Friday, 2 March 2018

Ayade: Garlands for an icon at 50

| 03 March 2018 | Solomon Asha

Human life is very dynamic and unpredictable, but for those who plan well, there is always a state of certainty that permeates and defines their activities on earth. 

Hence, some are achievers, others are perpetual failures; some attain greatness at an early age while some delay till advanced ages. In most cases, people attribute luck to success but for those who have attained success in their life endeavours, they are not oblivious of the fact that success is a product of good planning, determination, resilience, patience and of course the grace of God Almighty. To His Excellency Professor (Senator) Benedict Bengiousheye   Ayade,     Executive Governor of Cross River State, success comes with hard work, deliberate planning, and ingenuity and of course the special grace of the creator.

Today, we celebrate a man who has made tremendous impact in the society within a very short time. We celebrate an icon of our time, a pillar of democracy, a thorough bred grass root politician, an academic of repute, a friend of the masses and a man whose activities are synonymous with excellence and success, Prof. Ben Ayade, who clocks 50 years on earth. Better known as the Digital Governor, because of his outstanding performance in the last two years and nine months, Ayade has proven beyond doubts that he is indeed an icon of no mean repute. 

 This underscores the torrents of endorsements he has received so far to seek reelection in the next general elections with a year before the elections. His endorsements cut across party affiliations and sectional divides, as even his supposed opponents are incredibly drumming up support for him due to his enviable records of achievements. One of such endorsements came from the former Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, in a special commendation, expressed satisfaction with the sense of belonging given the neglected people of Bakassi by Ayade and the show of concern to the plight of the poor in the State. According to Ita-Giwa, "Since the government of Nigeria ceded Bakassi to the Cameroun, this is the first time a government both at the state and federal level has accorded special attention towards finding a lasting solution to the plight of the people of Bakassi.

"We are grateful to His Excellency, Governor Ben Ayade for his foresight and visionary leadership, which has taken upon the onerous task of bringing relief to the peace-loving but neglected indigenes of Bakassi.

"I can say without fear of contradiction that His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade has performed creditably well especially in caring for the less privileged in the state. I am particularly swayed by his abolition of taxes for the poor. It shows that Senator Ayade is a considerate, caring, listening and lover of the poor. It means he has milk of human kindness flowing in him; which is unfortunately lacking in most of our political office holders." 

Similarly, an APC senator, Senator Bassey Otu has described Governor Ayade as " a beacon of hope and Cross River's light of tomorrow" saying the State under Ayade has become a reference point in the welfare of government workers. "At a time, more than half of the 36 states in the country are owning workers' salaries and pensions for many months, the Cross River civil servant gets his salary by the middle of the month. It is gladdening that no worker in the state is being owed any form of salary under the leadership of Prof. Ayade. This is a no mean feat, especially at this period of economic recession," the Senator said.

"This is not about party affiliation but it is about performance; it is about achievements; it is about visionary leadership qualities. And I can tell you, by his actions and stellar performance in the last two years, Governor Ayade can transform Cross River into another Dubai. I am an APC member but as a leader, I must give credit to whom it is due," the Senator stated.

Being a day of his birth, one does not intend to enumerate his numerous achievements since today is meant to celebrate this great man of wisdom, vision and foresight. An inspirational leader, Ayade's reign as governor has marked a watershed in the history of Cross River State- many things that were hitherto thought to be impossible have been achieved during this short period courtesy of the determination and ingenuity of Governor Ayade. Not a few believe that a trillion budget mark was possible in the state, but the courageous Ayade has done that and we are still looking up to better days ahead. He is one man, who does not look back once he puts his hands on the plough. In other words, he is a strong advocate of the popular maxim "forward ever, backward never"

Looking at a King's mouth, one would never imagine he ever suckled at his mother's breasts. Indeed, this age-long axiom holds so much veracity in the life and times of Senator Benedict Bengiousheye Ayade, a Professor of Microbiology, Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and incoming Governor of Cross River State.
Governor Ben Ayade was born in a little village at the heartland of Obudu called Kakum on 2nd March 1969, to the family of Mr. Peter Akinsheye Ayade and wife Beatrice, both of them devout Catholics. The parents, aware that education is the gateway to the world, enrolled the little Benedict at St. Stephen's Primary School Obudu, for his elementary education from where he proceeded to the then famous Government Secondary School, Obudu.

A very brilliant and gregarious young boy, Ayade made an excellent result in his WASC and was subsequently admitted into the university to study Microbiology, where he graduated with an exceptional result in 1988. Ayade, thereafter proceeded to the University of Ibadan in 1990 and would got his Ph. D in 1994; and won the Best Doctoral Dissertation Award in Environmental Microbiology, and finally to Delta State University, Abraka, where he was appointed Professor. As an academic, he excelled in every area of his endeavor and it was at the ivory tower that Ayade begun to mold his future and thinking of giving back to the society. Even as an academic, the Governor delved into philanthropist and community service.
It was therefore not by accident that Professor Ayade's research interest in global warming in Africa was recognized in faraway Asia, when the Japanese government honoured him for what was described as "an outstanding research" coming from Africa. 

That singular honour by the Japanese government underscored the tacit endorsement of the University of Ibadan authorities, who, a decade earlier, had adjudged Professor Ayade's doctoral research as "ground breaking". Therefore, having distinguished himself in the academic environment and captured every terrain in the educational sector, Ayade consequently turned his attention to practicalising his knowledge hence the decision to join partisan politics. His first political appointment was as Chairman of the State ecological fund and Chairman International Institute of Environmental Research and a member of the State Poverty Alleviation Board.
Having tested the murky waters of politics, Ayade resolved to make a difference, hence in April 2011, under the platform of the PDP, he beat old time political greenhorns in the Northern Senatorial District of Cross River State to become a member of "the Red Chamber" of the 7th National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 In fact, Ayade's meteoric rise in life and politics could be likened to that of the famous US President Barack Obama, who became president of the number one nation on earth after just one term in the Senate. The people's governor became the PDP gubernatorial flag bearer and subsequent winner of the April 2015 governorship poll in Cross River State in his first term in the Senate. 

But Ayade is not just a successful academic and politician, he is an excellent family man: a husband and father, married to Mrs Linda Ayade and blessed with lovely children.

 He is therefore a paragon of success. No wonder, every nook and cranny of Cross River state is today singing "Ayade must run again" because he has washed his well and therefore qualified to dine with his people. The best birthday gift the people of Cross River could offer to their ebullient and amiable governor is to unanimously endorse Governor Benedict Ayade for another four year term in office. One good turn deserves another; he has worked so hard and should be rewarded with another term. 

Happy birthday to the icon of our time!