By Emmanuel Etim
Titus 2:2 … Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Job 32:9 … It is not the old who are wise, nor the aged who understand what is right.
Why you? How do I respond to an uncouth old man without falling into the trap of being disrespectful and towing the same path as he? How do I advise a man far past his prime and possibly on the verge of unreasonableness? I cringed reading through an article written by a certain 79yr old farmer who attempted to air his opinion about the administration of Sen. Prof. Benedict Ayade; that is what it is, an opinion.
I cringed because I could not believe that a man of that age could spew out such unprintable words in this age and time. To make it worse he began his article with with a reference to a Bible verse. We do not need to look far to see the standard of children Philemon Ugbeche has raised especially considering that he said he was a teacher. My children cannot sit under the tutelage of such a teacher. Having said that, the intention of this rejoinder is not to focus on his person neither is it to denigrade his personage. I will leave the rant of visitors to a farm and sounding of trumpets of war, for they are not worthy of responses.
Rather I will attempt to find the very few issues in the write up and respond to them in a way that will disabuse the minds of the discerning readers and throw more light on the policy thrust and achievements of the Ayade administration. For the simple and perhaps the old like Philemon Ogbeche, comprehending the vision and policy direction of the Sen. Prof. Benedict Ayade administration can be an uphill task. I will want to consciously avoid the temptation to compare the the present administration with the previous ones for though government is a continuum, the vision of each leader is slightly different.
First, let me state without equivocation that the Ayade administration is not a failure. With only two years and a few months into the administration, it is yet too early to judge especially by an old man in a remote farm. The administration despite obvious challenges; national economic recession, dwindling federal allocation and crippling debt burden has performed phenomenally in the period under review.
Governor Ayade with little or no financial resources has worked hard to achieve extraordinary infrastructure development and industrialization which hold potentials for revolutionary economic development of Cross River State.Cross River State that was once branded a civil service state is steadily changing that perception as the governor works round the clock to attract foreign direct investment into the state for industrialization.
Often, people who are stuck with the status quo find it difficult to appreciate or even accept change when it comes. This is even much so with the older generation who have totally given up on their visions.The Bible puts it succintly, when it said in Joel 2:28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.”This is demonstrated in the farmer asking “What is Calapharm? Rice city? Cali Air?” Do these really need answers or is it a lack of understanding by an old visionless man?
Looking back at the man’s description of himself, it is not difficult to understand what kind of man he is. Of course all schools had such character, who go about with canes looking stern and beating vision and self confidence out of young students.Of course in civilized climes, such people cannot find a place as teachers are expected to understand the peculiarities of every child and work in love to build and bring out the best in them.It is obvious that Philemon Ogbeche still thinks he is in Mary Knoll College and Ayade is one of his students. He is yet to outgrow that his bullying tendencies in an age that is digital and transcendental.
Back to the Ayade unfolding success story; in areas of education, healthcare delivery, industrialization, social housing, urban renewal, payment of salaries, works and infrastructure to mention a few, this administration has performed creditably. Do the Super Highway and Deep seaport as presently proposed not make economic sense? Does the writer’s lack of access to the business projections for the projects or business model analysis make the projects not acceptable or models not valid?
In the next few weeks, I will be doing an elaborate exposition on the achievements of the Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade’s administration achievement sector by sector and I hope the writer will open his mind to assess these based on facts and not farm gossips. Sen. Ben Ayade won elections in Cross River State by popular votes after securing the ticket of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party in a hotly contested primary election. All the talk of the previous governor putting him in office should thus cease henceforth. We should give honour to whom honour is due.
The writer goes on to say, “my consultations with the incumbent, at that point in time, he deceitfully presented himself as generous, humble and approachable.” This seems to me like the crux of the quarrel. Could be that the writer is vexed because he has not had access to the governor thereafter? Could it be that the writer wanted a few favours from the governor and has not got them? I do not conclude but seek more insight into the true motive behind the outburst. I leave it for the readers to judge.
Cross River State is moving boldly in a direction of sustainable development away from the previous state of mega projects that do not work but have left the state under heavy debt burden. I will not end without making the clarification that the incumbent governor is employing innovative financial options and creative funding models that are still in line with the Public Private Partnership model to achieve his vision and so the writer is wrong to say the state has abandoned the PPP model.
Finally, a word of advice for Philemon Ogbeche, he should face his farm work and stop unnecessary gossip and ranting. He should also cease in the endeavour to whip up sentiments and seek supporters to his futile cause. Cross Riverians are wiser. If Philemon Ogbeche needs farm inputs he should reach the commissioner for Agriculture and I believe he would be more than willing to assist him. Enough said.
Emmanuel Etim is a Senior Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade
© 2017, Admin. All rights reserved.