little or no federal presence. Loosing Bakassi and the oil wells, calls for other forms of federal interventions.

Compensating the state with infrastructural development to drive speedy commerce wouldn’t be out of place, and if Ben Ayade can promote an effort to attract Buhari to our dear state as one of his first state visits, then that’s what I call a successful unequal alliance for good things to come.

Aligning with the federal government to promote the programs of the state may not be considered political prostitution, rather I would opine, it’s an act of statesmanship. After all, Buhari during his inauguration pointed out, that he is for everybody, this we must hold him to account.

This alignment is pivotal for our state’s growth and should be devoid of political party interest. As a state, we should move beyond prebendal politicking and embrace a common goal devoid of interest.

If Ayade’s goals and priorities aligns with Buhari’s expectations of how Nigeria need to move forward, certainly, the General will be proud to identify with success.

In this respect, I would opine, that the development of this uncommon alliance between Ayade and Buhari would be for the overall interest of the state. Odili was one of the powerful Governors in Obasanjo’s regime, Akpabio to Jonathan, who will fill this vacuum in Mr. Buhari’s regime?

Will Buhari align easily with Governors whose states have enormous resources as we have seen in the past, or Buhari will align easily with Governors who work and drive programs and ideas? I will respectfully opine, Buhari will identify with ideas.

While Buhari is fervently pursuing corrupt politicians at the National level, we look forward to a similar drive from Benedict Ayade if there was any form of economic pillage, theft, abuse of state funds at the state level.

While Buhari is consolidating power, strengthening state institutions, under studying the books of his predecessors, working to bring on board some of Nigeria’s best technocrats into his administration, we look forward to Benedict Ayade doing the same at the state level.

So far, both men have been slow in forming their governments, maybe they have an unholy pact the rest of us have no idea about. Sometimes taking time to get things done is an attempt to prevent mistakes.

If the Peoples General is for everybody, then we are looking forward to a new relationship. Can Benedict Ayade utilize the creation of these uncommon alliance that I would term “the Yaoundé Accord of friendship and mutual respect,” to bring the Peoples General closer to us and to gain some interventions due to the loss of oil wells and Bakassi, or will he promote a political fight, criticize Buhari’s policies, create new frontiers to fight APC and make a caricature of the President as some others are doing, remains a mute question.

Only wisdom would answer this question, and we pray Ayade yields to the voice of wisdom.

Princewill Odidi is a development Consultant writing from Atlanta. (princewillodidi@yahoo.com)

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