Ayade’s successor must complete all government projects – Ekong
By Our Admin
Edem Ekong, a senior lawyer, politician and former commissioner in Cross River State executive cabinet under former Governor Lyel Imoke and also under Governor Ben Ayade has opined that whoever will succeed Governor Ayade must not rush into any fresh project but complete all government projects inherited.
Speaking in a interaction with our correspondent, Ekong who was at different times served as Commissioner for Lands, Commissioner for Local Government Affairs as well as Special Adviser, Department of Public Transport said “if you count the things former Governor Donald Duke left behind and the things that Liyel Imoke left behind and the things that Governor Ayade may not be able to finish; there’s work for whoever is coming next.”
He said eight years is not enough to finish everything but that “it will be utterly childish and irresponsible to commence on completely fresh things when there’s so much that can be completed; for the sake of people rather than start a fresh project: It doesn’t matter who takes credit for it. The resources of the State should not be allowed to waste”.
“Why should you start your own legacy when there’s a lot to complete and well thought of, because none of those regime that did not have a clean and sensible blueprint. Probably if I’m to do a blueprint I will just pick and update and modify and find out where people failed and see how best to can it done”, Ekong maintained.
He argued that Cross River State is richly endowed and the state internal revenue can be improved significantly without hurting anyone.
Ekong cited his experience when he saved under the Department of Public Transportation (DOPT) saying “in the Department of Public transportation, you could see that getting people to where they need to get to and that the whole economy of the state is dependent on these transportation. God helped us; we could also generate some revenue from that department.”
“When I got to that department, I think they were making up to like sixty million naira a year. That was an achievement but we grew the IGR in DOPT to N1.9 billion a year by the time we were leaving.”
He emphasized the need for politicians seeking political office for leadership to have knowledge and experience in governance and administration.
His words, “I contested as deputy governor in 2003 and 2023 will make it 20 years. I believe over that time someone has mature. In fact, as soon as I finished that election and I failed (in 2003), I ran for local government chairman in Akpabuyo, hoping that I could prepare myself. Fortunately, the governor then, Liyel Imoke thought that I should not start from elsewhere; I was removed from that election and was appointed the Commissioner for Lands and I learned governance and administration in one of the biggest ministries as far as I’m concern.”
“We introduced budgeting in the local government system and brought some order; then my most turbulent posting was Department of Public Transportation but that also introduced me to the nitty gritty of day-to-day living.”
“Department of public transportation was an experience and it’s still work in progress. I don’t even have a training or exposure in public transportation, so this was just God’s given wisdom and energy.”
Ekong who contested as deputy governorship running mate under the defunct All Peoples Party APP but joined the Peoples Democratic Party, recently decamped from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress.
He explained that when he resigned from PDP he had the option of just running his business “but honestly I remember why I wanted to learn government in the first place and that it will be unfair to carry all of these experiences and take home and eventually take to the grave”.
“So I’m doing serious consideration to throw my heart in the ring come 2023 because I think I have some experience. I am one of those that are duly qualified to run.”
Asked if he was coming to rescue the state from decay as argued by some opposition elements in the state, he responded that he does not agree about rescuing.
He noted that “the state has always been in trouble since when former Governor Donald Duke took over; it was rescued, when Senator Liyel Imoke took over, there were debts to pay, Tinapa and the rest. When Ayade took over, it’s even worse than when Liyel took over; things had dropped, Bakassi had gone. So, really what you need to understand about government is that challenge increases with each regime.”
“Whoever that is going to come in is going to meet a greater challenge than his predecessor,” Ekong maintained.