It amuses how what was a national conflagration is now being politicised in Cross River state. It smacks of vapid self glory when some people adorn the garb of advocates of good governance to vent personal anger, personal animosity against Governor Ben Ayade over requests refused, favours not granted or refusal to grant incessant favours requests.
Some of these today’s critics, were yesterday’s hallelujah boys when they had the ears of the governor. But like the British weather, they have become consistently inconsistent owing to self interest. Such persons’ public grandstanding should not be taken seriously for it is parented by vendetta. It is even more sickening that those who should know have decided, for mischief and pecuniary gains, to mask behind the EndSars protest that turned violent to spew inanities just because they have personal axe to grind with certain political leaders. Evidently, hack and paid writers latching on the violent Endsar protest in Calabar to vent personal bile at Governor Ayade are doing so for their own selfish end. I think it behoves on fair minded Cross Riverians to remind such arm chair critics and pay- as- you – write superstars that beside lining their pockets with lewd proceeds from yeomanry, they will win no medal ventilating falsehood.
Every government, all over the world, comes with a definite policy that underpins and defines its life span. It didn’t start with the Ayade administration in Cross River. It is therefore, baffling that the governor’s choice of massive and aggressive Industrialisation of the state as the main kernel of his administration has left some people masturbating in their boxers with the rage of a deranged bull. Sad.
It is even more ludicrous given that some of these hack writers were the ones that the governor used either as contractors or consultants to establish one or two of the industries that today dot the state’s landscape.While industrializing the state with the view to changing for good, its fixated narrative as a Civil Service state to one that creates jobs for its teaming young population, Ayade has not neglected other sectors.
Evidences of Ayade’s multi- sectoral strides abound but nay sayers would rather grimly deny the evidences of their eyes than admit the obvious.It is supremely sad that outsiders who visit the state recognise the enchanting vision embedded in the Ayade mission while those for whom the governor daily thinks out of the box choose to play politics with governance.
They deliberately refuse to acknowledge that governor Ayade, in the face of meagre federal allocation and Cross River having reached the threshold of borrowing, is practically squeezing water out of stone to carry on with cardinal projects of the administration and at the same time meeting the social contract he signed with the people of the state in terms of good governance. For example, the October 2020, federal allocation to the state stood at little above 500million naira- an all time low, yet October salaries, Pensions and non payroll personnel cost approximately about N3.1Bn have been taken care of. Many states are still struggling to meet their October financial obligations.
This is besides the debt service repayment of legacy loans inherited by the Ayade administration. Now, the paltry allocation figure above which came to the state in October and which has virtually been a recurring decimal since the advent of the administration is gleefully avoided in the tepid assessment of the governor by hired guns.
Notedly, unbiased, clinical evaluation of the Ayade administration in the last five years requires that what comes into the state’s coffers monthly be also factored in. As we speak, internal roads in the Calabar metropolis are being completely overhauled, the Odukpani-Itu- Calabar highway, a federal road, is being dualised, with second level asphalting commencing in a matter of days, workers who were illegally recruited into the civil service and were delisted from payroll are back into the system and their October salaries paid out of the magnanimity of Ayade. Similarly, as a way of lowering social tension and youth restiveness following the COVID-19 pandemic and EndSars conflagrations, the Ayade administration is currently partnering some private and government institutions to create 20,000 jobs for young people in the state.
In five years, Ayade has brushed aside limitations imposed by lean financial resources to embark on a plethora of signature projects, including establishment of ultra mordern industries. Many of these industries are either completed or on the verge of completion and awaiting commissioning. More jobs for Cross Riverians are assured when these industries commence production and this will be soon. A glance at Ayade’s strides in five years reveals the following: Rice Seeds and Seedlings Factory, Calabar (Completed and operational), Cross River Garment Factory, Calabar (Completed and operational), Instant Noodles Factory, Calabar (Completed), Feed Mill, Calabar (Completed), Calachika, a 24000 per day Frozen Chicken Factory, Calabar (Completed), Toothpick Factory, Ekori, Yakurr (Completed and operational) , ultra-modern Cocoa Processing Factory, Ikom (90% completed) and Calabar Pharmaceutical Factory (90% completed).
Other key achievements of the governor include: Nigeria’s first vitaminised rice mill, Ogoja (90% completed), Piles and Pylon Factory, Akamkpa (Completed), Roofing Tiles Factory, Yala (Completed), Teachers Continuous Training College, Biase (Completed), British-Canadian School, Obudu (90% completed), Bio-fertilizer Factory, Calabar (90% completed), Over 100km of 145km dual carriage Mfom-Okpoma-Bekwarra-Obudu- Obanliku highway completed, 23 megawatts power plant in Calabar completed and already powering street lights in the town, while another 26 megawatts gas fired power plant at Tinapa is nearing completion.
There are also: Ongoing construction of Boki East-West road to be completed next year, 52 units of fully furnished two- bed room flats, an ultra-modern housing estate for Bakassi returnees (Completed and handed over to the IDPs), construction of Obudu International Airport (Ongoing), Groundnut Oil Factory, Bekwarra (80% completed) and the ongoing construction of referral hospitals in Obudu and Akpabuyo local government areas. There is undeniable presence of the above projects in the areas they are sited. But those who thrive in infantile blackmail would rather gloat over the EndSars violent protest in Calabar and play politics with it rather than take time to visit the projects to confirm for themselves the veracity or otherwise of their existence. The EndSARS protests and the attendant arson and vandalization came like a hurricane and swept across the country, particularly southern Nigeria. Cross River was not isolated
Lagos, for example, was probably the worst hit in terms of destruction and looting of public and private properties and business, including palliatives warehouse, yet no Lagosian has termed the incidence a referendum on governor Sanwo Olu. Similarly, the Nigerian police lost 205 police stations- completely looted and razed to the ground, and 22 personnel, yet no one is politicising the police losses or calling it a referendum on the Inspector general of police.
Those who giddily speak about the Endsars protest’s violent dimension in Cross River as a referendum on Ayade would have added more interesting comic to their theatre of the absurd had they also told us that he too governs states where Endsars protest equally spiraled into blood- chilling mayhem! That they only singled out Ayade for a “referendum” made in their own warped image is beyond the pale. However, no amount of rambling and ranting or unleashing of a stream of bitterness and bile will do anything to dime a star on an unstoppable ascendancy, for Ayade’s determination to accomplish his mission of reinventing Cross River is stronger than any prospect of failure.
Onyemaizu, Senior Special Assistant to Governor Ayade on Print Media