Recently, on social media and in political circles, the aspiration of Orok Bassey Okon, a lawyer, to be the next governor of Cross River State has been discussed. While many are concerned about his financial capacity to match the gladiators for the ticket of his party, the PDP, no commentator(s) has expressed doubt on the competence of Okon to be an effective governor.
His interest to go to Government House, Calabar, has no doubt excited some deep-thinkers and socio-political analysts. For one, aside being a new face and name in our political space at this time where the mood of the State craves for new leadership in our polity, Okon is said to have a civil service background, being a substantive Director in the State service. From that angle, his knowledge of the inner workings of government is therefore unquestionable. The need to rapidly grow Cross River State will require a hands-on Chief Executive who is on top of governance and bureaucratic issues that must be put in motion to drive socioeconomic growth. With a core public service background, Orok Okon perfectly fits the person-profile for the job of the State Governor at this critical turn where the preponderance of the State workforce is said to be exiting upon attaining the maximum length in service. Okon is reputed within the service to be a hardworking and versatile officer, with ability to multi-task and deliver quality output within short timelines.
The next Governor will be taking over a comatose state treasury, burdened by local/foreign debts, with the State Government already exceeding its obligor limits. The next governor should therefore have the ability to be on his feet and on his seat for very long hours day and night, to find ways of salvaging the state financially, while still delivering social services to the citizenry. Governance will have to be grounded on sound due process foundation, if the next administration is to succeed in its arduous task of repositioning the state, through initiatives that are legal and innovative, while not compromising the rules and standards of government. With a Law and civil service background, Okon may just be that perfect fit for office of the governor of Cross River State post-May 2023.
While he lacks the humongous resources available to career politicians and other aspirants, the drawbacks of Okon, for a State in need of fresh hands and extreme hard work, may indeed be his strongest points. The next governor should be a servant-leader, not a Lord of the Manor. Cross River State needs a homegrown governor this time. If Okon’s aspiration meets the concurrence of his party and the electorate, he will be the first civil servant to lead the touted “civil service” state. He will also be the first alumnus of Hope Waddell Training Institution and the University of Calabar to govern the state. Indeed, it is mind-boggling that after over 50 years as a political entity, famous Institutions as Howad and UniCal have never produced a Governor for the State. Orok Bassey Okon maybe that new face to bring home the bacon, being a homegrown material.
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