Share This

By: Kingsley Etta.



One of the enduring ironies of our politics is the penchant by some politicians to invoke pity and even attempt to move mountains in the desperation to occupy political office. Perhaps, no where in our country is this unfortunate irony demonstrated in starker terms than in Cross River State where the desperation of Ben Ayade, the immediate past Governor of the state who supervised the mindless squandering of the State resources as Governor now wants to become the State’s Ministerial nominee at all costs. Given Ayade’s catastrophic record in office, nearly everybody in the State recoils in anger whenever his name is mentioned as a possible Ministerial nominee to represent the State in the soon to be constituted cabinet of His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. That former Governor Ben Ayade can even be considered for such a high profile position in spite of abundant evidence of his abysmal record as a Governor is perhaps a measure of how ignorant our leadership in Abuja is about the real situation in Cross River State. It is baffling that this situation could exist in spite of the fact that the central Government maintains various intelligence agencies in every State of the Federation who ordinarily should update it with the current state of play in the various federating units. What are the security agencies in Cross River State doing?



A Tainted Legacy

It is indeed baffling and insulting that former Governor Ben Ayade could contemplate and even lobby for a Ministerial appointment in the government of His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. This is indicative of his sheer lack of shame. Already, his political associates in Cross River State are bragging that he is on the verge of buying the Ministerial slot for Cross River State and that no power on earth can stop him. May God help Nigeria!


Until recently,former Governor Ben Ayade prided himself as the leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River State and the entire South -South geo political zone on account of being the only APC Governor in the region. Available evidence strongly suggests that Ayade used this position to ingratiate himself rather than work for the interest of the party. For him, politics is about position and power devoid of the sacrifice and responsibility that comes with it. It is therefore not surprising that as the only APC Governor in the South -South,he shouldered no responsibilities of any of these States either in the build up or during the elections. He neither funded nor assisted any State chapter of the party in the zone during the campaigns. Whereas other APC Governors were seen in campaigns beyond their States(and in fact assisted in funding States without sitting APC Governors), with the exception of the flag off of the Presidential campaign in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, Ayade was hardly seen anywhere else campaigning for the party outside Cross River State. It is a notorious fact that Ben Ayade never believed in the possibility of a Bola Ahmed Tinubu presidency.


This fact accounts for his half hearted support of the Tinubu/Shettima ticket even after His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu clinched the clinched the ticket. Unlike other APC contenders for the presidency who stepped down for Tinubu, former Governor Ayade contested for the the ticket to the very end. Even after Tinubu emerged as the Presidential candidate of the party, he continued to show his distaste for the possibility of a Tinubu presidency by his total lack of commitment throughout the campaign up to the election. It was therefore not surprising that he did not deploy the resources that he received from the centre for the purpose of prosecuting the presidential election.





Unlike his other colleague Governors from the North who are today well positioned for cabinet appointments on account of their invaluable contributions to the success of the party during the last presidential election, Ben Ayade did not add any positive value to the party at all during the presidential and other elections in the State on account of his poor performance in office and double faced nature.


The outcome of the elections in Cross River State is so revealing of this fact. In the presidential election in which Ben Ayade himself was a candidate for the Senate, he not only lost his senatorial bid; Tinubu was roundly beaten by Peter Obi in his senatorial district; out of the five Local Government Areas in Ben Ayade’s northern senatorial district, Peter Obi of the Labour Party won in four of the local Governments while PDP’S Atiku Abubakar won in one Local Government Area leaving Tinubu with a zero win.

Although President Bola Ahmed Tinubu came second behind Peter Obi in Cross River State,he won in 7 out of the the 18 LGAs as follows: 4 were from Cross River Central with 6 LGAs while the remaining 3 were from Cross River South that has 7 Local Government Areas.


In Ben Ayade’s Northern Senatorial District where the then serving Minister, his nominated Deputy Governorship candidate and the sitting State Chairman of the Party all hail from, the performance of the party was shameful. The rejection of Ayade by the people was clearly demonstrated by the results of the elections in his senatorial district.


Ben Ayade planned a Governorship win for the party in the State around Cross River South and North where the party’s Governorship and Deputy Governorship candidates hail from respectively; he completely leaving out Cross River Central district where the PDP Governorship candidate was running from But as has become evident, without the strong performance posted by the party in the Central Senatorial district, APC would have lost the Governorship election in Cross River State.


The distribution of the House of Assembly seats is even more revealing. Cross River State operates a 25-member House of Assembly; the 9 available seats in the Southern Senatorial District were won by APC. The party also won 9 out of the 10 seats in the Central Senatorial District. The only seat APC lost in the Central District is the Assembly seat located in Senator Ndoma Egba’s Constituency. In the Northern Senatorial District where Ayade hails from, PDP won 4 out of the 6 seats with APC and Labour party clinching one seat each.



The Resort to Cheap Blackmail:

As Ben Ayade shamelessly lobbies for Ministerial appointment in spite of the scandalous performance of APC in his Senatorial District where he was roundly rejected by his people, he has resorted to his acclaimed stock in trade of cheap blackmail. These days, he tells everyone who cares to listen that he made a huge sacrifice by joining APC and that since joining the party that he has been unfairly treated.


This disingenuous characterization from his notorious playbook falls flat in the face of the facts on the ground. Ayade is not a victim of any ill treatment by the party but is rather a hostage to his inordinate ambition to be a Minister at all cost. For the avoidance of doubt, Ben Ayade left PDP having lost the party’s structure to the combination of strong opposition by National Assembly members from the State and the opposition from party leaders in the state.


APC literally ‘dashed’ the party to him; he was given an open cheque to do as he wished. He single handedly handpicked all the candidates including himself for the elections in the State. His treatment of his preferred Governorship candidate, Gov. Bassey Otu in the run up to the election is instructive, shameful, wicked and disheartening; it shows the kind of politics he played when his control of the party was absolute. Instead of funding Otu’s campaign, he preferred to buy off his personal property. Even the vehicles that Otu used during the campaign was given to him on the hire by Ayade and his co-Governor brother. The people of Cross River State are very bitter with Ben Ayade and his disastrous eight years in office and rewarding him with Ministerial appointment would be unfortunate.


The mismanagement of the State resources under his leadership has left the State in financial ruins. In his eight years in office, he hardly left one functional project as a legacy. Even the Governor’s office from where Senator Bassey Otu is supposed to operate from was not spared Ayade’s catastrophic reign; it was left in a decrepit state with leakages,dripping faeces and toilets that cannot be flushed and gaping cracks on the walls.As a result of this dismal state of repair, as at today, Gov. Bassey Otu is forced to operate from a temporary office.


In concluding this commentary, I sincerely believe that political office should be seen as an opportunity to tender service and make a positive difference in the lives of the people. It is a call to higher purpose that should not be taken for granted. His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has already started his administration on many positive notes.


His bold and decisive actions so far has won for him the admiration and support of millions of Nigerians. He needs experienced and highly skilled Ministers to implement the people oriented programmes in his manifesto. I therefore urge him to carefully assemble patriotic men and women to assist him in the task of rebuilding our country. Ben Ayade ruined my State and it would be a profound mistake to nominate him as a Minister. Without being immodest, Cross River State is blessed with many highly skilled, patriotic and loyal party men from which the President is at liberty to choose from.


Our nation and my State deserve the services of a true and worthy nominee who will make us proud. The challenges of this moment does not give room for avoidable blunders. May God Almighty guide President Tinubu to make the right calls.

Amawu Cletus Albert Amawu

I'm a Journalist, Host/Producer of The Verdict, your voice of conscience on FAD FM 93.1, Calabar, Public Affairs Commentator, Social Change Agent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Next Post


Wed Aug 23 , 2023
Share ThisBy: © JEA Media. The Cross River State Commissioner for Crops and Irrigation Development, Hon. Johnson Ebokpo Jr. has resumed to work and met with the Management Team and staff, as he roll out his plans for the Ministry to be entirety agribusiness inclined and a major source of […]

You May Like