Sunday, 26 May 2019

The Glory has departed, Cross Riverian writes Ayade Open letter


Your Excellency Sir, to begin, I think it is important to state the obvious which is that my letter to you is quite critical even though I have reserved some approbation for you. So you could well decide to read on or simply ignor. Sadly, this is my first direct communication to you and possibly one for a long time to come. Albeit, I would also like to stress that this is not intended to score a cheap political point, rather, as a Cross Riverian, it becomes pertinent to express my concerns in the interest of our dear state. 

We all know the truth as it is self-evident and right before us in bare facts and figures. We heard of the superhighway; we haven't seen it. We heard of the deep seaport; we haven't seen it. We heard of CalaVegas; we haven't seen it. We heard of CalaPharm; we haven't seen it. Your government has come up with numerous lofty and ambitious project proposals that have yet to see the light of day except on banners and billboards. Recently, we hear of an international airport which hopefully we shall see, latest in 2023.

But let us analyze your past four years in-depth. If we did a permutation and extrapolation on the performance of your government, one would easily come to the conclusion that your government has underperformed and abysmally so, in the aspect of infrastructural development.

I will tell you the premise of my reasoning. Early on in your administration, you were troubled by a prolonged court suit over your election. Anyone in your shoe would be affected, therefore, I agree that your vision implementation might have understandably been delayed by such distraction. Since your victory at the Supreme Court, we the people believe you have had enough time to execute your projects to a reasonable degree of success. If for any logical, supernatural or 'quabalistic' reason you failed to implement all your plans, at least the superhighway which has been tagged by the media as your pet and signature project should have materialized to a reasonable extent. But, Your Excellency Sir, you failed us!

While you are allowed to defend your reasoning before this high temple of public opinion, there remains a widening perception that your government has not kept the momentum set by past administrations in opening up Cross River State through rapid and realistic infrastructural development. We do not understand where your government is headed and therefore we do not know where you are driving Cross River State.

Perhaps a comparative analysis might help drive my point home. I recall that in Governor Donald Duke's administration, his infrastructure drive brought us urban development and Governor Liyel Imoke, your immediate predecessor's government complemented Duke's government with his focus on rural development. But what exactly should Cross Riverians expect from you, Sir? We expected more clarity from you being a celebrated legislator and a seasoned academic of the rank of professor. What are going to remember you for after eight years? I would assume, perhaps wrongly that you are enterprise driven but after four years, can your team simply or even statistically point to what value your administration has added to the state economy and the people?

We admire your project titles but we should move beyond the models we see on the social media blogs of your media aides and flattery photo shoots with foreigners on spurious project sites. Such publicity schemes amount to emblematic deceit and four years are enough time to let us see through that deceit. Cross Riverians need result, not deceit!

I loved the idea of a "Spirit of Enterprise" for Cross River State. In spite of the media attack on it, this slogan should have been maintained. Your Excellency Sir, your daring mind to change our mindset as a people is something to envy, therefore, if you convert us from the "civil service state" to one of enterprise, we would have made a long leap forward. However, enterprise and entrepreneurship do not come by a long list of political appointments as we have seen unprecedentedly in your time. 

Obviously, your appointments have increased your recurrent expenditure which every reasonable government tries to avoid. The economics aside, it could be said that to a large extent, your model of empowerment by valueless appointments resulted in the slow pace of development we have witnessed so far. Managing such a team is a burden on its own which undoubtedly distracts from the more important aspects of governance. Only the governments of China and India need that number of people for administration and that too, for obvious reasons. 

Cross River needs technocrats and only a few of them can be seen in your team. So, I beg to ask again, where is the "Spirit of Enterprise"? How has the "Spirit of Enterprise" been exhibited by your appointees? What has your team delivered to us? We hope to see that in your second coming, Sir.

Arguably, there are governors who would present your kind of report card and will be applauded and celebrated. But not you, Sir. Your performance so far is below your capacity and legacy as a senator when you represented Northern Cross River State in the hallowed chamber. Then you were a celebrated legislator as I heard, and saw in my friends back then in the University.

 I admired the way your constituents spoke of you so much that I wished to meet this amazing Senator from Obudu. Luckily for me, the universe presented an opportunity to meet you up-close in my village. At this point the stakes were high and the political atmosphere rife with speculations and calculations on who would become Governor. I doubt many considered you seriously for the Governorship as you were most likely certain of another term in the senate. But then, there is a divine hand in the affairs of mankind. Somehow, amidst that crescendo and gyration you emerged from the murky calculus. You became Governor and having heard of your scorecard in the Senate, we dreamed up high expectations of you as Governor. Sadly, on the contrary, we have yet to see this dreams for the state realized.

As I have said, we cannot expect less of you because it is evident that you have capacity. Your capacity to dream these tall visions is indicative of your innate intellectual gigantism. So, we expect more from you. Unleash upon us an economic ascendancy and not the trans-generational indebtedness as reported in the superhighway affair. "To whom much is given, much is expected". Obviously, God has given you intellect and fittingly, we the people have given you our mandate. If the voice of the people is the voice of God, then the cosmos should be echoing our cry that you have not done well these four years in terms of infrastructural development.

One project I would like you to bring to completion is the superhighway. This project is both logical and timely as it would power enterprise in numerous sectors including, transportation, housing and urban development, agriculture, advertising, construction among others. I have written elsewhere extensively on the benefits of that project.

 If this project alone could be achieved in your eight years, your name will be in the hearts of Cross Riverians for a thousand years. "A jack of all trades is a master of none" and your administration is tending to that. Cross River cannot be held back by the many indicative ideas. We can only conquer one at a time. Therefore, Your Excellency, one thing I will invest my pages to celebrate you for is seeing the superhighway commissioned.

I will not end this letter without commending you for a number of things

Firstly, your ability to envision for the state which is evidenced in the project and policy proposals even if any, except for the toothpick factory has seen the light of day.

Secondly, your humanitarian heart as seen in your mammoth appointments. It shows that you wish to carry everyone along even if that can never be. If only this can translate to enterprise!

Thirdly, thank you for timely payment of salaries of civil servants. Cross River State never had it this good.

Finally, if this ever gets to you, take it as my little book to you like one from Nicolo Machiavelli to the Prince of Florence who said men go to Princes with things they value most. I have come to you with what I value most and that is the good of my dear state. We have yet to see your best as Governor and we pray we do in your second term. Although many in your mammoth team for reasons of sycophancy and false patronage will naturally not tell you the truth about your performance, I believe there is a voice of reason amongst them. You should filter through and listen to that voice of reason.

But for those like myself outside your fold, we have nothing to lose in saying the truth and the truth is "the glory has departed."

My prayer is that you succeed this time around. It is a second chance and may you deliver on the mandate you have been given by the people.

God bless you, and may He richly bless Cross River State.

gg. Awan Ayang.