In this article similar to the previous ones, I do not intend to pretend that my principal and Governor of Cross River State, Senator Ben Ayade, like any other human being is without faults or shortcomings.
Embarking on such course and fallacious position is to put him in the realm of a God, and gods. Such a conclusion will only be posited by a candidate fit only for lunatic asylum.
Again, I will not say that directly or indirectly, Ayade has not hurt an individual or group of persons in the course of discharging the onerous task of governance or make mistakes as a normal human being with blood running through his veins would.
Feeling hurt, and shortchanged at the personal level which this writer also feel so is a different ball game all together and not a yardstick to judge a leader or government. People who see and judge from unbiased premise would not dress down a leader unnecessarily because he or she is not favored, while on the holistic level, the leader is touching the electorates in a more realistic and self-evident manner. After all, it is not a foreclosed conclusion that if any person or myself is not favored today, he or she would not be looked upon with the milk of kindness tomorrow.
It is true that until last week when the PDP screening committee headed by its chairman, Honorable Muraina Ajibola and the Secretary, Honorable Boyele Debekeme and other committee members screened and cleared Ayade at PortHarcourt as a qualified aspirant to contest the gubernatorial race in Cross River for 2019, many tongues had flapped that PDP will not even screen Governor Ayade, while granting him the party’s ticket to be its flag bearer in the 2019 general elections scheduled for February next year, was a pipe dream and a far cry from reality.
While some persons’ worries were expressed out of genuine concerns, it will also not be far from the truth that others did so out of mockery as well as eye service and not out of genuine love for the governor. In all these tongues wagging and beer parlor rumors, this writer remained aloof from the discourse as well as remained unruffled because as a person I realized that nothing was going to stop him from being reelected vis-à-vis his performance on ground.
In comforting themselves and making the unfounded rumors and lies look truth to those they pry upon, the originators of “no screening, clearance and ticket for Ayade” were quick to point to the state of the dual carriage way cutting across the five local government areas of the northern senatorial district, the state of the urban roads and streets in Calabar and other towns, the state of the superhighway and deep seaport in particular as projects meant to scam Cross Riverians and would therefore not see the light of the day. As I put finishing touches to this article the governor has already promised that he will fix every single pothole in Calabar metropolis before Christmas.
Truly, the graveyard silence of these group of Cross Riverians skilled in acid laden criticisms of Ayade administration as regards the fact that the Cross River Garment Factory that was hitherto
subject of merciless criticisms and attacks is fully operational and others like the rice seedlings and nursery factory housed inside Ayade industrial park already commissioned, Calabar pharmaceutical company limited (CALAPHARM), Cocoa processing factory, Nkum in Ikom, ultramodern rice milling factory at Ogoja, Banana plantation for export at Odukpani, Boki East-West road, the unmatched revolution ongoing in the health sector generally and the primary health care, Ayadecare, regular and prompt payment of workers’ salaries, exploit in the education, agriculture sectors and other sectors in particular among so many other projects and programs of Ayade have never cease to amaze me to the extent that I often feel like laughing in Swahili and Chinese languages.
Again, to prove that they are genuinely interested and committed to seeing the state and its people develop in leaps and bounds, why have these group of individuals not muster the moral courage to admit the fact that the reasons for the delay of the signature projects lies partly with these same calibre of Cross Riverians penchant for writing destructive petitions, who never see anything worth supporting that emanates from Ayade, and also due to the bureaucratic bottleneck associated with getting EIA and other approvals from the Federal Government?
The dual carriageway presently under construction in the northern senatorial district is another area where vicious attacks on Ayade has been carried out on the reason that the whole length of the road has been bulldozed and left untarred for too long causing untold hardship to the people of the area, and that the bulldozing should have been carried out in phases.
We cannot rule out the fact that for a government to have embarked on
bulldozing almost all the whole length of the road, there may have been articulated plans to complete it within a specific time framework. We can also not deny the fact that as humans, unforeseen circumstances, such as dearth of funds or fund delaying from the
source it was expected to come at a particular time could creep in to tamper with the projection and time framework which is normal.
In as much as Ayade’s administration is not happy that the hitherto prolonged dry season and now excessive heavy rains across the nation and the world have caused great suffering to the people, and efforts are ongoing day and night to hasten the pace of work by the contractors, our people and his critics should understand it from that view point and let the matter be. In all ramifications, no society gains by destroying but have every advantage to get to its desired destination when it learns to collectively and individually build.
Those who criticize Ayade over the dual carriageway in the north and a few of other projects are not justified from the stand point that no government can initiate and complete the number of gigantic projects embarked by Ayade leadership in a single tenure, In fact completing such arrays of projects in a single term of four years will certainly be a feat reserved only for the gods.
The very fact these people accused Ayade of spoiling roads in the north and making them impassable, not been able to complete the signature projects is the very cogent reason that they should come out in numbers to vote him to complete his eight years so they can justifiably hold him accountable by the end of his second term in 2023 if he fails to deliver.
Calling Ayade names and inventing what he is and what he is not by opponents or persons from the other senatorial districts fighting hard to frustrate Ayade and the northern senatorial district’s eight years tenure is not the rational path to follow but acts that could destroy the peace and brotherhood the people of the three senatorial districts enjoyed since the carving out of creation of Akwa Ibom in general and from 1999 to date in particular.
Ayade like Julius Caesar is now standing at the bank of the Rubicon River and on the threshold of making history not just for himself but the entire people of the north, just as Caesar did for himself the citizens of Rome who loved him so much while alive and in dead after being mortally wounded by the sword of his treacherous friend, Brutus. Julius Caesar controlled northern Italy Province, better known then as Cisalpine Gaul that was separated from the mainland Rome by the Rubicon River.
Standing at the edge of the small river with his six thousand strong army contemplating whether or not to cross the river to the other side, knowing that the law forbade an army general from leading a troop out of the province he controlled and doing so is to incur the anger of the vast military force under Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus known as Pompey, his former ally now sworn enemy upon himself with the law and the senate as a body not on his side but Pompey, the aftermath would be a devastating civil war.
Caesar, though fully aware that crossing the river is to run break the law, besides facing a vast army superior in number and skill to his, he also considered the consequences of not crossing the Rubicon River which would have put the seal of approval and authority to a peace treaty foisted by a lethally misruled Rome, and remaining on the other side in seeming safety would very soon unleashed calamity on all as a misruled state cannot endure beyond its elastic strength.
The rational option therefore was for Julius Caesar to damn the consequences and he boldly maintained, “The Die is Cast”, (Alea iacta est) and then crossed the Rubicon River, started a civil war which brought him power and equally expanded the frontiers of Rome in extent and time, and provided opportunity to the Greco-Roman people to enjoy additional four centuries of existence in the West and six in the east.
You may be wondering the nexus that connects Caesar’s experience with Governor Ayade, and I will respond by stating that it does connect and I will go ahead to prove the link. On his part, perhaps after many years of seating back without action about Pompey’s leadership and the corrupt senate and waiting for long at the bank of the river, Caesar decided to cross the Rubicon River, and furiously unleashed against the prevailing current, a vast army, the law and senate to achieve glory to himself and additional life force to the Greco-Roman civilization. The bold action exhibited by Caesar and his 6000 strong army which can be compared to the present day coup plotters who are aware that if they succeed, they will be in leadership position but if they fail, they will end up being executed.
On the part of Senator Ben Ayade, Governor of Cross River, first he came with a development blueprint which he is doing his best to execute in the midst of unrestrained acidic criticisms and as a normal human being he will feel sad sometimes and would want to give up, but wakes from his contemplation of such self defeating thoughts as Caesar
did and looked beyond his own personal integrity and comfort, accepted the nomination form purchased for him by some good Cross Riverians to run for a second term and equally went ahead to be screened and cleared to contest for the position of governor of the state by the PDP committee in PortHarcourt last week.
While Caesar contemplated deeply before and after reaching the bank of the Rubicon River on his mission which was clearly against the laws of Rome, governor Ayade on the other hand contemplated deeply before getting to the point of accepting the nomination form and getting screened and cleared by the PDP committee qualifying him now to stand at this other side of the bank of the Rubicon River.
Again, as the Rubicon River strength was not based on its dangerous and tempestuous nature, but was there as a strong reminder of the Roman law to deter Caesar from crossing, however, a deterrent which Caesar pushed aside and marched on, waged and won a decisive war that brought him unprecedented glories and freed the entire Roman citizens from the claws of tyrannical Pompey and senate, in the same manner Senator Ben Ayade will certainly win the PDP gubernatorial primaries and march ahead to cross his own Rubicon River which is the general elections next year.
The differences between Caesar and Ayade is that while Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River by undermining the law and conquered by brute force using the instruments of death, Ayade has the constitutional mandate and the law on his side to embark on all processes within the ambit of the law and finally contest the 2019 gubernatorial elections to complete his second tenure and the two terms of the northern senatorial district in 2023.
There is no doubting the fact, even by his critics that there are concrete evidence of development that touches all sections of the state and the people, including projects such as the Rice Seedlings and Nursery factory that has been commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Cross River Garment factory that currently employs over two thousand workers, the CalaPharm and many other projects that would be completed and commissioned by next tenure.
Ayade critics accused him of leaving some projects uncompleted as gimmick to seek for a second term, but fail to state the obvious that past administrations in the state before 1999 and from 1999-2015 and also in the country never finished all their projects in one tenure, not even in eight years; perhaps, projects that were not as monumental and humongous as the ones Ayade has embarked on.
For example, a flier and rated project/program like the Carnival
Calabar was not started until the beginning of the second tenure of Donald Duke in 2004, phase one of Tinapa was only completed in 2007, Bee keeping equipment for honey production from a Turkey’s company was only delivered in 2005, Obudu Ranch resort buildings and facilities including the water park and Cable Car in 2005, all these star projects of Duke only got their flesh, bones and blood in his second term.
Under Imoke, his aggressive rural transformation program/projects equally cut across his two tenure, while the monorail, an idea conceived by Duke and work started by his successor, and the Calabar International Convention Centre (CICC) initiated by Senator Imoke were
all completed by the administration of Senator Ayade. Similar facts and data abound across the 36 states of the federation as well as the federal government. The citing of the above projects and the actors behind them is not meant to spurn anyone but for the purpose of stating the obvious and collaborating facts.
It is therefore incontrovertibly clear that Ayade is not the only governor or leader who started projects and some of the projects would have to be completed in his second term or even to be completed by another administration after eight years; after all government is continuous and the projects are meant for all citizens now and for the generations to come.
Ayade has done well and is still doing well in his first tenure to the extent that all the PDP Presidential aspirants who have so far visited him including the former governor of Kaduna state, and PDP former national Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi who visited the governor yesterday, September 25, 2018 as I was putting finishing touches to this article all praised him for his developmental strides and that he is the type of leader Nigeria needs and that when the presidency is zoned to the south-south, Ayade will be the best option while describing him as a true nationalist.
The Rubicon River will surely be crossed by Ayade for his second term and to complete eight years for the northern senatorial district of the state for equity, justice and fair play as the other two senatorial districts have had theirs between 1999-2007 and 2007-2015
Solomon Asha is a media aide to Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River.
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