The bane of development in many developing nations especially in Africa has been the inability to draw the line between partisan politics and commitment to national and state development.
Often political leaders struggle to understand the complex relationship between commitment to party ideals and leadership cooperation required to produce tangible results in nation building.
Democracy has been proven to be the best form of government and political parties are fundamental institutions in a democratic society.
Partisan politics thus is an integral part of democracy all around the world.
How then do we know where to draw the line between our commitment to the sustainable growth and strengthening of our political parties and the partnerships, collaboration and cooperation needed to achieve the strategic objectives of democracy in governance?
This treatise takes a critical look at this thorny issue in a bid to help solve the complexities involved to unlock the enormous potentials for development in Nigeria taking an example from the fledgling mutually beneficial relationship between the President of Nigeria, President Mohammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, and the Governor of Cross River State, Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade of the Peoples Democratic Party.
The recent visit of President Mohammadu Buhari to Cross River State to perform the Ground Breaking Ceremony for the 260 km Super Highway is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria and presents a case in study and a ray of hope that the developing world can escape from the clutches of this dilemma that has been the bane of development and held us bound for decades.
It is unprecedented because first, Cross River State is an opposition state, being led governed by a governor elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade.
Second, this is coming soon after an election that saw the ousting of a ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, after a strongly contested election that shook the nation to its foundation.
Indeed I must congratulate the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Mohammadu Buhari for writing his name in gold by putting his commitment to national development ahead of the intrigues of partisan politics.
President Buhari did not only come and perform the ground breaking for the 260 km Super Highway but also made a huge financial commitment as his contribution to seeing to the completion of the project.
In furtherance of this commitment, the President made a promise to return to the state to commission the project on completion.
What more could we as a state ask from the President? What more lessons could political leaders learn from this statesman and leader with a good heart?
I believe it will be the dawn of a new day for the developing world in Africa and beyond if we can grasp the import of this lesson and begin to work with it.
If this treatise had ended here, though it would not have done justice to the title, it would have communicated a very essential lesson that can bring revolution to our country and continent.
But the main purpose of the treatise goes far beyond this lesson. It attempts to communicate also how the erudite, bold, visionary digital Governor of Cross River State Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade has employed political diplomacy to achieve the seeming impossible in winning the President’s commitment to come to Cross River State to perform the ground breaking for the project.
Sen. Prof Ben Ayade has by this act demonstrated that political diplomacy is product of deep thinking. Or how else could one describe this feat he achieved at such a strategic time through the unveiling of such audacious vision.
It is only a man with great mental faculty that can conceive and execute such an exploit. To help understand the significance of this, we need to take a deeper look at certain context.
First what is political diplomacy? According to Wikipedia, in an informal or social sense, political diplomacy can be defined as the employment of tact to gain strategic advantage or to find mutually acceptable solutions to a common challenge.
Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade employed the highest level of political diplomacy, to play down the huge gulf created by partisan politics, to achieve the cooperation of Mr. President to partner with Cross River State on this revolutionary project.
This achievement represents a major paradigm shift against the background of the growing chasm between leaders of various political parties in Nigeria, executive heads of governments at various levels and elected representatives in the legislature.
Beyond political diplomacy, it is only an audacious vision such as the 260km Super Highway that can get the attention of and draw commitment from the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who no doubt is a very busy person.
I say it without fear of equivocation that President Muhammadu Buhari would not have made such commitment to anything less and I challenge anyone to prove me wrong.
Political diplomacy and visionary leadership has thus won the commitment of the President and is thus driving the change agenda of the present Federal administration.
It is important that we understand what true change means for all of us. Change means moving from a less productive political strategy to a more productive one.
It means building bridges across political divides for the purpose of achieving socio-economic development, it means unveiling a world class vision in a developing nation and it means moving Cross River State economy from a third world economy to a first world economy through vision, courage and politics with ethics.
So thanks to Sen. Prof. Ben. Ayade, that change we really need is here. It is in the 260 km Super highway, it is in the Bakassi Deep Sea Port. It is in the proposed Cross River State Modular Refinery, it is in the proposed 18 new cities to be constructed across the state.
It is in the Social Housing scheme proposed by the Sen. Ben Ayade administration. It is in the Rice City and Cocoa Processing factory which have been budgeted for in the 2016 Appropriation bill currently before the Cross River State House of Assembly.
Time and space will not allow me enumerate all the concepts which have been set in motion to change the socio-economic status of our beloved Cross River State.
Our state is truly blessed to have a Governor like Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade at this time when the state needs constructive economic repositioning, practical political reengineering and fast tract development conceptualization.
We have a leader who is able to see politics beyond winning and losing elections, rising above partisanship to see politics as a tool for building liberal democracy in Nigeria and harnessing the power of his vision to bridge the gap between political parties and leaders at various levels.
This is the crux of this entire matter.
Emmanuel Etim is a development consultant based in Nigeria (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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