Expanding governance eases social tension – Cross River Governor
Eme Offiong, Calabar
Expanding governance through the creation of job opportunities has been identified as a panacea to social tensions.
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State in south-south Nigeria made the assertion at a solidarity rally organized in Calabar, the capital city by the 18 Local Government Chairmen’s Forum.
Governor Ayade, who reiterated the commitment of his administration to industrialize Cross River, stated that government must take deliberate steps to enable young Nigerians to utilize job opportunities.
Ayade noted that due to the limited employment spaces in the federal and state civil service sector, his government resolved to empower people by absorbing a huge number of appointees, who are paid monthly.
According to him, “due to the hard times, we realized that one of the other ways to reduce social tension was to expand government.
“Why do I have to pay 13,000 people at the local government level? It is because I care and not because I have. Why do I have to pay 6,000 political appointees at the state level? If we do not do that hardship and pain will push even the gentleman across the fence.
“The alert we give to the appointees every month without owing a single person is what is lowering social tension and giving us the peace we have today,” he stated.
Human Capacity Development
Speaking further, the governor urged the Nigerian Government as well as his counterparts across the country to focus on human capacity development, insisting that with a national population of more than 200 million people, there was an urgent need to refocus on the needs of the citizenry.
“Nigeria’s 207 million people mean that we need to focus on people. Let us expand government for these young people. Let us create opportunities for more people in the police, military and paramilitary services and agriculture. We cannot continue to focus on infrastructure without investing directly on the people,” he emphasized.
Alternative jobs creation
In a remark, the Chairman of the forum, Emmanuel Bassey, who also heads Akpabio local government area, said that the rally was held in support of the Ayade-led industrial revolution and leadership style.
“We have come out in solidarity with our governor because we believe in his leadership and his desire to create alternative job opportunities for our people. This is not a political rally, but it is a movement aimed at supporting the industrialization drive,” said Bassey.
The convener, who is also the Chairman of Boki local government area said, “we are happy with the giant strides, innovations and the creativity we are witnessing in the State and that is the reason for this rally. We are saying to our governor that we are loyally behind him and in support of his efforts to transform the state.”
He urged those critical of the leadership style of Governor Ayade to change their minds for the sake of peace and the entire state, noting “I remember the last time we had an industrialization drive was in the mid-90s under the military regime. We had a few factories, which went under. But, today we have over twenty operational factories built by Ayade.”
Similarly, the publicity secretary of the forum and Chairman of Odukpani local government area, Mrs. Justina Edem said that the rally was an affirmation by female politicians.
Edem said, “this government has actually empowered more women and youths. The number of women heading the local government councils is above 35 percent. We also have more female state executive council members and this is even replicated at the legislature and judiciary.
“Ayade is, in fact, the only leader that we know and as grassroots people, it is our prerogative to decide who leads us. So, all the eighteen council chairmen, vice-chairmen and 196 councillors have come out to support his industrialization drive.”
The rally, which was attended by the Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Jonas Eteng Williams featured several goodwill messages