Ayade’s Administration: A Smoke Screen of Lies, Failure


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By Felix Ashinabe

Mackenzie King once posited that “government is organised opinion. Where there is little or no public opinion, there is likely to be bad government.” The import of King’s postulation lends credence to the overarching public benefit of prioritizing the yearnings and aspirations of the people (governed).

The inauguration of Governor Ben Ayade on May 29, 2015 came with great optimism of a messianic mission. A great expectations of sort.

At an inaugural address, which wowed Cross Riverians, the man on the saddle clearly spelt out his roadmap for the state, with the construction of the Bakassi Deep Seaport and the 175 Dual Carriage Highway nicknaned Supper Highway, as his signature projects.

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There were high hopes that before the expiration, of maybe the Governor’s two terms in office, Cross River would have launched itself into an economically viable and prosperous state.

A lot of other capital-intensive projects and programmes were embarked upon, albeit without proper need assessment. These projects were littered across the length and breadth of the state, making citizens believe that with the industrialization drive going on, Cross River had already assumed a place as an ‘industrialized state’ among the comity of Nigerian states.

As a sign of seriousness, Ayade travelled the around the globe signing Memmorada of Understanding (MoU) with various investors on various sector of development. As at the last count, he has signed over one hundred MoUs. Today, his critics call him “MoU governor.”

As an old aphorism has it ‘talk is cheap.’ And seven-and-half-years gone by, all the present administration has got for the masses are excuses of lack funds and patronage by key players to queue into Ayade’s ill- concieved industrialisation. He had applied all tricks on earth to make Cross Riverians believe that the industries would soon start to bear friuts.

First, he started with privatisation and it failed. Second, he mooted the idea of concession. Even after concessionning some of the indusrries to a Pastor of Christ Embassey Church, the story is still the same. It has been old stories of barefaced lies upon lies. These have led some financial experts to averr that the only reason for embarking on those gigantic projects is to fleece the state’s treasury.

For a governor, who at every public fora, laments about the state’s poor financial situation to carry out projects including rice city, Calapharm, Spagetti higway, Deep Sea and the Obudu Cargo Airport, among others which are almost impossible to achieve is nothing but a sign of bureaucratic ineptitude.

It might interest the public to know that, of all the numerous projects embarked upon, only a few like the Garment Factory, Rice Seed and Seedlings Multiplication Factory, were formally inaugurated. Others like the Calabar Pharmaceutical Company, Calachika, Ikom Ultramodern Cocoa Processing factory, Ogoja Rice Processing factory, etc, have been declared completed and operational by the Ayade-led administration. While projects like the Odukpani Banana plantation, Yala Cotton plantation, among many others, have all died a natural death.

Unfortunately, all the billions of naira spent on the projects, only the garment factory is operating in a lackluster, run-of-the-mill state. The Ogoja Rice Mill has continued to operate a test-run, even though government is claiming optimal functionality.

It is disheartening to note that modest projects such as the Tinapa-Odukpani Junction Road dualization have lingered for more than five years. Potholes in the various roads in the state have become as deep as a ‘seaport of sorts,’ worsened by the total collapse of street and traffic lights. A situation which has led to avoidable accidents and deaths. Not forgetting the impending environmental damage heaps of refuse are causing residents of the once beautiful city of Calabar.

The present administration plays politics with everything. It is only in Cross River that the governor commissioned insignificant projects like traffic light, renovation of basketball court, etc. On the streets of Abuja and Lagos are a litany of billboards carrying fictitious operational projects of the Ayade’s administration.

As at today, 90 percent of the purported projects done by this administration are mere buildings. There is absolutely nothing going on there. Little wonder the places are manned by heavy security men, just to prevent unexpected public inspection. The Ayade Industrial Park, once touted as the new industrial layout of Nigeria, has dbecome a graveyard of sort, with little or no activities.

How can a government be so insensitive to the plight of its people, bringing the state to its knees with political malfeasance? It has become imperative to bring to public knowledge that all the unfounded claims of the present administration are nothing but a smoke screen of deceit and utter failure.

As 2023 beckons, I implore the people of the state by paraphrasing Charlie Pierce’s postulation which says: “We are responsible for our government’s beauty and for its ugliness. We are responsible for its glories and for its failures and, most important, we are responsible for amending those failures no matter who are their most immediate architects.”

We must rise to amend the failures of the Ayade-led administration by voting out those architects of failure.

Ashinabe is a Calabar-based Media Analyst


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