|Donald Duke(left), Liyel Imoke(right)|
23 September 2018
I was very very young when I first heard over the radio the result of the Governorship party primary elections between Donald and Agabi, I heard tales of Liyel, Okpa and their squad, I heard of Ndoma Egba and so many other wondeful personalities that I will later get to meet and it is interesting to note that over 80% of these names still ring almost 20 years later after the relaunch of democracy in Nigeria not as “mentors” but as key actors.
I am sorry dear youths of my state if we don’t show leadership we will continue to drown in the followership syndrome, a situation were it may become normal to “follow” in perpetuity and not lead and maybe we will get to a stage where these personalities will make democratic positions into a family business and an inheritance! God forbid!!
Poor leadership is our undoing in Africa.We have brainless, visionless and “missionless” leaders who arent even willing to get a right team together to set things straight for their own administration good or country.
Leadership in Nigeria is bedevilled by nepotism, corruption, ethnicity and tribalistic innuendoes and dictatorial tendencies garnished with mundane greed and uneducated masses not knowing what is good for them and that is why we are where we are as a continent.
There’s need for massive orientation and bottom top approach to correct this anomaly.This is why every youth of our state and country must get involved in our democratic process as everything rise and falls with leadership.
It is true that a people who do not know their history would continue to make thesame mistake that their people before them made and that this knowledge is necessary because they can learn from gains made and advance beyond known failures in the future.
The purpose of this article isnt to support any of the duo’s stance on their very lengthy yet revealing expository interview made possible by a very interesting fellow Mr Iwara Iwara of Calitown.
While many toast to words for or against and some stand in the middle about the said narrative, we shouldn’t forget that Iwara sparked this conversation that is shaping thoughts today.
The purpose therefore is to profer the way forward and challenge the youths of our generation into evolving from their usual facebook rants; bread and butter politicking; cap in hand democratic yearnings and beer parlour rancour and being knights of the “old watch”(Watching and killling yourself over nothing these past years and for “old political figures” who don’t know or care about your existence) etc.
Whether we like it or not Donald and Liyel have left their mark and they each played a critical role to the emergence of their quests and the current definition we have as a people and a state and no one can take it from them and this was achieved in their “youthfulness”. As youths of their age and even older how have we contributed to change our own narrative and that of our state?The other questions and answers I would love our youths of Cross River State to give answers to are :
1. How did these “young men” come to think and implement their thoughts on governing the state?
2. When is the time to change the political narratives of those whose names have always rang these 20 years?
3. Is it not time we too come together and start the process of consolidation for the future next?
4. How long would we divide ourselves in camps/tales that will not be of benefit to our very being while consolidating for actors who should have left the scene for our scripting?
5. Should we not rather focus on evolving from them for something better and greater?
You see commentators hardly make history happen it is those who plan and plunge that the commentators would write and talk about.It is the doers that create tales.It is high time we shamefully and humbly yet remorsefully question our sense of reasoning and plan, implement and take over.
To be sincere I think Cross River State has been blessed with reasonable personalities as governors especially after the relaunch of democracy.
Donald has a face that suits his style and charisma, a personality that drives aesthetics and everything pleasure holds and he used it to advance tourism in Cross River State.He didnt only dream, he dreamt and went out to make his dreams work and set up initiatives that today we pride in as a state.
Liyel in the other hand was a perfect simple and easy going administrator and one whose only comfort in governance was rural transformation. He trusted and empowered all those he appointed to independently run their “clusters” but set up independent organs for monitoring every projects of government and almost every area saw the light of his governance skill.
Another service he did for us all was to facilitate the election of a” new face “in the political scape in the person of Prof Ayade.It is worthy of note to state that Ayade didnt just sit back and have power given to him. He stepped in and is as expected becoming his own man and Governor.
The question to be asked and answered is : Was there shortfall in their governance approach? The answer is yes! For example certain models of both Duke and Liyel initiatives werent/aren’t self sustaining e.g the Tinapa by Donald and the 1000KM roads constructed across the state by Liyel(Those who have construction knowledge will know better as most of these roads were made without stone base and most areas requiring drainages werent provided for so the roads are almost/partially washed off in some areas. In addition the cost for maintenance and durability/quality on concrete terms werent configured).
Today, we have a Governor in Ayade whose aim is to ensure that government is a veritable tool to reach out to as many Cross Riverians as possible while boosting her economic stance and has therefore advanced massive inclusion in governance and industrialization drive. How this links to consolidating the Donald and Liyel’s gains is been advanced and lessons learnt from their shortfall is an open cheque as the governance process and model is still running but I know we can do and will do better if we look more inwardly.
Now to our youths we must understand that power will never be given to us on a platter of even plastic plate.If you want it you must strategically organize and mobilize both persons and resources.You will definitely not achieve it alone YOU NEED MENTORS and a youth who hasnt gotten experience can hardly mentor you and claiming to follow someone and abusing another for the other isnt mentorship but learning and advancing on knowledge shared and counselling/support is mentorship.
I think out of frustration from the current happenings compared to what we read and were told and the use and dump syndrome so many of our youths now look to self and have no hope in the generation ahead of them and therefore jettison the mentorship pathway but all hope isnt lost. We have exceptional postive and purposeful leaders who will genuienly mentor others.
You see my perspective have greatly changed overtime I have realized that no matter how bad we youths feel treated we can’t attain greater heights without some form of mentorship…and this is another thing lacking in our generation.
We must also understand that the major acting force defining the narrative amongst us as youths are partners in the future Cross River State project and not rivals or competitors. Those of us heading these push are not more or up to 300 in CRS if we take head counts of the active few.
Now ask yourselves how many political offices do we have i.e both elective and based on state, local and national appointment meant for our state? It is more than 500 so why not team up and get yourselves in rather than hunt and fight for nothing!
By the way politics isn’t the only way out to build our state while we work to “take over” the political wheel and while pursuing this area we must ensure to balance the other, your academics while removing self from all forms of social vices.
The economic oppprtunities in our state are unlimited and teams can and should be built as solution providers. It is a challenge and shame to our generation that out of our over 3 million population we can’t advance systems, process, technology and ideas to turn around our economic outlook. It isnt a challenge to the Governor alone! It is our challenge!!
The Cross River State narrative can form a microcosmic environment of the african state…as Africans our success story can be enlarged and replicated.We can start small and then go global.It is possible!
I laugh with respect to the musings of H.E Don and Liyel cos their statements are big lessons interms of development model for us as a state, country and a continent…but truth is do we ever learn? What is the way forward? We know our challenges what are our solutions and how do we attain different results?
Our intention may be pure but we have seen that intentions aren’t all we need to ensure people oriented success….it is also interesting to note that our carnival themes since the inception of the Ayade led administration centres on “Africa” and her topical themes and this year’s theme is #Africanism….We can! We can set a new narrative…for a new Cross River, Nigeria and Africa from Cross River State but we must begin and look from within!
Under the menorship of good hearts and the magnanimity shown by H.E Sen Prof Ben Ayade who has afforded youths leadership positions our youths must then begin to think and work together for ourselves and the future of our generation and the next cos you see some of these folks dont care and even if they do they dont know what to do and may not be willing to heed counsel or get the right team to bring about positive leadership.
Sadly, it is only in Cross River State that we have seen poor representatives who are “elected” for decades without impact and some youths will still clamour for their return and in some cases elevation.As the party primaries of respective parties are held, I advice our youths to get the monies they will share and please elect “youths” and personalities that will best represent you. For wont of nothing sounding too personal I wont mention their names but you/we know them!
We must awaken the consciousness of our people.Imagine after fighting and sacrificing so hard for our independence as sovereign african states what some leaders are doing.Zambia for example is taking us back into direct/indirect colonialism and have sold our fortunes by borrowing for short term gains!
See the minerals, see the human resource yet we want those who will mine it, process it for us and give us peanut for it….sad…very sad! We need to act and ensure that our pride and generation isnt further washed away and buried in our time.
For example as a state we can borrow and or raise funds for projects that will employ our people and conviniently pay itself and other owed debt for example we have limestone in commercial quantity we can set up a massive cement factory for local use and export imagine how much wealth would be generated from this alone.
In conclusion we have realized that borrowing as a source for generating cash may not be a totally bad idea but what it is used for is what defines it good. In the spirit of Africanism we should always look beyond the easy way out…we must be ready to think through a problem and be innovative and implement strategies towards our economic independence and our youths shouldn’t sit by and make analysis. It is time we cry our cry!!
Prince Michael Nku Abuo is the Director General of Cross River State Political Network,CRISPON-The largest online and offline sociopolitical organization in Cross River State and he serves as Special Adviser Student Affairs and Youth Mobilization in the Ayade led Government of CRS.