Vanguard Governor of the Year 2016 award: Lagos-based commentator differs with Obla


Efio-Ita Nyok|15 March 2017 Obudu, Cross River-born Lagos-based social commentator, Simon Utsu, has articulated his support for the awardee-status of the Executive Governor of Cross River State, Mr Ben Ayade, over the last weekend Vanguard Newspaper  award of Governor of the Year 2016. Utsu made his perspective known today Wednesday through his social media account via a thread he titled: AYADE'S MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD, MATTERS ARISING‎. For the public affairs analyst Ayade must have been selected by the reputable newspaper for what he referred to as —'human capital drive', unlike other newspapers firms that had other criteria. His words, 'I believe Vanguard picked Ayade because of his human capital drive. I'm not the biggest fan of Ayade's style of hiring many aides but truth be told, it has had a direct positive impact on tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Cross Riverians. It's commendable to say the least especially when one remembers we're in a recession- I believe it's a tentative measure (hiring of several aides) to mitigate the harsh effects of this. Worthy of commendation also, is the fact salaries and pensions of civil servants are paid as at when due.', he said. 'Ordinarily, I wouldn't bring myself to the level of praising a governor for paying salaries and pensions but when you consider the fact that allocations have reduced drastically(in this dispensation) and states that recieve more allocation than Cross River like Osun, Imo,Kogi, Kebbi etc have failed to pay their workers and pensioners in months. The Kogi state governor in particular has been so inept in this regard that all the state institutions of higher learning(about 7 in number) have been on lockdown mode for over 2 months', he continued. 'Let me also add that Ayade's predecessor(Imoke) sometimes received as much as 16 billion Naira monthly but still owed salaries for months on end; Ayade has been recieving an average monthly allocation of 1.2 billion Naira for over a year', he observed. The commentator who was obviously differing with other critics seemed to be deliberately taking a swipe at Chief Okoi Ofem Obono-Obla, the presidential aide on Prosecution. For instance, Utsu made reference to 'arm chair critics' blasting from the 'comfort of their offices in Abuja'. For him, no well meaning Cross Riverian would 'rush to Social Media and lambast a reputable news agency like Vanguard for giving Ayade their governor of the year award. In fact, instead of arguing with Vanguard, why not argue with former Governor Donald Duke who was at the event and openly blessed and showered encomiums on Ayade? If I'm a sycophant, is the great Donald Duke also one?' Recall that recently Obono-Obla had said that the award by Vanguard Newspapers on Ayade was a joke taken too far. He outlined five reasons why the governor of the state did not deserve the award, namely, 'This is a Governor who has no policy direction on education, agriculture, employment, justice, law and virtually nothing! This is a Governor that has personified governance to the extent that his younger brother is regarded as the de facto Governor. This is a Governor that hasn't the slightest regard for the constitution, to the extent that he will go on vacation without bothering to hand over to his Deputy as stipulated by the Constitution! This is a Governor who has refused to pay civil servants, local government workers and pensioners despite the fact that he recently got a bail out of N11 billion from the federal government. This is a Governor who has institutionalized corruption by allowing N4 billion of the bailout fund given to Cross River State Government in July 2015 to be illegally transferred to his younger brother's bank account.' Between the duo of Utsu and Obono-Obla with whom do you stand with in this Vanguard award. Efio-Ita Nyok
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