Every Cross Riverian deserves the best deal in 2019! Making this a reality should be the present preoccupation of every person from this potentially great state – politically inclined or not.
It is therefore surprising that a piece of writing with the above caption surfaced online recently: inferring from the said article, the author, Mr. Ignatius Oli, is of the opinion that Chief Edem Duke, a frontline contender for the gubernatorial seat should shelve his ambition.
Having ‘known’ and briefly interacted with Mr. Oli in the early days of online activism in Cross River State and always believed him to be an intellectual – capable of deep, rational thinking, I felt that something was amiss when I read in the said piece that Chief Duke should discontinue his aspiration to govern the state.
I am certain that Oga Oli is well aware that among the present crop of eligible contestants for the governorship office in next year’s election, Chief Duke is arguably the most experienced by virtue of his numerous years as an administrator in diverse capacities before now (recall that he once handled two Federal Ministries at the same time, when former President Goodluck Jonathan appointed him to handle the Ministry of Information in addition to being Minister for Culture, Tourism and National Orientation).
Combining this wealth of experience with his passion for service, charisma, popular appeal and Pan-Cross Riverian posture, he (Chief Duke) is well suited for the job.
In Cross River presently, there is still much work to be done – we are termed a civil service state – implying that the civil service and its institutions are about the only employers of labour in the state. This is so because our economy has remained agrarian owing largely to the lack of political will and adequate stimulus to attract businesses to the state as well as encourage local start-ups. Consequently, we are tied to Abuja’s apron string and cannot operate without the meagre oil derived monthly allocation accruing to the state. Is it not a leader with the will and experience to turn around the fortunes of the state for better that is needed?
Central among the many problems we have in our state today is the issue of disunity which has leadership dimensions. Hitherto, we Cross Riverians were known to be peaceful people, unfortunately the reverse is the case nowadays.
Never in our history have we been as divided as we are presently. It is not possible for us as a state to make progress if we continue to be at each other’s throat, working discordantly at cross purposes. Only a charismatic personality with a Pan-Cross Riverian outlook and possessing a broad, state-wide support base can serve as the glue needed to weld together all the disparate interests across the 18 local government areas in the North, Central and Southern Senatorial zones of our state.
Without doubt, this is a defining period for our state, it is now that its direction in the next four to eight years and even beyond will be determined. It is therefore very important that we set aside matters of self-interest and band up to help elect only those who truly have substance to deliver to Cross River State.
This is the time for every Cross Riverian to set partisan considerations aside and join hands in the quest to bring tangible development to the state.
Long live Cross River State!
Joe Odey (a Cross Riverian) wrote from Abuja.