In 2014 I met some Cross Riverians in Abuja and we got talking about the politics of Cross River State. And this perfect gentle men shared their views on the different candidates contesting the Governorship of the State. One of them made a statement that struck me immediately. He said, Tom “Ayade” might get the ticket, that man is very pushful and he gets anything he wants. And i said let’s see how it goes. After observing the political setting and seeing how the pendulum was swinging i told myself that my prophesy to Prof. Ayade on the 25 July, 2013, which i sent him a mail to run for Governorship was about to come to a reality.
After carefully studying Prof. Ayade and seeing that he is a man of charismatic leadership qualities i said to myself this is the man the People of the State need at this very critical period where the State is struggling to meet up with her responsibilities due to the poor economy of the State.
During the inauguration of Prof. Ayade made mention that he was going to embark on a signature project. In his speech he said the signature projects was going to span over a period of four years. Hitting specifically on the Super Highway, spanning through Calabar and down to Obudu. The deep sea port, the garment factory. Which he said were projects he holds dearly and must be executed.
Assuming office as Governor, barely two weeks he traveled to Germany and Spain to discuss ways on how the Super Highway can be executed and the deep sea port. Prof. Ayade met with investors who came into the State and promised to invest €500 million into his signature projects. He speedily traveled overseas to source for assistance because he understands the pain his people have been experiencing over the years. He knows that travelling from Calabar to other parts of the State is a huge night mare. So as a leader with a vision, passion and conviction, he moved swiftly to tackle the problem of transportation of his people.
Barely 24 hours as Governor of the State he ordered that salaries should be paid every 25th of each month. He came and met a State with a huge debt profile but as an enigmatic and people oriented leader who believes in the tenets of Christ and the Holy book, he worked out ways on how salaries can be paid to workers because he knows that owing workers was a sin against God and humanity.
In his quest to revamping the Public service of the State, he locked the gate of erring workers sending a message that the State had breadth fresh air. That it was politics with Ethics ruling the State.
For more than 40 years, the Cross River Civil Service Commission has remained backward and non challant towards sanctioning erring workers. As a man who came from the private sector who understands that transparency must be in the public sector he decided to set the records straight.
Ayade understands that we must energize the role of the public sector; promote transparency at all levels and in all industries; expand investment to reach all quarters of the State. By promoting Small and Medium Enterprises, upgrade our institutions and bring in new projects.
The man Ayade is a man of purpose, driven by passion and motivated by a vision. Seeing the unemployment level in the State he decided to initiate a Forestry Police which he tagged the green police. Our society is prone to many negative influences that we do not always pay attention to, even though they have substantial impact on our People. Looking the poverty rate and the high level of joblessness in the State he decided to set up the “Green Police” which he said was going to create 6000 jobs for the People of the State.
Prof. Ayade as a learned and seasoned enterprenuer, believes in capacity building. He enjoys molding others by motivating and bringing the true potentials of People in them. Prof. Ayade! Knows that in the long run the Green Police is going affect the lives of his people positively and putting food on the table because a hungry man is an angry man.
His goals are strategic, as are his plans and aspiration, so that the life he dreams for his People can be brought into a reality. As a man who was brought up in a humble background. He feels the cry of the poor and hapless woman. So decided to go into proposing a “Garment Factory”. A factory that has the capacity to create jobs for women and the teeming youths in the State. Because if you empower a woman; you empower the nation.
In empowering the youths and rewarding hard work, Governor Ayade decided to set up a social media team. A team which he later up graded it’s members to becoming his Personal Assistants.
He decided to use this young men because Cross River State must be equipped in transitioning the
State into the Modern age. Ayade, has always said the People of the State must be prepared to face the most sensitive and complicated challenges that lies ahead.
On the 31st July, supporters and friends of Governor Ayade were in wild jubilation over the victory of the Governor. He is a man who enjoys so much love from his People. A People after his own heart. A People he cherishes so much and is doing every thing within his powers to better their lot.
After the victory of the Governor, he was nominated to travel with President Buhari to Cameroon. A visit which placed Cross River very high amongst the comity of States in the Country. The visit afforded the Governor the opportunity to discuss certain issues with Mr. President rocking Cross River which the President assured him of his support.
In his bid to revatalize the potentials of the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, he influenced the introduction of the Bank of Industry in the State(BOI). A Bank that has never existed in the State even though it was launched since 1964. He made efforts in bringing the Bank to the city of Calabar.
As a man who believes and sees globalization as the only way in which Cross River State can consolidate. Governor Ayade traveled to Ireland where he had bilateral talks with the Irish government and solicited their support towards his garment factory and also pleaded that a tractor manufacturing firm be built in the State.
He listens, he inspires and motivates. As a friend to the poor. He has been making plans towards building a 5000 housing scheme for the poor and the unemployed in the State. Many have said can it come to a reality? But i believe that if “Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum” can, then Prof. Ben Ayade too can succeed in making Cross River great again.
Poverty has taken over the State and taxation is also on the rise. As a man of the People he abolished taxes on low income earners. Though many have said it is not in his place to do that! But i think with a smooth relationship with the House of Assembly he should be able to abolish taxes on low and poor income earners who are struggling to survive.
Even though he has not appointed his cabinet. I believe he is only taking his time in selecting men and women of impeccable character. People who are technocrats who can add value to his government.
As he journeys in the next four years he needs our prayers and support. They may be frayed nerves but with understanding and togetherness, we can move Cross River State forward with Governor Ayade.
Prince Thomas Abi Jr.
Is a Public Affairs Analyst/Social Commentator
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