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Hypocrisy Of Ayade's Investment Drive By Inyali Peter


Governor Ben Ayade (Centre) With Alleged Investors

Since Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade assumed office almost two years ago, he has traveled to over 25 countries in the guise of wooing foreign investors to the state. The state government suffers the lost of at least N100 million to each of the self-serving trips.

In an attempt to make Cross Riverians believe that the sole purpose of his junketing from one country to another is actually to woo investors, Ayade has crowned each of the trips with the signing of numerously impactless  Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with some ghost investors who only appear on pictures. In fact, the MOUs are so numerous that even the governor and his media aides forget at times. They have reported the signing of some MOUs for more than three times yet Cross Riverians are yet to feel the impact.

Gifted with oratory prowess and famous for his unbridle lips services, Ayade promised to make Cross River state an industrial hub and a haven for investors in Africa in his first year in office. Contrary to this claim, two years down the line, a once paradise destination and haven for tourists have become a safe den and camp David for all kinds of criminal elements. Daylight robbery, kidnapping, cultism now hold sway in the state. In fact, a day hardly passes by without hearing news of kidnapping, cult clash, armed robbery or assassination attempt.

Cross Riverians have now given up on the ability of government to protect their lives and properties. They have resorted to self defence. (if you like call it jungle justice).

Within the past few weeks, about nine people have been burnt to dead for one criminal activity or the other. While this act is highly condemnable, it would also be out of place to crucify the perpetrators whose security is now left in their hands.

Some have lost a lot of things to criminals such that if a criminal is cut stealing even sachet water, their adrenalin will so rise to burn the person to dead beyond their control.

This is the reality of Ayade's dreamed Cross River. The is the result of using money meant to strengthen internal security to gallivant around the world.

No investor will invest in a crime prone state like Cross River. For any industrialization agenda to succeed, security must be the top most priority of government.

Apart from the increasing spate of criminal activities in the state, the way and manner the administration of Governor Ayade has handled the local investors would scare foreign investors away (if at all there is a foreign investor interested in today's Cross River). A government that lacks the maturity to relate with local investors who share divergent political views should not talk about bringing in foreigners.

There's no single investor in any part of the world that always agree hundred per cent with government. So when they come, there's a possibility that their businesses too would be shutdown if they refuse to remain stooges to government.

Thus, hypocrisy is when Ayade shutdown Jedy Agba's Vibe FM for political reasons yet spend millions of taxpayers money moving from one country to another in the name of wooing investors. The radio station which was initially designed to commence transmission on the first of September 2016 have been shutdown by government because of Ayade's political differences with the founder.

The station would have been able to create employment for over 100 Cross Riverians. It would have been paying tax to the government which would have improved our dwindling internally generated revenue. But all these benefits were put behind just for the interest of the governor.

Recently, Ayade shutdown the popular Sugarland recreational centre which belongs to another of his perceived political opponent,  his former Special Adviser on National Contacts, Mr. Ray Murphy Ugbal. The venture, prior to it closure provided jobs for over forty Cross Riverians. But today, Ayade has sent these people whose only source of livelihood was from there to the street.

There's no rocket science to why crime has skyrocketed in this administration. When people's source of livelihood is taken away from them without palliative measures, there's every tendency that they will resort to crime to survive. Man must wax, any how e be!

There's no democracy that does not witness opposition or criticism. Opposition itself is the beauty of democracy therefore it is mischievous for government to continue to haunt down local investors who have impact lives for political reasons then in turn spend millions chasing after nothingness and shadows.

The nation generally is experiencing a paradigm shift from over reliance on foreign services. Even in investment, the talk about local content has garnered momentum. While other States are creating atmosphere for local investors to thrive, in Cross River Ayade is chasing them out.

Jedy is currently running a successful and world standard radio station in Benin City, the Edo state capital. Murphy, is thriving in his multimillion business in Abuja. These two investors have businesses in choice cities in this country.

They are improving the IGR of other states, creating jobs for other people while in their home state, the ego, pride, and lack of foresight of the governor would not allow them to bring home what they are doing outside.

During the Christmas period last year, while other states were promoting their locally made rice, Ayade was promoting Taiwan rice. The Obudu rice produced by Jedy's farm would have projected the state as one of the famous rice producing states in south south. But rather than promote it, Ayade ordered his media team to carry out discriminatory campaigns against the product.

Unfortunately for the Governor, while it was not selling in Cross River, it was on high demand in Abuja and other cities. Despite the campaign against it, it gained acceptance in major cities and today it's a big brand in Nigeria.

Rather than chase investors who are perceived political enemies, Ayade should work on creating enabling environment for everybody who want to contribute to the development of the state to thrive. He should promote local investors and create opportunities for them to work with real foreign investors not the type we see only on pictures.

The hypocrisy of his investment drive where local investors are persecuted should stop. Charity, they say begins at home. If Ayade want to make Cross River a haven for investors, he should first start by creating enabling environment for local investors devoid party lines. Even people with divergent political ideologies but have genuine businesses should be encouraged to do business with and in state.

A system where the interest of an individual (Governor) is put ahead of that of the masses is not the kind of system that would move the state forward. Politics has never been part of executive functions. The time for politicking has passed; now it's time for governance and everybody with good ideas to move the state forward should be encouraged to contribute.

Growth, development and industrialization thrive in a serene environment. The Ayade administration should return Cross River to her status as the most peaceful state in Nigeria.

Government should diverse a new approach of combating crimes in the state. May be, there should be regular interface of government with traditional rulers, leaders of faith based organizations, head of secondary and tertiary institutions to discuss solutions to the present situation we find ourselves.

The state security adviser is a smart young politician but knows little or nothing about security. He may be young, energetic and intelligent but his appointment should be reviewed because his expertise is not in security.

Expert should be appointed to advise the state on security. The position of State Security Adviser is not Ayade's personal appointee like others but the state therefore the interest of the state rather than his personal political interest should inform his choice of who takes over from the serving adviser.

Until some of these issues are addressed, Ayade's investment drive remain an illusion, irony and a high level hypocrisy aimed at hoodwinking Cross Riverians to believing that only foreign investors can improve our economy.

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