Saturday, 2 September 2017

‎C’River and the 2019 governorship race…Hypothetically Speaking – Simon Utsu


The immediate past governor of my state, Liyel Imoke is still the state's godfather of politics. From feelers out ‎there, he and his core loyalists aren't satisfied with Ayade's stewardship so far(like most of us) and are shopping for a replacement come 2019. Our politics(Cross River) isn't yet mature enough for independents to wake up and vie for office without the endorsement of godfathers and this has led to these godfathers continually 'raping' the electorate via imposition of either ill-prepared candidates or those who lack the capacity for various positions they're selected for. Till that time(of electoral independence) comes, I'll use this opportunity to plead with the godfathers to 'rape' the electorate with a little respect and make choices (for us) that'll make us and not mar us. 

I'm not sure who they want to pick to contest against, or replace the incumbent but if Imoke and his strategists want to play it like Asiwaju(Tinubu) does, they should go for someone who is impeccable and tested. Instead of going for someone like former NDDC commissioner, Ekpo Okon like we are hearing- whose administrative capacity is highly questionable- who is too politically minded hence his loyalty can't be guaranteed, they're a number of choices who would like Ambode, focus on and deliver good governance to the electorate and by so doing, build a formidable persona for the godfather. 
Hence, in continuation of the above hypothesis, let me pretend to be Asiwaju for a moment. I'll present at least one candidate per zone who'll perfor‎m like an Ambode or a Peter Obi if selected by the power brokers.
From the Northern senatorial district, two choices come to mind.‎ Emmanuel Ibeshi and Gerald Adah. Ibeshi to me is elitist- he doesn't look like someone who can connect very well with the average Cross Riverian- that doesn't mean he won't do a good job. Hon Gerald Adah on the other hand from my understanding did a good job as the MD of the Cross River state investment promotion bureau under Imoke. He cordinated the arrival of foreign direct investments like the Shongai farms and General Electric's manufacturing plant to mention but a few. I aslo learnt he's very organised and down to earth.

Moving to the Central, there's a young Cross Riverian who has the capacity to deliver good governance if/when the opportunity beckons. His name is Ofem Ekapong. It's not easy for a Cross Riverian to head a strategic project like the multi-billion US dollar Lagos smartcity‎. It takes a lot of belief in such a person's capacity from the Lagos economic think-tank, power brokers and even foreign investors for him to be entrusted with such an enormous responsibility. Ofem Ekapong from the litte research I've carried out, churns out worldclass developmental ideas at genius speed. There's also a 'Ceejay' Ojong(PhD) who is very sound, exposed, educated and tested. He worked closely with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala during her first and second stints as finance minister in several capacities. He's a world class developmental economics expert cum consultant.
And down to the south, there's a name people seem to always forget- Bassey Ndem who was MD of Tinapa under Donald Duke and Imoke. I'm aware he's a very sound and focused ideas person and hence, capable of delivering good governance.

In the end, I'm not categorically writing Ayade, the incumbent off‎, I'm simply in the commonsense political situation room, staring at pictures of my mentors, Enid Blyton, J.K Rowling, Sidney Sheldon etc and hypothesizing... like they do.

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