Choices are a permanent feature of life. The choice made today could make or mare our future and those of generations to come. It is therefore pertinent that humans make choice only after careful consideration of options available. Choices made without proper thinking are trademark of the mentally challenged, while well informed choices are products of sane and sound mind.
Elections are here again. Opportunity for all to choose who they want to rule or represent them for the next four years from among the arrays of contenders for various elective positions. Most politicians are rightly compared with seducers who promise heaven on earth just to get what they want. Deception is their trademark.
Nigeria has long been bedeviled with bad governance at all levels. When it seems there is some respite through occasional good leadership, another government comes in and scatters what little gains have been recorded. It is common for people to be taken in into replacing a good administration with a bad one. This happens a lot because majority is not informed on how to measure the success or failure of a government. Most of the electorates go by sentiments of party, tribal or religious affiliations or any such primordial sentiments, while some make wrong choices because of pecuniary interests thereby sacrificing theirs and their children future. It is therefore important that the voter knows what to look for in a leader and in a government.
Security of lives and property are the basic functions of government, closely followed by welfare of the citizens. Another yardstick to determine the success or otherwise of a government is how far it has fulfilled its electoral promises. The third index is the meeting the general yearning of the citizens. All these should be juxtaposed with the resources available, conditions prevalent at inception and unforeseen circumstances and the time factor.
Cross River state aptly serves as a good case point. Going by the parameters enumerated above, any objective analyst will easily come to the conclusion that the Cross River State Governor, Professor Benedict Ayade has scored excellent mark. The state was stripped of its oil resources a few years ago by the Supreme Court’s judgment which gave its offshore oil to the neighbouring Akwa Ibom state. With this, Cross River became one of the states with the lowest federal allocations. The bad situation was further worsened by the dip in oil price in 2014. Ayade inherited in 2015, a state that was neck deep in debt with workers been owed months of arrears in salaries. This, though, was not peculiar to the state it was a national affair.
Three years on, Ayade has proved to be a sort of a political miracle worker. In the area of security, Ayade has delivered. It is a well-known fact that Nigerian governors are chief security officers of their respective states only in name. Despite this, Governor Ayade has done a lot to ensure security of lives and property by equipping the police and other security outfits. He also set up the Homeland Security-a community policing outfit which works in collaboration with the police. It is to his credit that crime rate has declined in the past three years in the state. The governor often personally appear in places where there are communal border clashes to assuage frayed nerves.
Just like he promised in his campaigns, citizens’ welfare is priority of the Ayade administration. While states with higher revenues owe workers salaries, some up to 12 months, Ayade has ensured workers receive salaries before month ends. There have even been months when salaries are paid on the first of the month. The distinguished senator also exempted the poor from taxation while providing them with enabling environment to thrive commercially. This is apart from various empowerment and intervention programmes aimed at alleviating poverty in the state.
The erudite professor has also delivered on the rest of his campaign promises of providing jobs, massive infrastructure development and industrialization of the state. Cross River today is a reference point for other states of the federation. The Calabar Garment Factory, Calabar Pharmacy, Ogoja Rice Mill, The Rice City and The Cotton Farm are some of the industries set up by this government. Projects such as the 260 Kilometre superhighway and the Calabar Deep Seaport are being delayed by bureaucracy at the federal level.
As for meeting the expectation of the people, majority of Cross-Riverians are testifying today that they are better off now than before Ayade. This is the opposite of what obtains in other states where citizens are bemoaning there lots. That Cross Riverians did not feel the crunching effects of the recession that plagued the nation recently is due to the economic sagacity of Governor Ayade.
With little or no resource, within limited time and against all other odds, it is a wonder that Senator Ayade has achieved so much. It would be unwise for anyone to change a winning team. Ayade is progress and prosperity. He represents a sure, bright future for the state. Therefore, Cross-Riverians should not hesitate in voting for him overwhelmingly in 2019. It is the only way to ensure that the good things he started will be multiplied so as to secure the leading role for the state economically as well as in other areas.