Ben Ayade

Ayade: 52 Garlands for the digital governor

By Chidi Onyemaizu

Vagaries, obsufucations and vicissitudes of life are abbreviators.They limit dreams, kill visions and stifle achievements. However, there are people with undying can do spirit that never yield to despair.

Such people are created with sterner stuff and sterling qualities that spell success.Such persons hardly lay prostrate to difficulties or limitations.They see no problem but only solutions. People with such traits are few. They don’t easily come by.

His Excellency, Sir Ben Ayade of Cross River state is one of such persons. In just 52 years, Ayade has risen from his humble beginning in Obudu, his home town, surmounted all the roadblocks in life, to become the poster boy of sucess that he is today.

Looking back these 52 years, this birthday boy who bagged his doctorate degree at 26 has indeed lived an impactful and salutary life.

His life journey, the philosophies he espouses and the whole gamut of his intellect are case studies in humanism, welfarism and scientific exposé.

His odyssey is a compendium of inspiring firsts and feats. In the 52 years of his life, Ayade has marched from one greatness to another, leaving on his trail, many firsts. The icing on the cake came on May 29, 2015 when he was sworn-in as the fourth democratically elected governor of Cross River state.

And because his firt term performance touched lives positively and remade Cross River in the right direction, Cross Riverians were to overwhelmingly re-elect him for a second term on March 9, 2019.

Ayade is the first person from Northern Cross River to occupy that exalted position.
Ayade’s rustic but humble beginning shaped his approach to life and relation with fellow citizens. Born without any spoon at all in his mouth-whether golden, silver, bronze or even wooden-by sheer doggedness, hard work and abiding fate in God, Ayade overcame life difficulties.

Knowing his humble beginning, the young Ayade was aware that the only passport that he needed to frog-jump from lack to abundance was education and so, with the unwavering support of his struggling parents and grit- determination on his path, he aggressively pursued education and got it and at a young age too.

Ayade earned his B.Sc. (Honours) from the University of Ibadan in Ibadan. He then proceeded to obtain his in Microbiology and subsequently his Ph.D in Environmental Microbiology from the same University of Ibadan in 1994, winning the Best Doctoral DissertationAward in Environmental Microbiology.

The thirst for broader and crossbreed knowledge made Ayade to later venture outside the Sciences for academic laurels.Thus in 2002 he earned Masters in Business Administration, MBA from the Ambrose Ali University Ekpoma, Edo State.
Ayade is also a lawyer with a LLB Law Degree from Delta State University Abraka.

He was employed as a lecturer at Delta State University, Abraka where he was subsequently appointed Professor. From his work in groundwater remediation in Nigeria, Ayade invented a sewage treatment plant powered by solar energy. This Ayade-made technology is currently being used off-shore by oil companies in Nigeria.

His philanthropic bend has its locale in his humble beginning. He is a giver who asks for nothing in return. His greatest passion is serving God and humanity.

A devout Catholic, it was in recognition of this that the church last year invested him with St.John International Knighthood.

Ayade is a humanist with welfarist leaning who believes that one’s life story should be written not with pen but with actions-impactful actions. According to an American philosopher, “the true measure of a person is in his height of ideas, the breadth of his sympathy, the depth of his convictions and the length of his patience.” .Ayade encapsulate all these.

He hardly sacks appointees even in the face of obvious transgressions by such an appointee. Rather than sack, Ayade exhibits qualities of a leader with overflowing milk of human kindness, only reprimanding and giving necessary corrections to such erring aide.

To take burden off many families- nuclear and extended- he has broaden the size of his government, expanding the frontier. Not that he actually needs such burgeoning number of aides but Ayade is a modulator between two classical economic theorists; Adam Smith and Thomas Keyness.

He believes that expanding the frontiers of government is a way of helping to put food on the table for families. Like Keyness, the governor believes that when an economy shrinks, it is the duty of government to spend in order to reflate the economy by engaging more people and encouraging them to spend; and by so doing the economy makes a rebound.
He does not play to the gallery. His pro-people orientation is ingrained in his character trait. For example as a Senator of the 7th Senate, Ayade set up a “Food Bank” where indigent members of his constituency, that is, Cross River North, came to eat three square meals every day. An erudite scholar himself, hundreds of students across the state are on Professor Ayade’s personal scholarship. His rise as governor in 2015 has brought about magical re-invention of Cross River with the erection of solid signature projects, including industrialization drive –establishing about 34 industries in just five years out of his eight year mandate-, an uncommon achievement that has firmly established the state as an industry hub.

Expectedly, Ayade is the recipient of many awards on account of his sterling performance in office. He was Vanguard Governor of the Year, Tell Magazine Governor of the Year amongst others.

This year, many awards are lined up for the governor. These include Daily Independent Newspaper Governor of the year Award, Leadership Newspaper Governor of the Year Award, Champion Newspaper Governor of the Year Award among the litany of other Awards.
Here is man who has power and wealth but does not wield them. Rather than do so, he chooses to be unassuming. He has no airs around him and is accessible. Even as governor, Ayade holds his phones; refused to change his SIM cards, he personally answers his calls and replies text messages.

His simplicity and sterling performance in office have cooperated to greatly endear Ayade to the people so much so that wherever he goes the chant of “Digital” rents the air. This moniker has however been replaced with G-Money or Green Money, in appreciation of his effort to make Cross River youths millionaires through agriculture. In essence, G-Money is a new Agro- empowerment scheme initiated by the governor and targeted at making youths to be self employed.

The governor himself explains the G-Money philosophy: “G money is a programme for the empowerment of the youths and creating a value chain in agriculture through a beneficiation process that allows young men to hold plots of land and government helps them in the land clearing and processing, so that the industries can now buy back the raw materials from them as feed stock. It is essentially the process of creating a concentric cycle of economy where young people go into farming, generate produce, produce is processed, taken by industries, industries process them into semi and finished products, sell in the market, go back to people and buy.

G-Money provides direct cash for young people who have never seen a million Naira in their life. They are given a million Naira as take off grant, they are given five to 10 plots of land and then they are made to nurse their crops depending on their local government of origin and the crops suitable for their local government”

This Professor of Environmental Microbiology, perfectly fits into the kind of personage the Igbo would describe as “Ochinanwata” (he who achieves leadership or greatness at a young age).

Though a young scholar, Ayade carries with him the wisdom of a 90 year old. Every session with him is like going back to the classroom. His fecundity of ideas, academic and scientific prowesses are intimidating.

No, doubt, this icon- this scientist, this legal luminary, this business Administrator, this Senator, this knight of the Catholic church, this G- Money inventor, this award winning governor deserves 52 beautiful garlands and a defeaning happy birthday shout out!
Happy birthday, Your Excellency.

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Posted by on Mar 2 2020. Filed under Ben Ayade Desk. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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