C'River: 2nd Term Will be Herculean For Ayade

By Asare Asare

Governor of Cross River State, Prof Ben Ayade will have an uphill task returning to office for his second term.

This is because despite his efforts to shore up the financial and investment fortunes of the State since emerging as the 17th governor, popularity problem has been his major draw back in the state.

Although the acting president, Prof Yemi Osibanjo visited the state recently and commended the governor's efforts at infrastructural and economic developments which ought to help boost his likeability but the people, even government workers, think his style of governance was not appealing.

Whether or not they do so sincerely, the governor's close associates and appointees hold him in high esteem inspite of the people's position.

It is doubtful that amongst the PDP officials and legislators in the state House of Assembly, they truly accept him and give him due regard as the leader of the party. This might be because the governor takes unilateral decisions too many times depending on his mood.  But many of them do not seem to be bold enough to confront him with the fact that certain critical decisions must past through the assembly. Most of the governor's signature projects, for instance, were never subjected to deliberation by the assembly.

The other is that since his emergence in the political saddle of the state courtesy of sheer disposition of his predecessor, Senator Liyel Imoke against the run of tide, he is thought not to live to expectation. He no longer pays obeisance to the godfathers, insisting that he was not tied to their apron strings.

As a result of this, the very quiet political strategist, Imoke, who gravely disappointed key stakeholders at the last minute who had high hopes of gaining his favour to become PDP governorship candidate in the 2015 election, is said to have regretted his action of imposing Ayade over and above very popular choices just because of his acclaimed financial muscle at the time.

The people from the Cross River north senatorial district from where the governorship was zoned by the PDP in the state following pressure from Imoke have been uneasy going by the nose diving of Ayade's popularity as governor.  It would be recalled that as he was packing his bag and baggage in 2015, Imoke ensured that the north have a shot at the governorship since the other two districts had produced governors at different times.

Chief Obi Benjamin is a political leader in Boki local government area of the state in the northern senatorial district. In an interview, he said that their son, Ayade, has concentrated much of his proposed key projects in the southern district to the detriment of the north where he hails. He also frowned at the governor's incessant foreign travels  as well as lack of impact in his two years as governor.

"It is not about the flamboyance he displays as governor but his too many promises that have yet to be concretized. He keeps travelling abroad in the name of going to sign MoUs or pulling bluechip investors to the state. How many of these investors have actually establish in the state ever since? He talks too much and does very little.

"We hear of many bail out funds, including the recent Paris Club refund which the federal government has been releasing to our state, we do not know how these moneys have been expended", he stressed.

Benjamin's views are prevalent in many parts of the state. The people are particularly unhappy with the governor over what they term as his poor disposition to security and visible and achievable projects. 

"With lean federal allocations, he talks about very high projects which even the federal government will take upward of five years or more to actualise but here our governor wants to complete 275 km superhighway running from Bakassi to Benue State as well as dredging and actual construction and completion of the Bakassi deep seaport in two years! Haba ! Is this not deception?

" He had also promised to build three new cities in the three senatorial districts as well as Bakassi new resettlement camp within the first two years. He said they would be prefabricated. Since when he brought white people to display some building materials, we have not heard anything ever since", Mrs Justina Eteng, a social worker in Ugep, Yakur LGA said.

A graduate, 32 year old Celestine Philip, who was one of those screened for engagement as a member of the state Green Police, which is now called Green Sheriff, billed to check forest devastation and environmental abuse, lamented that the governor has disappointed them. He said the 1500 people have not been employed even though there were lots of suspicious arrangements during the screening exercise.

National vice chairman of the national ruling party, APC, Hilliard Eta had said of the governor: "He is more of a village boy who never expected to be taken abroad, so that when he sees neon lights and splendid edifices he looks away excitedly. He is more of an infantile jobber.

Commending the governor and giving insight about Ayade's plans to return to office, 34 year old Commissioner for youth and sports in the state, Comrade Asu Okang was emphatic that his boss has all it would take, including popularity, to return to office. 

Dismissing the old brigade politicians, he said a new political generation has since emerged in the state political equation.  Ayade, he said,  has planted enough foot soldiers to work for him across the state. He debunked the notion that the so-called big names that left the party will influence  the vote in next governorship election.

"The appointment of several young persons like me as special advisers, commissioners and personal assistants across the 18 local government areas of the state is deliberate. The governor had said when appointing them that he wanted to expand his government to reach remotest parts of the state. I can assure you that the governor is not stupid. He thinks and looks ahead. I can tell you we are on ground. We are the real strategists. The governor has done so much for the people to deserve a second term", he said.

Aljazira Nigeria 
Politics 1993056937093202812

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