Thursday, 7 September 2017

Facing the fragile truth: An open letter to Governor Ayade By Asuquo Otu Ekpenyong Ph.D. (Illinois)

An open letter to Governor Ayade: Facing the fragile truth
Asuquo Otu Ekpenyong Ph.D. (Illinois)
Ada Idagha ke Efik Eburutu
For the Efik Diaspora
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Dear Governor Ayade,
Having read the article from my friend Chief Ugbeche titled: Ayade – Hosea 8:7…/ayade-and-hosea-87-by-philemo…/ and the response authored by your Mr. Etim, a Senior Special Adviser to you - Re: Ayade Hosea 8:7.,…/ I am surprised at your unleashing your hack writer on a gentleman, whose only fault was to call your attention to what your dual governorship could do to the northern senatorial zone. More so when your aide could not point out and tangible proof or benefits from your incessant global hunt for MOUs to sign and ratify. So many are now discontent with CRS current reversals of fortune under your watch, and they enviously plot their revenge in the upcoming elections. Which once again throws up the question of your re-electability?

Viewing my dear Cross River State(CRS) from afar, and with my recent visit to the State, I initially found it hard to know what to make of your tenure as Governor of Cross River State. While admiration could be conceivable, bearing in mind your humble and deprived beginnings in Obudu, I am reminded, that you have abused the trust and disposition of our people and their tolerance. Right from the Enugu International Airport, everyone I talked to about CRS, wore this look of emptiness. I became apprehensive. Apprehension turned into murmurs and sighs from all the people I interacted with. Murmurs turned into outpourings, and the outpourings have now gathered momentum. I did not know no peace throughout my stay.
Gunshots from errant youths, poisonous water filled with algae running out of the taps and when I looked at the eye sore our State library has become, I shed a tear. Ayade, are you really a Professor? How could you allow a Library to decay?

It is not therefore surprising that members of your political class are in open rebellion against your 2019 ambition, mostly incited by your naivety and abject failure as Governor. Politically, it was evident that a stable and cohesive CRS, had bought into a comprehensive and forward-looking vision; never perfect, but for our context it obviously worked well. This you have jettisoned. To put it bluntly, your one term as a Senator of the Federal Republic might have offered little to provide any great reassurance; yet few would have predicted that your tenure as Governor would leave the state in a lurch, with an induced coma the likely saving grace.

What went wrong? How and where did you err? Are calls for your being voted out in favor of a new political direction justified? Did you naively misuse inherited political capital that had been banked through the sweat and blood of others? Should the state Chapter of the PDP save itself and credibility by outing you? Finally, what next for the Southern Senatorial who must not be caught playing opposition politics? Sadly, addressing these issues remain at the core of your 2nd term aspirations, although the requiem for your government was written months ago.

Secondly, a Commissioner from the Central Senatorial informed me that a bullish economy that had broken free from state control, become well-regulated and planned, and gained hesitant private sector and FDI confidence, with appreciable dividend including attracting multinationals like Wilmar, GE, and the Songhai group etc. had overnight become unplanned, un-managed and un-regulated with a Commissioner of Finance, whose one true experience was managing a night-club that seats, barely 50 people. I am reminded of the mess and shambles made of the investment in infrastructure and human capital, which led to our young people excelling in ICT, sports and education; in reality, it was never perfect, but it worked well, and evidently, our polity was stable and our people happy.

Thirdly, I was endlessly reminded of the failure of several projects and programmes including the State Water Board, and the upsurge of diarrheal diseases in Calabar. Have you noticed the recent exodus of over taxed local investors, foreign investors, some federal government agencies, international donors and counterpart funders from CRS? I have informed how trust had been won and frittered away on a whim, because of your failure to abide by previously instituted governance structures, required to collaborate with the ADB, U.N. agencies, the World Bank, the Gates Foundation and other multilaterals. Except you count the recent signing, of yet another MOU, this time on solar power as a worthwhile achievement, considering the fact that the NIPP power project in Odukpani, has the capacity to generate and supply more power than can ever be consumed in CRS, what exactly are your solid achievements in this regard?

Chief Ugbeche points out that all prior achievements by past governors have been sacrificed for your personal glory and megalomania. And this sounds like a damning verdict, and there lies our frustration and resentment. In that context, I stand with Chief Philemon Ugbeche’s earth shattering article, Ayade and Hosea 8:7, in what very well might have been a referendum on your tenure, and you are now being viewed as the problem, and not the solution to CRS. Your greatest qualificiation for the post of Governor was being the highest ranking political office holder from the northern Senatorial zone. I am now convinced that you inherited an enviable set up from your predecessor.

The distinct irony to all of this, is that the Northern Senatorial or call it old Ogoja, had always produced some of the best administrators I have ever known, from my days in the Civil Service, of the old South-Eastern State. And make no mistake about it; the facts on ground in CRS are particularly damning. And like a PDP stalwart from Odukpani recently said to me, “…Ayade is stuck in his ways and resistant to received wisdoms, which he views as an affront.” To which I sarcastically opined that maybe he was yet to receive several volumes of Senator Imoke’s leadership manual and brochure, even if he would prove some right by being arrogant enough to not read it.

Finally, I think of the good old days of MILAD Ahmed, when procedures and processes were not continuously undermined, when I personally consider the damage to the CRS Civil Service, such as has never been witnessed by my generation and your now notorious quip of running CRS from your pockets. You were never ready to be a governor and have failed abysmally
Dear Governor Ayade, from the South Senatorial we wish you good riddance.