Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, yesterday swore in 39 commissioners with a charge on them to perform or ‘get fired’.
At the event which was held at the state Executive Council Chamber at the governor’s office in Calabar, Ayade explained that he reappointed virtually all the commissioners who served with him in his first term in keeping to his promise to return them after the elections.
He also justified the expansion of his government.
According to him, “The expansion of the government is anchored on my belief that everybody has something to offer in life. The moment you put down somebody, you have put down a great potential. If each commissioner executes a given mandate, then you have 39 projects accomplished.”
Ayade said every commissioner represents a community in the state.
“Every commissioner represents a community and that community is represented in the government. The more people you bring to the table, the more you reach down the lowest level.
“I made a commitment in my first term that everyone would return in my second term, so as you come to the table, you come to a new government. In my first term, I made a commitment that everybody was going through a learning curve, and I tolerated excesses, failures, inadequacies and short comings.
“I have an internal nature not to raise somebody and at the same time put that person down, but such goodwill is often mistaken for weakness but it is actually a higher spiritual level,” he said.In what could be regarded as a riot act, the governor told the new commissioners that their performance would determine their longevity in the cabinet.
He said: “A Shakespearean theory says that a leader must not only be loved but feared. Once you lose the element of fear, you lose leadership quality. This time, I am going to exhibit that other part. That is why your appointment and swearing-in today will be in the first instant for one year.
“There is a full parastatal for performance monitoring and evaluation. Once I am given your score card and you meet 70 percent, you move on but if you don’t, we reshuffle or replace you. In my first term, I was tolerant, but in my second term, I will be intolerant. If you don’t deliver, you go. I can assure you that you will not sit on this chamber again.”
While outlining the duties of the various commissioners, the governor specifically charged the new Commissioner for Transport to revive the moribund Cross River State-owned Cross Line Mass Transit, insisting that it was time to reduce the cost of transportation for the citizens traveling in and outside the state.
The governor, who created new ministries, including Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Sports and Cinematography, commended the state House of Assembly for thorough and speedy screening and confirmation of the commissioners, saying: “You did a detailed job during the screening, and you demonstrated capacity and showed competence.”