No modern democracy is completely devoid of elements that constitute a reactionary mechanism. These reactionary mechanisms are balms created by the system to spice up itself for preservation else, the system will, either, fall into ruins or change into a monster that cannot be controlled.
Most times, these reactionary elements come in form of critics who are, resolutely, conservative (opposed to social and political change, be it positive or negative). A healthy opposition provides the needed balance for political development; a healthy opposition will structure its focus to capture both strengths and weaknesses of the government. A departure from this is an abuse of such mechanism of checks, and its relevance will, naturally, wear off before the people which is the current situation in the state.
I have noticed that there has been an uninterrupted quality water supply in the metropolis for some time now, just as workers’ remunerations have been running promptly in the state for months without indebtedness, besides the government’s declaration of emergency on road repairs, including, even, federal roads. Credible Critics will commend these and make submissions that are objective.
Though it has been argued that payments of salaries should be seen as workers’ right than a privilege, but one needs to remain employed in order to enjoy such a ”right” and what if the government decides to utilize its prerogatives of welfare retrenchment policy to downsize an unproductive workforce in order to shrink cost or decide to owe salaries for, even, a year in order to be properly balanced? Though it is a known fact that payments of salaries are, statutorily, obligatory on the government, but the government can decide to owe just as some littoral states are still owing their workers for several months even with the current concessional consideration of Federal Government’s bailouts.
It has also been observed that of recently, the state has become a magnet of capitals from world intervention regimes. These capitals come in form of grants than loans and, of course, we know that such development is apt to inform the much solicited consequences. Some have argued that a governor has no hand in most of these Grant attractions. No, they have. A typical case is with the Ebonyi State Government where the governor called the General Manager of the Ebonyi State CSDA and settled him with five hundred thousan naira ( N500, 000), asking the agency to stop functioning that the government is no longer interested in continuing with the World Bank assisted project. Now, will the World Bank force this programme on Ebonyi? No.
The fact remains that policy of any state, at a time, is the policy of the leader. If the governor has an interest in a particular venture, such venture will have official coverage in the state’s policy and vice-versa. When people pretend to see nothing good in government, there is the tendency for government to operate in isolation and subsequently develop into a “Leviathan” and we are all shut out of its realm to roam in the outer darkness.
Just as workers have rights to their remunerations, the government equally has the prerogatives to embark on welfare retrenchment policy (downsizing) when the economic and financial situations are deplorable and the so-called rights to salaries become truncated or, to expand the workforce in the clime of economic upheavals. The Government can equally decide to stagnate the workforce, even when the economy improves. Provisions of essential utilities like water and fulfillment of other statutory obligations like workers’ remunerations, are of intrinsic value which meet the basic human needs, as outlined by Abraham Maslow (food, cloth and shelter).
(The state has recently, sampled some prototypes of its 5000 low cost housing units in the state).
Fulfilment of these basic needs are far more expensive than some major ventures because, they are recurrent with high consumption rate. Therefore any government whose attention is towards the provision of these basic needs to the people is already making its way to the paper for the record of monumental success with seismic impact. Therefore, the concentric of any responsive government should be basic-needs-provision. (I have never seen any hungry man that appreciates aesthetics).
I think critics will start to attract sympathy and public confidence, if they, occasionally, look away from the magical expectancy of the government like asphalting 260km road and constructing a sea-port in just four months, to the appreciation of government’s effort also.
I write as “Eval Asikong” a Cross Riverian who is entitled to his individual opinions.
Asikong is the Personal Assistant to CR Governor, Ben Ayade, on New Media
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