Simon Utsu|29 May 2017
If I'm to be very fair with my assessment of Governor Benedict Ayade of Cross River and carry it out on a relative basis, I'll say he has done far above average! Relative in the sense that I'd compare his performance with that of his fellow governors.
In addition to being 'undraconian' like most of his mates, he has been very consistent at servicing recurrent overheads —his main undoing is the fact that Donald Duke exposed Cross Riverians to such excellent standards of governance between 1999 and 2007 and due to that, the average Cross Riverian would never want to settle for less. Even Liyel Imoke who ran the most liberal and inclusive government in recent history(Nigeria) never got due accolades —no thanks to Donald Duke's standards.
By "liberal and inclusive", I mean, Liyel carried every leader along. During his tenure, permanent secretaries were allowed to be part of the weekly EXCO meetings and heads of MDAs were allowed 100% access to their budgets albeit with little control. Even LGA chairmen were allowed access to all their funds —something which was unprecedented in our clime.
Ayade has come with his own (unpopular) style but I don't think he deserves the media assault he has been getting in the last year or so —I think Cross Riverians owe him a couple of carrots. For instance, the Governor of Nassarawa recently demolished a radio station purportedly owned by an opposition figure simply because a little criticism to his government was aired by that station —Ayade hasn't done anything close to that even though many of his opponents have crossed several 'boundaries'. The other day, save for the intervention of several top national figures, the Governor of Kano nearly dethroned Emir Sanusi for challenging his authority —not too long ago, an influential traditional ruler in central Cross River, issued what sounded like an affront to the authority vested on Ayade by virtue of his being the state governor who according to the 1999 constitution, is in charge of ALL the traditional rulers within his domain or in clearer terms, all the traditional rulers are answerable to him. The traditional ruler issued this brazen threat/charge when he(the traditional ruler) said elections won't hold in his domain if the governor didn't fix the several issues affecting the new tertiary institution in his domain. I doubt if Donald Duke would have kept his cool(like Ayade did) when faced with such a situation; he most likely would have followed the route that Kano's Ganduje recently followed.
Ayade when compared with the Fayoses, the Abdulfatahs, the El Rufais, the Ortoms of this world, has fared much better as state governor in the last couple of years.
What he needs to do is, focus more on the execution and fast tracking of viable and possible capital projects and in addition, add more capable hands to his plethora of aides even as he gives a handful of them a free hand and the financial muscle to run their offices- he'll see drastic (positive) changes in less than 6 months.
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