Ben Ayade

Ayade Has Raised The Benchmark for Good Governance – Chief Victor Idem

gov benIn an exclusive interview with journalists, Chief Victor Idem, the Managing Director, Felodem Group of Companies and Director general, Team-Ben Political Organization, recently spoke on some of the critical issues in the State.  

Excerpts…

What informed your decision to root for Sen. Ayade among the array of Guber candidates and the eventual formation of the Pro-Ben Ayade Mandate Actualization Organization known as “Team Ben”

I have known Sen. Ben Ayade for the past five years but I happened to be close to him the day he came to see the Calabar Municipal Caucus. So many gubernatorial candidates came but I was attracted to him after he finished his speech, it was then I knew he was the chosen one.

I recorded three speeches including that of Ayade and sent them to my wife and she immediately chosed him as the man who stood out among the rest.

Before rooting for him, we went into prayers for God’s divine direction and he was shown as  the man to liberate Cross River State. With that confirmation, I gathered political stakeholders and told them I have seen the man whom God has design for the state.

With this kind of organization, finances are usually a problem but we didn’t look at the finances, we worked from the heart.

The team which has membership across the 18 LGA’s and wards in the state worked assiduously and to the glory of God our efforts was crowned when Senator Ben Ayade emerged as governor in a landslide victory.

Recently, there were mixed reactions from the public on Ayade’s 100 days in office, notable is Okoi Obono-Obla’s reactions on Channels TV where he scored the governor low. How will you rate the Governor’s 100 days in office

Obla is my friend, we were together in Mary Knoll, he is a very intelligent young man, when I saw his rating of Sen. Ayade’s 100 days in office on channels TV, I called him to discuss his tool of measurement, because you must have a benchmark when you are rating someone. Maybe, there are areas he feels His Excellency hasn’t looked into, but nobody can actually say the governor hasn’t performed so well within his 100 days in office. And I can say emphatically at any level using Ayade’s 100 days in office as benchmark that no governor in Cross River State has done what he has done.

If anyone wants proof, I will state them out; In his first 100 days in office, He was able to take off his signature projects, if you go to Bakassi, the Calabar Seaport is currently ongoing, the design are complete, the site has been cleared and work is ongoing.

If you go to the superhighway, more than 20km has been cleared, I am into construction, drawing a design of over 200km within three months means that the people were not sleeping, it takes a lot to design a road of that length, more than 200km superhighway, it takes more than three months, but he was able complete it within three months, that means he put the designers into terrible task, this achievement is not just limited to the design alone, he has moved into the site, clearing more than 20km, that is sincerely laudable.

The garment factory is ongoing, salaries that have been a problem in the state for several months have been cleared and are currently paid before the end of each month. Civil servants are happy. I was talking to one of the Labour leaders in the state, I asked him how he saw Ayade and he told me that the man is really trying.

Another aspect is the Judiciary crises, within 100 days in office, His Excellency sorted out what has been hanging for over eight months added with the load of challenges he is having running the state.

What is happening is the Grace of God upon the life of the governor, It is God that has given him the empowerment and wisdom. What the people have seen in his 100days in office is just 2percent of what is to come.

We should leave politics and ethnicity and join hands with him to make Cross River State to a multi-national economy.

What’s your take on the wrangling over the Governor’s delayance in appointing his Cabinet

Well, I’m surprised at the eagerness of some persons over appointments, because I believe that people should go into politics and think about what they can contribute and not what they can get from the state. If you think of what you can contribute you will behave like some of us who concentrate more on what we can give in supporting the good ideas and policies of the governor.

I don’t see any delay in the appointment of his cabinet, the delay is in the minds of some people and I tell politicians “you can be a politician and do something for humanity”.

Ben Ayade is a business man, he does not depend on politics, I’m a business man, I don’t depend on politics. I am involved in politics just to make sure I can give little advice. The governor assumed his office as a business man who quickly noticed he must put certain things in place. From the first day he was sworn in, he took over the leadership of the state, Commissioner or no commissioner, everything has been working well,  He has the key people he should work with for now, the SSG, DG’s, Permanent Secretaries, his Chief of Staff and S.A’s.

Anyone who understands his body language will know that the governor is setting the specifics; an agenda, a road map for which he wants anyone he’s appointing to be guided upon. He doesn’t want to appoint anyone to come sit down and collect salaries. He’s operating like a business man. He wants to make sure that when he’s appointing you, you must have an assigned laid down work-load, with specific timelines to deliver.

Cross Riverians should be patient, it’s not late, it’s not delayed. People should be patient

Recently, the Cross River State House of Assembly granted and approved Ayade’s request to borrow N30billion. With the State debt profile, Critics are of the opinion that it is too early to start borrowing. What is your take..?

I like to say that the governor is a very wise man, because if you must remove the state from indebtedness, you must look for money to borrow. What you should understand is that, the money you borrow will simulate the economy and create a normal environment, when there’s an outflow of activities, investors will move in. If you are saying we should not borrow, every sector will go dead and when that happens everyone will know the state as a “no go area”. In the business we are doing, if you owe a lot of money, the best you can do is to look for some money, inject into the system and let the system run, with that, you would have created the opportunity to have more jobs, but if you fold your hands, fold your equipments, nobody will give you any job because you appear not have the capacity.

For anyone criticizing the N30billion approved by the Cross River State House of Assembly, I think they should rather ask if he will be able to borrow and not him borrowing, because if he’s able to borrow in the present situation then he’s a blessed man.  It is not easy for any state government to borrow because lenders will look at your background before they think of lending you money.

Team-Ben was a strong voice during the campaigns of Senator Ben Ayade, Now that the Campaigns are over, What is role of Team-Ben in the successful delivery of this administration.

For now, Team Ben is engaged in the enlightenment of the populace about the people-friendly policies of the governor, his projects and his visions for the state. You will agree with me that there are several negative forces who want to see the governor fail and who are sending negative signals to the populace, we are correcting that by the enlightenment of the public.

Two weeks ago, we had the state general meeting where our LGA coordinators were directed to start interacting with political groups, unions and members of the public; encouraging them to be patient while enlightening them of the governors achievements and policies.

We have printed the visions of the governor, his projects and the successes he has achieved, these have been distributed to our members, so they can be better informed to enable them inform the public.

We have also established another group liasing with churches to pray for the governor, because I see the  problem people are having against this administration, most of them are not physical and you know spiritual things have to be attacked spiritually. This is the reason we happen to know better than other groups because we only follow God’s direction.

Team Ben is on the streets, and in every neighbourhood across the state enlightening the public. We just moved from the verbal street enlightenment to the media, we know it’s very expensive but we are doing our best. We won’t want to close our mouth and fold our hands or go to the governor to solicit for funds, because if we do that, we won’t be able to advise the governor properly when he goes wrong. We will only go the governor only when it’s advisory and necessary.

Where do you see Cross River State in the next 4 years under Senator Ayade

In the next four years Cross River State will be outstanding amongst the comity of nations. Today Cross River State is located among the states and in Africa, but I tell you in the next four years you will be hearing Cross River State globally on international media.

The state will have been positioned as a commercial centre, It’s not just hearing the governor talk development, let his critics pray for God to open their eyes to see where the state will be in the next four years. I’m not saying it cos I feel like talking, I’m saying what God has revealed to me.

In the next four years people will force Ayade to go back to Govt. House, not just begging him. They will want him to continue his good work for the state.

This is the first time Cross River State is lucky to have an intelligent, humble young man as governor, It is the first time the state is priviledged to have a business man who is an employer of over 500 hundred persons still working under him, It is the first time Cross River State is having a man so liberal, who has an antecedent of helping the poor even before he became a Senator.

I cling to him because of his ideologies, because it gives him joy when he is able to put a smile on faces. In four years, Cross River State will be at the height that man cannot comprehend.

I call on my friends, brothers and the entire state to drop all political and ethnic differences and support Sen. (Prof.)Ben Ayade. I know there will be a lot of distractions but I will say to the governor “Stay focused”.  The crown of leadership on him was divine and I know he will succeed.

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