Former military head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, and former Secretary-General of the Common Wealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, weekend commended Cross River State governor, Senator Ben Ayade, for winning the Vanguard Newspaper Governor of the Year Award.
General Gowon who urged other governors to emulate Governor Ayade for what he described as welfarist policy, said: “I say well done to Governor Ayade as I want all other governors to follow his example by taking care of their civil servants because civil servants are the custodians of any good work any governors or even president is doing.”
According to the former head of state, “It was because I paid attention to civil servants, and in return, they helped me implement my policies as head of state. For Ayade, I say weldone to him and I want others to follow his example not only by paying attention to the civil servants but the welfare and wellbeing of their people. Let the people be the ones to say thank you Mr. Governor. The gratitude of your people is the greatest thing you have.”
Voicing his commendation, Chief Anayaoku said: “Governor Ayade is clearly one of the best performing governors in Nigeria today. He has kept faith by paying salaries regularly to workers.”
Anyaoku who also charged other governors to follow in the footsteps of Ayade, maintained that “Governor Ayade is a perfoming governor and I’m glad to see that he was recognised by Vanguard newspapers for the Award. I will want to encourage all the governors to emulate him and pay greater attention to the management of the resources in their states and to set the right priorities by developing infrastructure, welfare of their workforce and development of greater capacity for their internally generated revenues. They should also pay attention to agriculture.”
Similarly, former South West Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Bode Geroge, noted that “Ayade is a typical intellectual who works and knows at the back of his mind way back while he was he a senator that the centrepiece o politics is the people and I’m so happy that he has portrayed that.”
According to George, “Governor Ayade has brough his intellectual capacity along with his political sagacity into governance of his state without tearing down anybody in his state. These are the kind of people that this country will need in the nearest future. He has respect for the people and there is no “gra gra”. I will always wish that the good Lord will continue to direct him.This is not the end, he will finish his four years and another four years and will go for much higher positions. He is one of the PDP strong governors and I am personally very proud of him.”
In same vein, former National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, said he is proud of Ayade for making the party proud.
He disclosed that ”when Ayade wanted to run as governor, I told him that ‘you know I’m from Cross River, so I’m looking forward to seeing the best in you in the interest of those who elected you and there is no doubt that he is making me proud. I was in Calabar a week ago and from what I saw regarding the infrastructure and the report I got, I am satisfied. I’m the father of all of them. Ayade should continue the good work he is doing.”
Also, Chairman of the occasion and former governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke said: “Governor Benedict Ayade left no one in doubt that by the time he’s through with Cross River, Cross River will never remain the same. He has defined an agenda that left every Cross Riverian breathless. He is not satisfy with where the state is at the moment and he is determined to take it to greater heights and make it an iconic state in the comity of states in Nigeria.”
presenting the award to Ayade, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa said the thunderous cheer and standing ovations by Nigerians from far and wide when the governor was called out to receive his award, was a manifest indication of his acceptability.
Expressing gratitude for the award, the Governor Ayade said: “Even though the award was a recognition of his effort at repositioning Cross River State, it does not make much meaning to to me, especially when my people are still wallowing in lack and want. How can I receive an award when my people of Bakassi are homeless in their own country? How can I receive an award when my people of Bakassi are stateless in their own country? This is why I will know no rest until they are accorded the dignity they deserve as a people. However, I receive this award with the singular fact that it is a further call for me to sit up and do more.