Ayade Benedict Must Go: The Narrative Of A Failing State? (Part 1) BY MICHAEL ABUO

In Breaking News, Columnists

The heading of this article is intentional and the message is clear, deep and succinct. It was pathetic for some persons to throw up their usual sycophantic rhetoric and hypocritical assertion without first reading the content of the topic of this article or introspecting on the topic.

Many via their biases, sentiments and projections made their conclusions and initiated/expressed their low cerebral postulations and poor insight at the said heading. It is this character of drawing conclusions on issues we know nothing about that has brought many to unrealistic expectations and half-baked theories and baseless hypothesis as well as cheap praises and attack of a supposed “enemy” for favor while suffering and smiling as the legendary Fela puts it.

To some, governance is about them, as long as they are in, all is automatically well and to another an input for progress is considered as rivalry and disloyal. Interestingly a lot of people would want to know why this heading was chosen. The reason is simple, the choice was made to draw our attention to this article, deepen our thoughts and answer key questions about the Ayade led administration/the state of our state beyond the governorship primaries and gubernatorial elections.

The truth is, truth isn’t expensive; only lies need all the regalia and it will become naked at the slightest step. The guiding principle of democracy is simple- The People! What are the “people?” – the majority perspective of Cross Riverians about Ayade’s government and our state of affairs.

While a government cannot please everyone and may be faced with bias for and against, the best measurement of government is in taking into consideration the unbiased perception of the people, meeting their genuine needs and making goals, visions and projects clear and providing information in areas of doubt.

Some opine that silence is golden but in most cases when it has to do with governance, silence is not only anti-people, it gives room for distorted reality and rumor mongering which can lead to the fall of any government no matter how good there may be. In most instances, perception becomes reality and that’s why the tool of propaganda is powerful in the political field.

In corporate and developed economies there’s a system/mechanism for feedbacks, monitoring and evaluation and this is all centered on the people. Therefore, there can be no true democracy without interface and meeting the people’s demands/need. This assessment is critical to the success of government!

The worst thing that can happen to any leadership is to be surrounded with sycophantic and hypocritical nuisance and for leaders to be removed totally from the people’s needs and expectations. It is easy to know a government that has the support of the people or their thoughts; it is also easy to know what they want. This requires no hard scientific process.

It is as simple as getting perception while commuting on public transportation, the view while in a public viewing center, the banters of market men and women, independent and unbiased social media comments, the loud voices at drinking spots, the voices from the rural areas and the whispers of our elders/youths and even our political office holders/appointees at their most private chats. These voices and the overall state of our affairs-infrastructural and economic outlook will tell of the state of any government/state.

Another angle to note is that meeting the needs of the people must be done transparently and in accordance to due process in furtherance of the global open government drive to forestall gossips, rumors and speculations. Another essential question is, while the people have got expectations what has Ayade achieved thus far these three years?

It is no news that Ayade Benedict is the current Governor of Cross River State who via the goodwill of the masses won his elections flawlessly in the last gubernatorial elections. What is news is the report from some quarters of the underperformance of his administration these three years in the midst of protests (both verbal and by assembly) recent of which is the “Ayade Must Go” outing.

On the other hand we have also seen an outline of achievements and gains made these three years by the Ayade led administration with emphasis on the industrialisation drive of his government; prompt payment of salaries and his doctrine of expanding government in order to “put food on the table” a term which many have been used as a derogatory description of many in his government; (appointment is now a poverty alleviation program). As a matter of fact, to save you the stress a simple googling of the internet will give you splashes of the achievements and project initiated by this administration. His Excellency, Senator Professor Ayade victory was as pomp as his promises as heard in his inaugural speech and other public press releases.

No doubt there was an overwhelming support but overtime, the reality of governance played out. The promise of a super highway whose ground-breaking was officially done by the president and pathway opened was fraught with petitions from within and outside the state; the amount budgeted for the contract and process of award of contract was queried, the EIA opposed and punctured by local and international organizations and finally every hype died just as the tempo rose.

The question now is where is the superhighway thus far promised? Cross Riverians saw photos of the dredging of the proposed Calabar Sea Port. What are the updates? This is one silence that needs to be broken.

Several state trips was embarked on to draw investments in different sectors of our economy as well as a recruitment process launched for employment into the green police with thousands thronging the Calabar Stadium and adorned with uniforms and receiving salutes from His Excellency. But, the question now is after the said fanfare what is their fate and what comprehensive results or act has been initiated from the trips? This silence is another that needs to be broken.

There are insinuations about land been grabbed for private purposes from government launched schemes and questions of the process of awards of contracts to contractors handling most state projects and the question of who owns the said projects. People have said that these contracts and projects are owned by the Ayade’s family and their affiliates. Everyone within pretends not to know that these questions are been asked… Another silence that needs to be broken!

There is a report of the crumbling of basic infrastructures such as the Calabar Library; the State Museum (some even opine that the Governor has converted the said museum into private use); the public lighting systems and the performance of water board; potholes and the state of Calabar – Ogoja highway; the issue of over taxation and the role of Mr. Frank Ayade in this administration; the state of the recently opened roads across the northern senatorial districts and contracts applied for by contractors which nothing have been heard of even after payment for lots was made and bidding processes concluded. These are questions too that we can’t pretend don’t need answers.

The third tier of government is yet to be constituted and at some points political parties in the state even got monies from aspirants in sales of forms in anticipation of a proposed elections as planned and announced by CROSIEC yet not a very clear answer has been given a year after as to why elections have not been conducted; and there are reports of illegal levies across our state owned educational institutions; questions of local government workers/pensioners who are owed etc. This need answers too.

Amongst the political class, there is the question of what it was like in Donald’s and Liyel’s time or what it was as an appointee of government and then the question the state of security in the state and the government’s stance on cultism as well as her acts in sustaining the gains of past administration; deepening tourism; Rural access; Scholarships and counterpart grants and award of contracts; the state of health facilities and ministries; economic policy and the hobnobbing of Ayade with APC stalwarts etc.

The silence in these and other areas have negatively laundered the image of this administration and have provided many with an overriding opportunity to discredit and oppose the strides of this administration and will form the focal point of campaign strategists against the government. These answers will mar or make the political fortune of our state.

This article is therefore geared at providing unbiased and hard documents to corroborate and or discredit these assertions and more. At the end we will work with our conscience to decide whether or not Ayade should go for a second term or not and if Cross River State is failing or making progress and possible areas for upgrade. Watch out for the following epistle. Thank you.

Prince Michael Nku Abuo, JP is an aide to Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River on Student affairs.

NOTE:Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Venatius Ikem, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.

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