Our Expectations For The Next Governor Of CRS

By Ceejay Ojong
By Ceejay Ojong
We have entered the season of electoral campaigns. Grandiose campaign promises would now abound if only to signal the aspirant’s ability. Signaling theory is used in economic game theoretic predictions to indicate candidates ability and skills to perform a specified function in the absence of any clear means of verification. So, an employer wanting to employ a person may use the level of education of applicants to the vacant position as a signal for their skills and ability and therefore selects on that basis.

Likewise in a political setting where the electorates may not be privy to full information on an aspirant’s true skills and competence, they would rely on the plausibility and richness of campaign promises. However, these campaign promises most times turn out to be mere mirages and smoke screens because talk is cheap and the devil is always to be found in the details when trying to walk the talk.

In a very practical sense, therefore, we expect whoever wants to be the next Governor of our State to have a deep and clear understanding of geography and peculiar problems of the State, as well as deep empathy and a connection with the real needs of the State and its entire people as collective groups and even at the individual levels.

Very importantly, we would not only be requiring innovative and out-of-the-box ideas for putting our State on the path of its glorious destiny but also a clear transformational plan for actualizing campaign promises. He must be capable of showing us the details of such plans which should include the costs, funding, delivery targets, timelines, financial projections and the business models to be used.

The person has to have sound knowledge of the weakness of the State’s fiscal position. The seeming debt overhang and limited financial resources that underline the State’s fragile financial position. Currently, the State owes nearly N70 billion excluding pension and other contingent liabilities. N40 Billion in Bank Loans that have been proposed for restructuring into a bond to ease monthly cashflow problems due to at the source deductions made from monthly Federation allocations and payments to banks through irrevocable standing payment orders (ISPOs) domiciled in the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF). N25 Billion for TINAPA Bond that was guaranteed by FGN and defaulted on by CRS, prompting the FGN to bail-out the Guarantee and for which AMCON (Asset Management Company of Nigeria) is now priming to take over the TINAPA Business Resort. So, such a person must have knowledge or expertise in financial engineering skills and macroeconomic management.

We are looking to have a person who would put great emphasis on human capital development with the understanding that human resource is the greatest resource. ‘Excess capital is not in itself a sufficient condition for development’ a la Professor Hirschman. Such a person must encourage a business culture away from the civil service mentality. His emphasis should be on encouraging the rapid development of SMEs (Small & Medium Scale Enterprises) and industries across the State as a means of boosting productivity, value chain additions, individual incomes and revenues from taxation.

Such a person must take education, health, agriculture, infrastructure and issues of social safety nets seriously. He must connect well with relevant Federal Government agencies, international development partners and other stakeholders, as well as knowing available funding opportunities for targeted development projects from these multi-stakeholders group.

Above all, we look for that person who can have the bold vision and immense practicality of the Late U. J. Esuene. He, it was who built the Polytechnic Calabar, Sales Trade Building, Cultural Centre, Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Road, the Stadium, the Cultural Centre and laid the ground work for take-off of the University of Calabar, among other extra-ordinary achievements. The Cross River State Civil Service in his time was so attractive that it paid better than the Federal Government in some cases and tested professionals rather joined the State Civil Service.

God bless Cross River State!

God bless Nigeria!

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