By Japhet Bassey
My dear Excellency, I want to use this medium to particularly thank you for the many wonderful things you have been doing since your assumption of office as governor of Cross River State.
There is no denying the fact you came to office at a very challenging time of our national life, a time when the economy of the country is not only struggling, but sadly characterized by non-payment of salaries in most of the states of the federation, owed largely to a drop in crude oil prices.
But in the face of these seeming economic uncertainties, you have remained resilient, keeping faith and discharging your statutory obligations to your subjects by ensuring that salaries are not only paid but surprisingly paid between the first and second week of the month to the amazement of even your serial critics.
While I am almost tempted to describe you as a magician, I will not do so because of your humanity and well known act of philanthropy. You have brought this to bear on your governance process.
It is common knowledge that in virtually all the states, salaries are being owed for upward of five to six months, yet you have displayed a canny ability in the management of statecraft.
Not long after you were sworn in, you demonstrated your compassion for the weak and the poor in the state by passing into law a bill abolishing taxes for the low income earners of the state workforce. This was followed immediately with the lifting of the 23-year-old freeze on employment in the civil service.
In the state, you been christened “Digital Governor”, “Labour Friendly Governor”, “Investment Friendly Governor”, these are labels testifying to the noble deeds you have performed barely a year in office. Let me add to this titles by naming you “Ekwueme I of Cross River”. Ekwueme in Igbo means “Talk and do”. Indeed, you are a man who not only talk the talk but also walk your talks and so, you are deserving of this new title of “Ekwueme”.
When you said you were expanding the government, I am sure a lot of people scoffed at the proposition, wondering how you were going to manage the attendant cost implications, but today, you have silenced your doubters. Not many realized that your action was not borne out of surplus but more of letting the little that there is go round. This gesture finds space in the shared African heritage of commonality.
In fact, several of us are already overwhelmed with optimism that with the ongoing industrialization, Governor Ayade is aggressively positioning Cross River among the first world within Nigeria.
Kudos Ekwueme I of Cross River
–Bassey, Calabar, Cross River State.