Cross River Under Ayade : Between Need and Want




Since Governor Ben Ayade assumed office as the third democratically elected Governor of Cross River State since the dawn of interrupted democracy in Nigeria in 1999, he has deliberately or ignorantly failed in separating the NEEDS of the state from the WANTS.

A need is simply something you have to have. Something very necessary and absolutely important to posses while want in the other hand is something you would like to have. It is not absolutely necessary but it would be a good thing to have.

From the elementary meaning of want and need above, the Nigeria constitution which defines the essence of government as providing basic needs like protection of lives and properties etc tilted completely towards needs. It means, first, government exist to provide needs (what they have to have) for the people not necessarily something that is absolutely not necessary to have.

Even faith based organizations teach their congregations that God/Allah may not answer your prayers by directly giving you what you prayed for because he knows your request is what you want which is not necessarily what you need.

However, while the vision of the state to have everything under Ayade can be commendable but the reality remains that most of his proposed projects are not only absolutely unnecessary but unreasonable. His Understanding of governance as proving everything the state would love to have is pathetic, unfortunate and unpatriotic.

Each time the governor return from his frequent foreign trips, he will announce an agreement or MOU with foreign investors for establishing one thing or the other. In most cases, some of these things are absolutely not important while some could well be duplication of existing investments.

For instance, his recent trip to Germany and China was greeted with a lot of promises as usual. But the one that informed my judgement that Ayade is still wallowing in the shadow of primordial sentiments on what the state need and want is his proposed beach resort.

Beach resort no doubt would be a good investment especially for a state that has her economy tailored around tourism, but what then would become of the popular Marina Resort? Do we need a new beach resort or to invest in the existing resort which is increasingly becoming moribund under this administration?

The answer can easily be deduced from the concept of need and want. Yes, beach resort is what we would have liked to have but what we necessarily need now is for government to invest in the existing resort. The $3 million the government has secured to establish a beach resort can go a long way to making the resort one of the best in the world so why waste time to construct new one?

Let me take you through memory lane. In his previous visit to Canada, the governor announced that as usual, he has signed MOU with the Canadian government for the establishment of three new technical colleges in the state. But what we need is to invest in the existing ones and create enabling industrial environment for products of these schools to thrive not new ones.

How can you establish new technical schools when you have failed monumentally to maintain and sustain the existing ones? What is the sense in such wasteful investment? Maybe detailed explanation would help.

Similarly, One of his first policies when he assumed office suffered this fate of misplaced priority. Our dear digital governor, instead of building on the waste management policy he inherited from the previous administration, he introduced a door-to-door waste evacuation policy which backfired and has drastically tarnished the reputation of the state as the cleanest in Nigeria.

The governor at the time beclouded his thought with how the government can generate revenue rather than how to maintain a serene environment. He distributed his imported waste cans at N25 000 to almost all  residential and business locations in Calabar without taking into account that what the people  needed was not for government to introduce new tax system but to grant tax breaks and loans to low income earners in the state.

Although he later realized and sent a bill which died on arrival to the state house of assembly to exempt low income earners from tax but the priority of need and want were already misplaced.

Shortly after that was his MOU with Thailand and Taiwan for a rice city in Calabar. Again, here his ignorance about what the state need to grow her economy was demonstrated in full stream.

Why go all the way to Taiwan and Thailand to sign MOU for rice when there’s a locally produced rice like the Obudu rice that the state would have easily invested heavily to making it one of our export commodities? Would we have liked to have Taiwan and Thailand rice city (Want) yes but is it necessary? No.

What the state would have done was to promote our own locally produced rice whether government or private owned to crash down the prices of rice for the common man in the street as well as attract countries like Taiwan and Thailand to come here and buy the species of our own rice. But has the governor thought of this? I doubt!

Even the governor’s proposed superhighway is obviously misplaced. While unarguably, the state would like to have a superhighway, what is more urgent and absolutely necessary for the government to do is to first fix the existing roads before thinking of having a super road.

Maybe, Cross Riverians don’t even need “super” highway but just a “highway”. So rather than chase unrealistic superhighway project, the government would have considered giving the people a highway first before going supper.

How about the location of the garment factory or creation of new industrial site along the Jonathan bypass? Was that necessary considering the fact that the state already possessed one of the best industrial and business resorts in Nigeria in Tinapa resort?

The state government is steal paying the debt incurred by the Donald Duke administration for the construction of the Tinapa resort. But have successive governments after Duke explore the potentials in the resort to reap benefits for the state? No!

The best location for the glorified tailoring shop code named “garment factory” would have been in one of the halls in Tinapa. But this is my fertile imagination as the government is more interesting in thinking of what we would like to have as a state than what we should have. Simply put, Ayade is more committed in chasing shadows than facing reality.

The clock is ticking; before the widely anticipated court verdict of the criminal charges of age falsification filed by Joe Agi, SAN against the governor early next year, Ayade must return to the drawing board to set his priorities right. He must Clearly dichotomize between what the state would have liked to have which is not necessary to what she should have.

His penchant for making name rather than doing things that should give him the name that he is desperately after must be critically and drastically looked into. What shall it profit a governor if he makes all the good names and sign all the MOUs on pages of paper and social media and his people perish in abject poverty, insecurity and unemployment? Nothing!

All his policies since the inauguration of this administration has been more about wishes, fictions, deceit rather than facts, performance and reality. This won’t give  him the goodwill he wants from Cross Riverians.

Inyali Peter
Social Critic

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