Why All Cross Riverians Must Support Professor Ben Ayade’s Second Term Bid BY KENNETH AWOWOH

In Breaking News, Opinion

By nature, man is comfortable with the status quo. He prefers the normal due largely to the fear of the unknown. He does not want to set his feet on the body of water until he ascertains the depth. He wants to see the staircase clearly before taking a step.

Man does not at any time in his existence intend to disrupt the normal flow of things and will rather sit on what he can see than set out for what he cannot see. That is man in his raw State, and you cannot possibly blame him for being careful after all.

The story of the Israelites in captivity in Egypt in the Christians Holy Book aptly illustrate this. Like you may already know, the children of Israel were in captivity in Egypt. They were made to suffer all manner of hardship under the leadership of King Pharaoh. God was not happy with the suffering of his people and thus, orchestrated their freedom through the birth of Moses, himself a disguised Hebrew boy who knew his origin because he was told same by his mother.

He started his ordained assignment of liberating his people from bondage with a failed attempt that led him to kill an Egyptian who meted out untold hardship on his Hebrew brother. His second attempt was when he cautioned men of Hebrew strove who were fighting themselves by informing them not to fight one another because they are brothers and the change resistant man challenged his savior with an annoying ignorant and life threatening act by reminding him of his previous ordeal, which made Moses run for his life.

He will later return after the burning bush experience to save his people from bondage and after several attempts, he takes the children of Israel from Egypt through the wilderness. Again, the change resistant man questioned Moses even in the journey towards his liberation because of his taste for immediate gratification. He rather preferred to remain in bondage where he was at least given a mound of food than move forward to his freedom where he will become a made man with capacity to feed himself and many others.

He challenged Moses, conspired against him, and moved from one camp to the other to plan his downfall. He gathered people to call him all manner of names because his was resistant to change and to long term planning. The change resistant man cares more about his immediate needs and is less concerned about the future.

For years, Cross River State has been tagged a civil service state and truly so. The biggest industries in the State for all these years have been the eighteen local government council secretariats and the Governor’s office Calabar. The Donald Duke administration tapped into the tourism potentials of the State by revamping the Obudu Mountain Resort, building Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort, The Marina Resort, started the Calabar Carnival etc. though with a huge debt burden on the State.

The Liyel Imoke’s administration took it further by strengthening the existing infrastructure in the state, built rural roads linking unimaginable communities and then rural electrification, and masterfully managed the affairs of the State amidst meager resources.

While the milestones are commendable, it has become extremely pertinent to look the way of industrialization to enable the state tap into its vast potentials. Anything contrary to this will only amount to administering Paracetamol to a patient with a terminal ailment.

It is no longer news however that the State is struggling financially after losing its oil wells to neighboring Akwa Ibom State. In fact, by revenue allocation, it will rank among the poorest states in the entire country.
What the state needs now is someone with a large heart and a dogged determination to rapidly transform the State into a producing State so that it can become self-sustaining, generating its revenue and providing jobs for its teeming youths. These things though desired, do not happen overnight. It requires vision, commitment, consistence and huge sacrifice.

The present administration of Professor Ben Ayade is on track in this regard. Just like it is with every major transformative move, the ordinary man will always antagonise it. The story of Moses in the Bible summarised above, illustrates this. Also, when Noah got clear instructions from God Almighty himself to build an ark, ordinary minds could not comprehend why Noah was gathering wood and building a shapeless structure, in fact, they laughed at Noah, abused him, spat, passed faeces and dumped waste on his lifesaving wood work until the rains began and the need for the ark became evident.

When Nehemiah got instructions from God to rebuild his city, he met tough resistance from men of his own class. In modern times, when America fell into the great recession of 1929, it took the unsurmountable dogged and unprecedented leadership of Franklin Delano Roosevelt to get the country out. While ordinary people think for the now, great leaders think for many years, taking unpopular decisions because they are not concerned about the applause of the moment but the verdict of the future.

Senator Ben Ayade is the right man for the job right now. His giant strides in the attempt to fully industrialise and provoke agricultural revolution in the State must be commended and supported. The evidences of the new shape and status of the State are everywhere and in all the three senatorial districts of the State.

Projects like the paradise toothpick factory in Ekori in Yakurr local government area, the ultra-modern rice processing factory in Ogoja, the Cross River State rice seed and seedling factory in Calabar, the banana plantation in Odukpani , the Cross River State pharmaceutical factory, the Calas Vegas resort in Calabar, the ultra-modern garment factory in Calabar, the automated vibrated electricity poles, pile and pylons factory in Awi in Akampka in preparation for the deep seaport project and the ultra-modern cocoa processing facilities in Yala-Nkum, Ikom have the potentials to create jobs, revamp the economy of the State for the overall good of its people.

The government is also taking infrastructural development seriously with major construction and dualisation of roads within the State. When these industries begin full operation, and his Excellency must have completed his second term as governor, Cross Riverians who had doubts, will have their doubts cleared.

We must not allow people with small minds and a self-seeking agenda to thwart our current efforts. We must rise to the occasion and educate our people on the dangers of sitting by and doing things the normal and usual ways. We must remain patient, prayerful and full of faith. We must see far beyond the present into the glorious future God preplanned for the people of Cross River State and work hand in hand with the governor of the state to ensure that great future together.

Kennedy Awowoh, an Attorney at Law and public affairs commentator writes in from Lagos.

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