So much noise and permutations in the air in Cross River State on who will become the next governor, how the political parties are jostling and scheming on the criteria that will be adopted whether democratically or otherwise to choose their flag bearer, who it should be, why it should be him or her, where he or she should come from. The political cheers game plotters are having sleepless nights holding meetings into very unholy hours on the subject matter and at the same time being consulted by would be aspirants as is the routine over time now.
Within these scenario, the electorate who cut across a broad spectrum of the society in the state is watching with the hope that those who have the desire to serve the state in that capacity should soar even above the imaginary benchmark and have the capacity to drive the state beyond where they will meet it when given the mandate through the ballot. The worry however is that the political parties on whose platform the flag bearers will be elected should set up templates which will bring out their best for the state afterall. Already, tension has died down reasonably in Cross River State over the contentious debate on where the next Governor of the State should be zoned. The State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has zoned the Governorship ticket to the Northern senatorial District. Will the State Chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) follow suit? Will this also be the direction by the other political parties who amidst all these are yet to be heard of on what it will be from their end?
At least in the bid to balance the Political power rotation formula which is popularly canvassed beyond the political arena for the Northern Senatorial District of the State to take a shot at the number one position in Cross River State coming after the South under Donald Duke and the Central senatorial districts of the State that has also had and concluding already in the position of Governor under incumbent Senator Liyel Imoke.
You will want to question my take off point in this thought because ordinarily from a democratic point of view, the playing field should be open and made level for everyone who has the ambition to be Governor of Cross River State not minding which divide of the State he or she comes from. My ready answer on this is yes but the structure in place called “ZONING” informed my take from this perspective. I may be right, I may be wrong but I humbly and sincerely so appeal that you follow on with my direction of thought if the most reasonable thing to do in the circumstance is to truly balance the “Political Power Rotation formula” in Cross River State.
Across over one hundred and ninety political wards in the state, across party lines, and among the aspirants and those I call the “Game Masters and Gladiators”, there is this very loud visible silence by all including would-be aspirants or those who permutations have pointed to as possible aspirants seeking the big office. Could this be the Cross River State style? Should it be so? Must it be done in an atmosphere of tension and desperation even when the final decision on who becomes Governor of the state will be that of the people?
So much has been said about a couple of aspirants but so little is seen and heard about their consultation except for a few or better put an insignificant number of them given the names that have been touted around thus far. I don’t know about you but I have heard so much about a very insignificant number of these aspirants who have made waves and are pushing on and also on top of their game for now. My worry however is that these aspirants are all from one party, the PDP. When are we soon hearing about the governorship hopefuls from the other political parties? Soon, now, when? Or is it true that Cross River State is dominated by the Peoples Democratic Party? Where are the other political parties?
In my professional calling which I am very passionate about, we have Reporters and Editors but some make the difference yet they are all called Journalists. Same goes for the legal profession where we have the bar and the bench and some also make the difference yet they are all called Lawyers, Magistrates, and Judges depending on which applies to each one of them. It is very easy to come out and declare an ambition to be Governor of a State like Cross River State but wait a minute, is it for all comers? Do you have what it takes to be Governor of a State in Nigeria? That is my concern.
To borrow some words from the narration of a short take that is currently being telecast in some broadcast media houses in the country…….It was not easy for the past Governors of Cross River State yet they did it, it was not easy for the recent ones but they did it, Donald Duke did it, Liyel Imoke did it and he is doing it despite very uncommon challenges the State is confronted with. Can or will you follow suit if availed the privilege through the ballot?
The time has since passed where the peoples intelligence is taken for granted at times like these. A lot has changed in the Public Governance Process. It has gone beyond rhetoric. Public governance now revolves around the people and not you or a clique. It thrives and rides in all aspects on creativity and being very proactive, enterprising and transactional in the affairs of moving Cross River State from where you will meet it to some height that will place it on a platform of stardom where it will be the referral for other states of the federation to take a queue.
Amidst shades of criticism against the two regimes of Donald Duke and incumbent Liyel Imoke, you will agree with me that between 1999 to now, Cross River State moved from an abysmal very low bed to a phenomenal limelight. It became the cynosure of all eyes and remained so as well as the place to be for Investments, Leisure, Conferences, Residence, Safety, Education and other sundry concerns. It is the most peaceful environment friendly destination in Nigeria. I stand to be corrected.
Between the Donald Duke days and Liyel Imoke’s we have witnessed sustained growth in Cross River State. Donald Duke blazed the trail and made Cross River State the envy of all and the most “beautiful bride”, a place you want to and must be. Liyel Imoke came and sustained what Duke started, added value to it and made Cross River State “The Destination of Choice and Africa’s Warmest Welcome” He went beyond where Duke stopped amidst paucity of funds and a huge debt profile left behind by that regime to create a new path which I call the paradigm shift in Cross River State. He took governance to those who desired it the most through an aggressive and massive rural transformation and a host of other strides which to say the least jump started the economies of most of these communities with a new lease of life and a greater sense of belonging.
So with the concerns raised and where Cross River State is now, who fits in? Is it the one who will be elected, sworn-in, sits in, do the run with a vision that will not be on a mission? Will it be the one who will cry over spilt milk? Will he look forward or backward? Will he be distracted by huge debt profile or paucity of funds? Will he be a Political Party man or the Peoples Man? Will he be a leader or a boss? Will he teach us how to fish or just handout fish to us and walk away? Can he sustain a workable synergy from within and outside the state? Can his or her name open doors and pull strings easily? Can he make the difference from others before him? Will he or she be a factor for some national and international decisions to be taken in the country? Can a national meeting possibly wait until he arrives? Will the clime Cross River State made thus far be enhanced during his time? I can go on and on but I leave here for now.
The people obviously are looking forward to the Governor who will take centre stage and move Cross River State forward, the one who will not wait until money comes from the federation account before salaries are paid and projects executed, that governor who will be development driven, that governor who will live above board amidst challenges and odds. A man or woman who will add value and be in synch with current trends in the unfolding Public Governance Process in the interests of the people of the state at home and in the diaspora is what the people want.
Cross River State as it stands now no less has been blessed with young leaders with the leadership charisma. In the course of governing the state they proved to all that they are human and never played God. They tried their very best against all odds but the State is not there yet. Clement Ebri tried his very best as brief as his administration was, Donald Duke who served as Commissioner for Finance during Ebri’s regime for me was the game changer and trail blazer of sought. Liyel Imoke who is still on board sustained it with value addition and opened a new vista for the State. Who will make the difference after Imoke? The People should think. The politicians and godfathers should think. The Political Parties should think seriously. The Electorate should think much more seriously because the power rest with them. Cross River State is for us all and not mortgaged to a clique of some strange bed fellows.
Written By Omini Oden (ACPA, FCAI)
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