By Ifere Paul
On 8th November, 2015, Mr Eval Asikong, a Media Assistant to the governor of Cross River State wrote an article about me. Eval did not hide his displeasure on the phenomenal issues I raised at that time.
It was that time that my head was hot. At that time, I took time to predict every single problem a Governor Ben Ayade will create for Cross River State. As media aides to the governor, oftentimes, they take my criticisms of their boss personal.
Asikong response to my criticism on the 8th of November, 2015, was not different. But while responding, he made several assertions that His Excellency will outperform the parameters I was criticizing him with.
Please help me tell Eval Asikong that I have been patiently waiting for the following projects:
1. According to Eval, the helicopter that was flown to the governor’s office was donated by the Nigeria Police not one that was bought by Ayade. My criticism was the fact that the helicopter was flown into the governor’s office in the first. In fact, the governor crashed landed that helicopter on someone’s car.
Please Eval, where is the helicopter now? Has it gone on repair work? Please tell me more.
2. According to Eval Asikong, His Excellency procured 17 compactors. Til now, the Cross River State government uses open troughs trucks to evacuate waste from the streets of Calabar.
Eval, please are the compactors in picture below the post the ones His Excellency bought?
3. Eval Asikong posited in that 8th November, 2015 article that Governor Ayade employed 400 CUDA Staff. If anything, we are aware that Governor Ben Ayade sacked 250 CUDA streets sweepers who demonstrated the lack of payment of salaries. It is a big fallacy that Ben Ayade employed 400 staffers and yet our streets are dirty and smelling like a fish factory.
Please Eval, where are these 400 staffers and how are they paid?
4. Eval Asikong went on and on without restraint. In his free drive, he posited yet again that His Excellency has completed a super signature poultry farm. That the poultry will have a hatchery of 1500 chicks per day. And over 1500 employees will be employed. That according to him, will increase protein based meals in schools through eggs or meat. Wonderful as the concept of this idea, I am yet to see an egg from a Cross River State government sponsored farm.
Please Eval, where is the poultry farm located? I need some eggs to fry.
5. As typical as Governor Ben Ayade, his aides are worst. Their reasonings are seriously and negatively skewed. With this mindset, nothing can be critically assessed with an open mind. They operate a feeder system. And whatever their boss said is carried over to the social media without any empirical evidence.
So, Eval talked of a modular refinery he knew nothing about. The modular refinery was a concept brought to Cross River State by one Cross Riverian based in the UK. I know so much about this project and how it came about.
Anyway, please Eval, where is the modular refinery? Why isn’t it operational til now?
6. According to Eval Asikong, the Foreign Direct Investment in the State is very high. That Governor Ben Ayade has attracted foreign based companies now operating in the State. Well, I never see even a single company.
Please Eval, where are the FDIs located? Is it the Calaphama, the Thai-African Corporation and their Rice City? I dey laugh oo. We leave rice city in Calabar go dey poss with people rice farms in Obanliku and Obudu? Chai!!! Wayo wayo government.
7. According to Eval Asikong, Governor Ben Ayade does not like flying. A feeling he described as “agoraphobia”. Agoraphobia is the fear of open space. Well, whether this is true is left to the believers. But over the last one year, Ayade has flown to more than 39 countries in first class airlines, and signing MoU with different shades and colors. It turned out that our professor Asikong who described me as a nonsense writer does not know that the phobia for flying is called “aviophobia or aerophobia”.
8. Eval Asikong reported that I am a frustrated person. That I have been begging for appointment. That I worked Ayade. Well, I volunteered for Ayade. But left after Ugbo declared in Labour Party. Since then, I have moved on to create a space for myself in Cross River State. I have demonstrated that in my templates and frameworks through numerous memos in form of criticisms. Some have been implemented. Others are still undergoing implementation. It turned out that during my activities, any of the government project I didn’t support has never seen the light of day. For instance, the superhighway. I supported the garment factory, but petitioned the EFCC to investigate the 2.7 Billion Naira budget that was sank there. It turned out that the GF is privately owned and was a conduit through which Frank Ayade, or co-governor used to dip his short fingers into our treasury. Today, Ayade is creating roads in the Northern Cross River State courtesy of my earlier recommendations for him to do so instead rather than the superhighway.
Please Eval, am I lying about that now?
9. Eval said His Excellency brought an Irish firm to build 5000 semi detach houses. Yes. We applauded the MoU exactly a year and 6 months ago. Please Eval, where are the houses located now?
10. Eval Asikong didn’t hold back about His Excellency idea to bring investors to develop the gas sector in the State. His Excellency signed an MoU in Japan last August.
Please Eval, don’t tell me the gas plant or refinery is not ready yet. Please where is it located?
11. Lastly, I have rejected so many advances from His Excellency, Governor Ben Ayade. Lately, he sent a delegation to Abuja to woo his critics. One came to my office. Another went to Obla’s office. Many Cross Riverians have been approaching me to dialogue with Ayade. A few others are making money by deceiving Ayade that they can talk to me to stop criticizing him.
12. Mr Eval, please be informed that I got admission to study Geography & Regional Planning in 2000/2001. I graduated June, 2005. Served my country in 2006 in Abia State and became the CLO of Obingwa LGA. I came back to serve in the Department under the mentorship of Late Prof Sule, Prof Obong, who was the Dean of the Faculty, Dr D.D Eni, and Dr Edu. I served under Dr Edu, who later became the Examination Officer. I got my recommendation from the Head of Department, Dr Bisong and Prof Sule to do a masters degree abroad. I left the country 18th December, 2008. Ifere is not the type to spend even a day in class after final examination. It has not happened and it will never happen. Ifere came to Nigeria 2014 after different professional trainings and academic endeavors in different fields including training by UN in Russian, Chinese, German, & Vietnamese languages.
13. Please Eval, stop talking about professorship qualifications of the Ayade. Remember I had scholarly discourses between Ayade and I on environment. Those discourses brought me to limelight. According to the Former Minister of Environment, “I taught a professor of environmental science the environmental sense in the science.” I got nominated to represent WCO in Cross River State by researching on the superhighway and its problems. Off course, you know where we are now about the superhighway.
Please Eval, note that academic qualifications does not necessarily make a good leader.
Please Mr Eval, you can see through my pictures that I earned for myself and I can at least afford some nice suits and shoes. Some of you in Ayade government can hardly feed. Last time I saw you, your weather beaten shoes were crying for “Change”.