Leadership, I believe like many people should be about impact; visible, tangible and intangible, hope, value, emotional impact and more. This, however, has eluded many states in Nigeria asides the many complaints that people cite about the federal government and the political leadership history in Nigeria. Governor Ben Ayade is clearly silently making an impact in his state without having to publicize them on paid national television adverts and series like many other governors do.
He has been consistently known to pay salaries on time and many times before the month ends and before workers go for any national holidays. He has admitted that he has not borrowed money since he took office on May 29, 2015 and this is not about being an oil-rich state. He is clearly doing some things right; he is setting new records and the recent being the presentation of the 1 trillion naira budget of 1.306 trillion naira. The first state governor to cross trillion naira mark. Lagos state is known to have set a record of 812 billion in their 2017 budget but is yet to release the one for 2018.
However, this is not about setting new records of budget sums but about development, impact, good governance, accountability and real sustainable dividends of democracy. In an era where many state governors cannot pay salaries or pensions, here we have Ben Ayade of Cross River state doing it with ease and still has 70 percent to invest in capital projects. Even though he admitted that the proposed budget sum is not available, he believes that the start-up projects for 2018 will drive foreign investors to come to the state. Without getting confused, he will make the state conducive, safe and well powered for foreign businesses to thrive and invest their monies in Cross River state.
The budget which he called the budget of Kinetic Crystallization (shows he indeed is a Professor of Applied Sciences) will focus on making the state an Entrepreneurial state beyond one driven by civil service. So, the young people or any other person interested in doing their businesses or running start-ups are covered in this budget for 2018. According to this governor Ben Ayade, “The hallmark of this administration is the decoupling of the state from over-dependence on federal allocation and so this budget is designed and tailored to fit our dreams of an enterprising economy without depending on oil as a source of revenue.”
How is he achieving this and making such a difference when his counterparts are clearly struggling or focused on erecting meaningless statues that are putting their states in debt?
Could it be his education that makes him want to solve problems? He holds a patent for an invention that uses solar power for water treatment and so he is sound with research and a renowned professor at that. He is 48 years this and clearly mobile, active, almost juvenile and could this be that he understands the challenges of these times more than the older ones that think advancement in age makes all the difference? Cross River state under Ben Ayade is clearly making good progress and they have been doing that over the years with Donald Duke, Liyel Imoke and now Ben Ayade driving it with greater vigour.
Leadership, clearly by the strides of Ayade is not rocket science and neither does sabotage set in so long as the leader can inspire hope and ensure that people buy into the vision and show leadership by example.