The hype that occasioned the emergence of the Professor, Senator, and now Governor of Cross River State has died down. What looks like scepticism has replaced enthusiasm.
Online media propagandists of the governor have since withered like dead leaves carried by wind down the bottom of the mother tree. Their impatience to hit the ground running as professional media aides has seen them rather as a sluggish media team devoid of ideological perception to lead with example.
Out of frustration as a result of nagging questions thrown at them by Cross Riverians, the Ayade Media Team, AMT in their cluelessness often resorts to attack on personalities of critics of the government. The governor has not helped matters because he has not given these radicals operational framework to aid their work.
To me, the AMT are still bloggers whose use will soon disappear. Time shall prove me wrong. This paper is a comparative analysis of Ben Ayade as governor of Cross River State and Nyesom Wike as governor of Rivers State.
The comparison was arrived at following the Leadership Newspaper presentation of the duo among the 11 governors to watch after inauguration on May 29th. The comparison will be done on the following important headings:
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers has built an empire of transparency to which the whole State has dipped their bread into his tea cup. Wike has rallied the support of all party stakeholders and supporters. Because he understood that the party was divided and that there was no point continuing with such division, he set up a reconciliation committee to reconcile all factions within the PDP.
Former governor Omehia was forgiven of all sins and restored as a retired governor. This won him the ex governor’s supporters and loyalists. Governor Wike understood that no leader succeeds with a divided house which was wrongly built on deception and manipulation. The support has gained him the power to bring Amaechi to EFCC.
Despite Amaechi’s huge following in Rivers State, Wike has successfully cornered Amaechi into defending his corruption allegations. Until recently, Amaechi was untouchable, indomitable, feared and respected in the national caucuses of the APC.
The story is told differently as many even in the APC have no doubt that Amaechi may have used State funds to sponsor Buhari’s election. Whether this is true or not the EFCC will decide. But governor Wike has achieved the inevitable, massive support for his government.
Governor Ben Ayade may have been compromised from the beginning of his governorship ambition. He may have signed secret documents to remain noncommittal to such leadership quality like Wike. The Professor, Senator, and Governor has not shown that he is ready to break away from the Liyel Imoke’s strongholds. Is the former governor holding him by the balls? Only time will tell.
Obviously, the situation on ground in Rivers State PDP to that of Cross River State was the same before handing over. Ayade met a mad house, a divided house due to Liyel Imoke’s far reaching influence and desire to rule over the divisions. With those divisions, one thing was achieved, the looting of the commonwealth.
Liyel is a strategic leader who believes so much in the power of loyalty in leadership by division. This type of leader is called “game hunting”. It is a method used by wild cats like tigers, lions, cheetah, etc. The philosophy of this approach is that it’s difficult to get a “kill” when all the animals are in a pack. So, wild cats divide the “unity of the pack” and then strategically target their “weaker games” that are protected in the pack.
So, Liyel Imoke first of all built a disunited PDP that he made sure would rather disintegrate further after elections. Haha! Till today, PDP is still attacking itself of so many sins. The first group is the pro Donald Duke. The second group are those Liyel faithfuls. Thirdly, is the more liberal and weaker group of Ben Ayade. This group play to the former groups.
Ayade’s failure to unite the party is a leadership weakness. His inability to ensure proper reconciliation has left him with the obvious, leadership by trials and errors. His inability to come clean of the Liyel Imoke’s subjugation is the reason he is unable till now to make a tentative statement about our debt profile, neither has he been able to call for a probe. It is more saddening to see that Ayade will be trying out “new hands but not better hands” in his exco that will be released soon.
Apart from a few bad eggs that have stuck with the PDP for obvious reasons, the Ayade exco will be devoid of technocrats. A leadership style that’s devoid of technocrats is just a follow-follow my style kind of leadership. And for me, Professor, Senator, Governor Benedict Ayade, has no leadership style. No blueprints. No policy direction and no ideas to tailor commitment to the signature objectives.
Should Ayade wake from the slumber and unite the party by a genuine and truthful reconciliation, he might be the next governor to watch. For now, his failure to reconcile his party has left him with many enemies than friends, and many critics than supporters.
Open Financial Policy:
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State after taking office immediately started probing all financial assets of the State. He set up a transition for assets reclamation from the former exco members of Amaechi’s administration. Truthfully, many assets that were siphoned and hijacked by the previous government were taken into custody. Wike took over government apartments and offices that were initially used by Amaechi’s friends and cronies.
Wike documented all State governments financial standing in monetary terms and made that public. He had gone ahead to probe by legislative backing in a bid to revoke sold off public enterprises and properties otherwise done haphazardly during the Amaechi tenure. This openness has earned Governor Nyesome Wike applause even in what Amaechi and his supporters called misplaced priorities.
The Professor Senator-Governor Ben Ayade has however done woefully in keeping an “open financial policy”. At present, all accounts in Cross River State are under lock and key. Imprest to MDA’s have not been available for the past 3 months. International partners and donor accounts cannot be assessed by contractors and partners.
It is however sad to note that almost all public enterprises belonging to the State government have been sold just the same manner as was the case in River State. No committee or commission has been set up to look into the massive sale off bonanza of public organization and properties during the Liyel administration by Ayade. For him, everything Liyel Imoke did was for the good of all Cross Riverians.
The financial recklessness of the previous administration ought not to be swept under the carpet. For him to do so is to accept the fact that he is a weakling in leadership and a slave or stooge of former governor Imoke. The State is broke, and yet Ayade cannot ask questions that are begging for answers.
Matters are made worse when two weeks ago the governor was quoted as screaming at reporters that he “runs the State from his personal and family wealth”. Whether this is true or not left a sour taste to many people’s mouth.
Without a lead by example in accountability, but rather the use of draconian principles, the freeze in all accounts in the State is rather un progressive and repressive to the economy which is already in the precipice. Ayade has performed woefully in terms of an open financial policy.
He has not been able to tell Cross Riverians how much we make from IGR and or how much is gotten from the federation account. Worst still is fact that he has ceased Local Government accounts.
So far, Ayade has no financial openness. This has earned him a poor mark as compared to Nyesom Wike.
Ben Ayade government has been too concerned with the superhighway signature project as against rehabilitating the dilapidated roads in CRS. The government has forgotten that not everyone in CRS is from Ogoja or Obudu. While he is yet to find footing and funds to finance the superhighway, it is very important that other access roads like the Calabar-Edongdong, Calabar-Akpabuyo, Ugep-Ediba, Adim-Idomi, Adim-Agwagwune, etc be rehabilitated.
While waiting for federal government to take up it responsibility of fixing the Calabar-Ikom road. This government can actually brace itself by doing patch work on the Calabar-Ikom road while still planning for the superhighway. If the Ayade government had initiated a “people need response policy” to the people other than the “government needs response”, this government would have been the darling of all. But the government only respond to people needs only when there’s public outcry. This kind of “public outcry intervention approaches” only help to show that the government has no blueprints and unfriendly to citizens.
It is quite sad to note that the governor sits down in the office and wait for the wailing of its citizens before it acts. The Calabar-Akpabuyo road was brought to the knowledge of the governor through imminent personalities like Daniel Agbor, Joseph Odok, Daniel Oku, Godwin Okoi, Godwin Ibiangetc. The governor even though he sited one of the signature projects (deep seaport) in Akpabuyo, the financiers were said to be shocked to see the deplorable conditions of that section of the road that led to the site.
The governor’s ability to finish ground preparations of his signature project initiatives is zero. There’s no financier that will take the governor serious when they passes through that bad road to the deep seaport site. We should stop exposing our ignorance to foreigners.
Let me give an example of what I have witnessed. Once the University where I did my Chinese Language course wanted an international dormitory for foreign students at their permanent location. The Mayor of the city had promised to finance it. On getting to campus they shown him the site. He looked at them speechless. Then asked, “where’s the access road to the site?. I promised you a building not a building and the roads. Please fix your road and call me when you are done”.
This is why no white financier of the signature projects will take Ayade serious. Fixing that road to a standard commensurate with a deep seaport will show the bidders of the projects that the government is serious. Fixing the road will also help citizens to move freely with their goods and services.
How does the governor plans to move materials like rocks for pier and embankment construction? By air? Abeg someone better be serious.
Governor Nyesom Wike after two days in office saw a rigor of activities. The governor immediately revoked all construction contracts awarded to Setraco and handed same to Julius Berger and other efficient Chinese construction companies.
Wike came prepared with a “zero potholes policy on all tarred roads” in Rivers State. Wike did not want to be told that this is a federal government road or not. He went into action without waiting for the wailing and cries of the public like Benedict like Ayade does.
While our Professor-Senator-Governor took a tour to Germany, Wike was rallying construction workers laid-off back to work. He did that without the “singsong” approach of the Benedict Ayade public display of pregnant women in the stadium. In his 30 days in office, Wike has employed over 1500 laborers in the construction industry.
Although not a direct government employment initiative, but indirectly the award of the contract and the invitation of Julius Berger back to Rivers State was a direct initiative of the government. Wike in 30 days has been able to fill up the Rumuokoro-Nkpolo T-junction, and Nkpolo-Choba. The hither land had a major award of contracts for road rehabilitation or construction.
Wike has no media team like Governor Ben Ayade. He depended on the traditional media houses to sell the true state of Rivers State government’s initiatives. Ayade however, employs a media bulk SMS that’s powered by Emmanuel Ulayi that consistently kept mobiles phones in Cross River State vibrating with untrue assessments of government programs. As if that’s not enough, the AMT attack dogs are always employed to deal decisively with any contrary opinion and critics of the governor.
The likes of Mathews Okiri, Inok Solomon, the Okada-National Immigration Services ( Intelligence Unit Officer) doubling in as a media personnel to the government, Declan Ogar Genesis, etc, are all attacks dogs for the government.
The Ayade government is a deceptive government that feeds fat on falsehood propagated mostly by his social media bloggers. The section of Odukpani Road that killed about 7 passengers of Calculus transport, which unfortunately included my senior friend and a colleague, was the reason the governor attempted to grade the road. Perhaps the governor acted too late when the blow had landed.
The grading, even though poorly done, was a media sensation, hyped on the internet by the governor’s media team. Today, the section of the road has worsen. And the governor is waiting for another accident before he takes another action.
Wike is grading and fixing the East West road where it cuts into halves around the borderland with Bayelsa State. On my way back from Nko to Ugep on Saturday, Governor Ben Ayade convoy was stuck on the section between Ekori and Mkpani of the Calabar-Ikom road. A tanker with oil fell around there and a truck with garri fell still on the other side. This is what Cross Riverians pass through every day while the governor either travels abroad, or sits in Calabar drinking coffee and taking calls from banks.
It is without every reasonable doubt that the Ben Ayade government has failed woefully in roads rehabilitation in Cross River State.
To state that Liyel Imoke was a devil that destroyed the educational sector in Cross River State is to state the obvious. But even in this destruction, Liyel built institutions and maintained the CRUTECH template until he handed over power. The ITM in Ugep is a very vibrant institution which when properly harnessed, can transform the manpower and human capacity development initiatives. But the devil with four horns in Governor Ayade is out to destroy certain bequeathed legacies of his predecessor.
Governor-Professor-Senator Ayade has concluded plans to downgrade the ITM Ugep into a technical school. This downgrading policy is unlike a professor. Indeed, it is alarming that this consideration is coming from two renowned professors. Sadly, Professor Benedict Ayade, governor of Cross River State hasn’t taken a tour of official duty of the State to see things for himself. Ugep already has a technical school called St Patrick’s Technical School. Located 600 metres from the ITM.
Of what economic advantage is it to site two technical school in the same town?
These professors should better seek for advise from professionals. Sons and daughters of Cross River State like Prof Itam Oden, Obasesam Okoi (Conflict Expert in Canada), Prof Ekah Braide, and well meaning people of international repute from Ugep can help Ayade with the best approaches to resolve their problems with the management of the institution.
Better still, I can offer my educational consultancy ideas to the government too if I could be called upon. The inability of the governor to tour all of CRUTECH campuses till now is a slap on education and the institution.
These obvious lackadaisical attitudes toward our educational development by these two professors of whom one is a former VC of the University of Calabar is sad. It shows that these two are a minus compared to Governor Nyesom Wike.
Governor Wike took a tour of all model secondary schools in Rivers State to see for himself the decay and degradation of what is left behind by the former governor. He was said to have broken down with tears at Borokiri Government Comprehensive Secondary School.
Speaking shortly after inspecting the premises of Government Comprehensive Secondary School, Borokiri, “the governor expressed sadness that the immediate past administration allowed schools to rot away while squandering billions on building senseless model schools”.
Governor Wike said that the committee which he has set up has submitted a bill of quantities on the scope of work to be done.
The renovation work will cover all public secondary schools – including: Government Girls Secondary School, Isiokpo; Marian Girls High School, Bane; Government Girls Secondary School, Rumuokwuta; Birabi Memorial Grammar School, Bori and Enitonia Boys High School, Port Harcourt among others.
Meanwhile Governor Ayade has until now not paid a single visit to any Secondary School in the State, but keeps threatening to downgrade Ugep ITM. It is also a fact that until now, the governor has not approved the agreement reached between him and CRUTECH ASUU. It should also be remembered that the governor had shortly after being declared winner of the governorship election opined that 160 million naira was too much to run an institution with three campuses and which also has departments and facilities of civil engineering and structural engineering.
Governor Ayade’s educational policy is a flop compared to Nyesom Wike.
In job creation, the approaches used by this two governors is distinctive. Ayade depends so much on the media to sell his point. Wike on the other hand has not been heard in the news about creating jobs. When Wike took over leadership of Rivers State, he met a backlog of unpaid salaries. The 5000 teachers newly employed were not confirmed. Wike had to step in. He confirmed and paid their salaries.
One thing about government intervention for job creation doesn’t often work as anticipated. Creating pathways for development does create long lasting jobs.
For example, the CRS governor is so obsessed with green police. The green police are to take charge of the rainforest. One thing about governance is that the next governor priorities might shift from green policing. When that is done, the sustainability of jobs by green policing will be dropped and the whole idea lost.
Unlike Ayade, Wike created jobs in the school system. Creating jobs in schools becomes important because teachers will always teach. Besides, any other government priorities will include education. Another aspect of employment taken seriously by Wike was to open up Rivers State by constructing road. More roads, more labour will be needed. Creating jobs through development is the most sustainable way to keep jobs even after the expiration of the term of the governor who initiated the idea.
The idea that governor Ayade will always play to media each time he wants to create jobs does not tell well of a leader with good intention. Inviting Julius Berger back to Rivers State has also helped to recalled all workers that were laid-off for 8 years rule of Amaechi.
What’s the point to want to employ into a garment factory that’s not completed yet? Who are the people employed into the green police? When are they going to start? Is Ayade going to pay their salaries through his personal or family wealth? Until this questions are answered, this whole media stunt is not what a State like CRS need. Therefore, the verdict is that Ayade performed woefully in 100 days. The promise that the garment factory will be completed in 100 days is a flop.
To say that Port Harcourt is a tourist State is to say that CRS is an oil producing State. Tourism in Nigeria started in CRS. Many States now are reaping from the good work started in 1999.
The tourism initiative of Professor Benedict Ayade has not been handled properly. With different new yam festivities across the State, one could have expected the governor’s presence in villages to say thank you for your vote and in attracting the necessary media attention to the communities.
The absence of the governor at the Ugep international new yam festival only helped to state the obvious, that Ayade leadership drive does not want to include tourism as a potential.
The notable absence of the governor was said to have generated a lot of controversy. There are rumors in Ugep that the governor also plans to cancel the celebration of new yam in Ugep.
Port Harcourt however is wearing new looks. Good road and fast response in government offices. This is a good capacity for tourism development.
International Donor/Partners Accounts:
Donor projects in Rivers State are undergoing a smooth transition. While Wike has kept an open policy on that, Ayade has locked off foreign donor projects. Most often, States receive extra budgetary support from foreign partners like World Bank. Wike has been enjoying that in his “no pothole policy drive” in Rivers State.
It is sad that as you read this, the World Bank has concluded plans to withdraw it monies in Cross River State on the 18th of September 2015. A letter from World Bank Headquarters in Abuja has already been sent to Washington DC. The withdrawal of World Bank as a development partner to CRS has dare consequences. It will also occasion the withdrawal of EU Support programs, UKaid, and many others.
It will be fundamentally an abuse of power for Governor Ben Ayade to allow this to happen. One implication to this withdrawal will be a massive pulling out of interest in terms of business by foreign investors.
Needless for me to reiterate that UKaid is a support program with headquarters in London and Glasgow. Most of it works are done in sub regional offices in Dublin, Ireland. My driving force here is the tractor equipment and semi detached houses Ayade promises he will develop through one Irish firm. The truth here is that, UKaid in it vision of eradicating poverty has earmarked CRS, Delta, Edo, Abia, Bayelsa as study areas.
If UKaid pulls out of CRS, Ayade should better forget his signature projects, especially those that depends of foreign expertise and budgetary sponsorship.
While Wike can be excused to drink coffee in office and cross his legs, Ayade obviously needs to be flogged as a professor on this one. He failed woefully with his tongue out.
Read my article on the “fallacy of Ayade signature projects” on newspunch. Read also the “Open Letter To Ayade On Signature Projects” by Barrister Utum Eteng.
On the garment factory, please see all template on my Facebook profile.
The only thing I can add to the garment factory as a signature project is that the consultant handling the design is one Barrister Mogbor in Rural Electrification Agency. A visit to the office revealed that the State has not even paid for his services for volunteering to design the layout of the factory location.
Meanwhile, we have been consistently deceived that the architectural design, landscape designing and all that were done abroad.
The question is why are Cross Riverians taken for fools by Ayade administration?
What is the need to employ people in a factory that has not started operations?
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