A picture that shows how Cross River State was run…once upon a time when our State Budget was nowhere near =N=100bn…speak less of =N=1 trillion.
These documents were the result of very serious work done by the State Planning Commission under the leadership of Professor Ndem Ndiyo. Those were the days when Cross River State was constantly held out as a model of how to run a State Government properly.
These days, with our trillion Naira budgets of highfalutin but utterly pointless names, one wonders where the State’s planning data comes from. Certainly not the State Planning Commission, which is now a complete shadow of what was once the envy even of federal authorities.
How much does it really cost a State Governor or any leader to continue the good things left to him/her by his/her predecessors? And how much more to abandon and destroy those good things?
The overwhelming number of Cross Riverians living on the streets of social media today were in school when foundations of good governance were laid for this State. In the past 4 years these foundations have simply been ignored and left to fall into desuetude and ruin and so many of our young adults are oblivious of things that were so that they would have a bright future.
Those old enough to know these things, some of whom even participated in building these foundations, have kept quiet. Most think that after 8 years Governor Ayade will go. How wrong they are? By 2023, we will be back to the pre-1999 era. We will be back to the starting blocks but with far more angry, hungry young people and far less resources per capita than in 1999; to provide them with the environment in which they can fulfill themselves.
In 2023, Governor Ayade will not simply go away. He will leave us with his “legacy” in the form of people, norms and culture cast in his image and because he has actively been weaponising our poverty (both of pocket and spirit) against us, it is more than likely that there will be little that can or will be done by anyone to stop him, including those who say they are “leaders of thought and opinion moulders” and are deluded into thinking they run the State with him.
It is a prospect to reflect upon.
Eyo Ekpo is a former Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Cross River State and SDP governorship candidate in the 2019 general election.