EDITORIAL : Between Wike And Ayade


Long before Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River even defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, a cold war between him and the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nysom Wike had been on the cards. Wike had in different fora openly attacked Governor Ayade just as Ayade too some times subtly take a swipe on him. 

Wike is alleged to be the sponsor of the faction of the PDP that hijacked the structure of the party from Ayade that forced him to dump the party for the APC. And since after his defection, the PDP in the state have always used Wike as standard to measure performance and achievements of the Ayade's administration. 

They do this without considering the peculiar financial positions of the two states. While Wike has initiated some developmental projects like road construction and flyovers in his state, Ayade too has done well in his Industrialization drive. But his critics who always compare his achievements to Wike have always failed to put the financial positions of the states into consideration. 

Rivers is one of the richest states in Nigeria. Its monthly and annually federal allocation is among the top three while Cross River is among the lowest. 

In 2020, Rivers State received the third highest allocation from the federation coffers. The N141.19 billion the state received was only behind Delta's and Akwa Ibom N186.83 billion and 146.27 billion, respectively. 

In 2019, Rivers received a gross allocation of N154.5 billion while Cross River received less than N50 billion. 

Between 2015 to 2018, according to National Bureau of Statistics, Rivers State received a total of N496 billion which was the third highest as federal allocation while Cross River received a meager N122 billion. 

Despite this huge figure, the Wike administration has still plunged the state into huge debt. The state is  now the second most indebted state in Nigeria with a debt profile of N266.936 billion, according to data from Debt Management Office.

Cross River which was among the top three most indebted states and with one of the lowest federal allocation is now fifth with a debt profile of N164.100 billion. This debt burden was inherited from previous administrations. The Ayade administration cannot borrow because the state was declared insolvent around 2012. 

Wike has earned more but has also borrowed more while Ayade who has earned less cannot even borrow. This follows that, a Governor who has access to more resources should naturally perform better than the one with less resources. But if the resources at their disposal is put vis-a-vis with their performances, it'll be hard to convince anybody that Wike has performed better than Ayade. 

Also, in terms of the economic viability of the projects the two Governors have focused on, futuristically, the debate that Wike has outrightly outperform is arguably. While Wike has devoted larger chunk of the state resources to constructing flyovers, in Cross River, industrialization has been the hallmark of Ayade's administration. 

The Ayade administration has built in excess of seventeen industries. If all are properly harnessed to function to capacity, in the next few years, revenue from the industries would be enough to build as many flyovers as possible. Same cannot be said of flyovers. 

Wike focus on inter-city roads and flyover is understood being that one of the major issues in Rivers for years have been high level of traffic. Decongesting the traffic with flyover is good but not every state needs flyover. Cross River has never had traffic issues so, the decision of the Ayade's administration to focus on industrialization to decouple the state from over dependent on federal allocation that's not even enough to pay salaries is best for the State. 

For a state like Cross River that gets very little from the federation coffers and with an internally generated revenue that's neither here nor there, developing multiple streams of income is the best thing any administration can do. And that's exactly what the Ayade's administration has done or doing. 

However, for want of politics, the PDP in the  State want Cross Riverians to believe that Wike who is borrowing massively to build mostly flyovers is a super Governor and a success and Gov Ayade who's applying Prof. Lionel Robbins definition of Economics by using the state's very limited resources to meet unlimited wants has performed below par. 

For a realistic comparison, indexes such as the needs of the states, resources at their disposal, borrowing, amongst others must be considered. Anything short of this is an error and unacceptable.

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