Efio-Ita Nyok|12 May 2017
Hate or love him, Donald Duke the Executive Governor of Cross River State between 1999 and 2007 is about one of the best things that happened to Cross River nay Nigeria/Africa.
He has been slammed for being ruthless and having a penchant for reducing an entire polity to a one party political system but has been eulogised for his tourism and urban development initiatives. 2015 All Progressives Congress gubernatorial candidate in Cross River, Odey Ochicha, has opined that Duke would have emerged President of Nigeria if he was as persistent as America's Abraham Lincoln.
Two respected public affairs analysts, namely, Simon Utsu and Princewill Odidi and a politician Ochicha have eulogised Duke. Utsu in his POLITICAL DEFTNESS 101 compared Duke with Nigeria's former President, Goodluck Jonathan, while Odidi highlighted landmark leadership qualities. For Ochicha, Duke was bold and courageous. In fact, they couldn't say it better. Hear them out:
'Whenever we cry about Jonathan's inability to read political signs and get his politics right —a deficiency which cost him his re-election bid, we know why we're crying.
'For instance I vividly remember how Donald Duke, former Governor of Cross River State, played his politics to decimate the opposition in Cross River during his first tenure(1999-2003) such that it took the (opposition) about 15 years to recover and/or rear their (Ugly? Pretty?) head in the state again.
'His main opposition then was from the state House of Assembly which had an almost equal number APP(former nomenclature of the ANPP which later became one of the APC's legacy parties) and PDP members. When he got tired of the persistent threats of impeachment from a state assembly that had young and exuberant 'renegades' like Orok Duke and John Owan-Enoh (now a Senator) as key members, Donald Duke swooped in on them in a bid to destabilize the legislature and have a firm grip on the state's polity.
'I can't remember how he started but I think it was by instigating Owan-Enoh's suspension and then 'temporarily' relocating the state House of Assembly complex from 'far away' Ekorinim Village to the Governor's Office complex under the guise of renovating it for them. This was Donald Duke's practicalizing one of the laws in John Greene's "48 Laws of power" viz "keep your friends close; your enemies closer".
'This way, he was able to monitor them from close proximity (less than 100 metres) and possibly disrupt them with security operatives if ever they kick-started one of their usual impeachment moves during plenary. That assembly complex's renovation was never completed neither were the assembly members relocated back until the end of his 2nd tenure (2003-2007).
'Also, in 2003, Duke sent politicians like Owan-Enoh and Essien Ayi(former Calabar South LGA Chairman), those he felt he couldn't rein-in to the Federal House of Representatives in Abuja, far away from the state. These moves together with other moves I can't write about due to lack of in-depth information helped him control the state's polity so fluidly in his 2nd tenure and also sent opposition politics and politicians into coma and limbo respectively.
'Being able to make deft and sometimes ruthless political moves is a hallmark of a good politician. Jonathan wasn't skilled in either. This doesn't in anyway reduce the mad love some of us have for the hero of democracy, Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, this is just some retrospective analysis.
There are no political saints out there, but Donald's tenacity, visions, ability to put together a good team, ability to think outside the box,
'His creativity as expressed in Tinapa, the Ranch and Carnival leaves a landmark leadership that is rare to accomplish.
'I endorse Donald for visionary leadership any day'.
'Former Governor of CRS, Donald Duke who became governor at 37 years old and who demonstrated bold vision and courage would have become president at 45 if he had had Abraham Lincoln's spirit of persistence.
'He came out once but failed to persist. You don't fail until you stop trying. So Nigerian youths, wake up and take up your destiny in your own hands.
'Note that power is not given but EARNED, eg, Obama, USA, Adama Barrow, Gambia, and Macron, France etc. God bless the Nigerian youths. God bless Nigeria'.
Is a Blogger, the Editor & Publisher of NegroidHaven.org