|Governor Ben Ayade with the recent Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria|
By Ifere Paul
Welcome to Prof. Ben Ayade’s Cross River where the state government will decline from hosting an international and national sporting events but can splash millions of taxpayers money on a day pageantry show.
A state where pageantry is perceived to have more economic viability and importance to the state and her citizenry than sporting events.
On assumption of office, Ayade outrightly banned the Obudu Mountain Race competition and has declined from hosting this year’s national sports festival.
Recalled that, since Ayade assumed office, the state has hosted two pageantry events; Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria and the Mother and Daughter Pageantry events in October and December last year respectively.
In one of the shows, the later precisely, the Governor splashed eleven million naira (N11,000 000) on the eleven participants. That is, for contesting alone, you are entitled to one million naira appearance bonus. What a lucrative business!
While some government officials are trying hard to justify this unexpected show of misplaced priority by this administration, they should recall that when the governor banned the Obudu Mountain Race competition, he defended his decision that government can’t continue to sponsor events that has no economic benefit to the state and Cross Riverians.
One would imagine the benefits the state and Cross Riverians got from the two pageantry events which cost the state approximately over N50 million to host.
This development has shown that it’s either the governor’s advisers are not advising him well, not good enough or he doesn’t listen to advice at all.
We can’t continue to hide under the excuse of “no money” to dismiss events of great importance with high economic benefits while we waste taxpayers money on frivolous things.
As a government, Ayade must set his priorities right and avoid doing things that will not only satisfy him as a person but protect the overriding interest of Cross Riverians.
On no account should we sacrifice sporting activities for pageantry because the relevance of the former to the socioeconomic development of any state and nation cannot be quantified.