Former National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Ikem, pens a wisdom filled letter of congratulations to the newly elected Chairmen and councillors in Cross River State.
As Gov Ayade takes a few steps in the direction of the change we desire let me use this forum to encourage him and also congratulate the newly elected Chairmen of the 18 local govt councils and their vice Chairmen together with the 196 councillors and very soon about 518 appointees to various positions in the councils.
It is not true that we do not appreciate when positive steps are taken in the polity. It is that we desire to see more positive steps than occur in recent times and so we are usually skeptical of the steps when taken until they are concluded.
As the election process has been concluded we feel happy that a breathe of fresh air has been injected into the life of Cross Riverians, and into our body politics, no matter how Imperfect the process may seem. Already the euphoria that has greeted the new and incoming administrations is palpable and an indication that it is what the people desire. The people have been waiting for this for so long and they are happy that it has finally arrived !
I want to congratulate Gov. Ayade for finally arriving at a convergence with me in my anxiety to see Democracy take root once again at the grassroots level of our state. As a product of this tier of Govt I cannot help myself but encourage it’s elevation as a critical catalyst for grassroots development.
Let me use this opportunity to also advise the new administrations in the various councils, that despite the challenges you may face, you owe your people the onerous responsibility to deliver on some critical challenges that must be confronting them in order to endear yourselves to them.
Our people are yearning most of all to be listened to. To be heard. Building gigantic projects might appeal to them because we all yearn for development, but what is most critical is giving them a listening ear, empathizing with them and making the right effort to appreciate their yearnings and aspirations. This is most exemplified in making yourselves available to them when they need you in a timely manner.
Do not surround yourselves with too many ‘boys’ that will make it difficult for the ordinary citizen of the local govt to reach you and discuss with you, no matter how briefly once in a while. Do not create a “security” cordon around yourselves that insulates you from the people you have been given the responsibility to administer.
For most of you, your political career begins now. How you lay the foundation will determine how far you can go. Some of us did this 29 years ago and we are still blessed to be around. The secret is really as simple as I am spelling out to you: Live simple. Keep in touch with your people. Don’t be in a hurry to get rich. A good and impactful politician never really gets rich! He or she is often too busy making sacrifices to remember to accumulate enough to get rich. In this class of 18/18/196, of 2020, new stars will be made. Future ministers, Governors, commissioners etc are already being groomed. Are you going to be one of the few or will you return to relative obscurity and blame Governor Ayade for not “allowing you to make money”?
The Governor has given you this rare opportunity to distinguish yourselves which many have sought all their political career and never got. He cannot be your excuse for failure to live up to the aspirations of your people.
Your people are watching as you change friends, change appetite, change women, change clothes and accommodation but your excuse will constantly be that “the governor is not giving us money”! But he is giving you enough to change all these things except offer a little helping hand to those who today are all over you, supporting you. Those who put their lives on the line and quarrelled with others in the bid to support you to get here.
Watch your every step. Have empathy for your friends, brothers, sisters and electorates. If you think people are not seeing you, surely God is and will reward you abundantly over the course of time, if you do well, if not with material gratification, with long service to humanity and a good name.
Eschew crisis as much as possible. Avoid trouble in your councils and always prefer the path of amicable resolution of differences and there will be peace in your councils, which is the ultimate desire of our people.
Keep yourselves close, don’t harbour grudges with those who didn’t support you because you are now representing all.
Most of all make yourselves a vessel for good, no matter how little, day by day and you will be amazed how much good you are capable of doing in a very short time.
I want to live to be able to point at you in a couple of years at my retirement and say, (s)he was a chairman when Gov. Ayade organized the first local govt election and I was the State Chairman of our great Party !
Wishing you God’s abiding graces and guidance throughout your tenure.
Long live Cross River State!!!
Long live The People’s Democratic Party! ( PDP).
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