Obanliku In The Politics And Leadership Of Governor Ben Ayade BY DAVE IMBUA


Perhaps, I should begin by stating the obvious, which is that until the emergence of Prof. Ben Ayade as the Executive Governor of Cross River State, many people in Obanliku did not really know what it means to be despised, alienated and neglected by a leader who has been entrusted with public funds to engineer human and capital development. The dividends of democracy delivered to the good people of Obanliku by astute leaders like Donald Duke and Liyel Imoke created the impression that a leader would always be committed to the wellbeing and welfare of the led.

As governor, Donald Duke constructed the Sankwala Ring Road within his first 100days in office. In the course of his eventful tenure, he completed and commissioned other projects including the Obanliku General Hospital, the Bebi Airstrip, Utanga Safari Lodge. Duke also upgraded the Ranch Resort to international standard, making it the flagship of Nigeria’s tourism. He also electrified Bendi, Bisu, and Bebi among other communities. It is to his credit that he initiated and sustained the defunct annual Obudu Mountain Race which brought a great company of men and women from across ethnic, national, religious, linguistic and gender divides for the purpose of winning laurels and leisure. The Obudu International Mountain Race was endorsed by both the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) and the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) in 2005 shortly before Duke left office

As a co-visionary with Duke, Governor Liyel Imoke consolidated and expanded Duke’s legacies in the tourism sector. Painstaking efforts were dedicatedly deployed to ensure that the dream that informed the huge investment in the Ranch Resort was not allowed to wither and die. The Imoke – led administration opened new vistas in a bid to sustain the influx of both local and international tourists to the Resort. Under the Imoke’s administration, the road to the resort was fortified and driving through the 22 breath-taking U bends became pleasurable. In the same committed manner, Senator Liyel Imoke opened up our rural communities with asphalted roads like the Basang East Road, Busi Road, and Utuhu-Kakwe-Lishiche-Shikpeche Road. This was in addition to the rehabilitation and upgrading of numerous health centres and schools in the LGA. Unless influenced by other considerations, it is hard for Obanliku people to talk of Duke and Imoke without enormous debt of gratitude to their commitment to the provision of basic amenities in the LGA.

And, then, the era of Ben Ayade came! Expectedly, Obanliku people were ecstatic and excited that the swearing-in of a brother and kinsman as Governor of Cross River State was going to bring about massive improvement in their social, political and economic fortunes. Indeed, even those of us who had advised caution in the euphoria based on our knowledge of the complexities of man, had cause to be optimistic. Six years down the road, the Obanliku situation has deteriorated to a level that could not have been imagined. The euphoria and fanfare that greeted the emergence of the Ayade administration have given way to regret and frustration in Obanliku, leaving sycophants and booth lickers with the onerous responsibility of convincing the masses that we are not going through our worst experience under greedy, selfish and heartless misleaders who want to be richer than the state.

The fact that Governor Ayade has consistently treated Obanliku as an after-thought and a dispensable neighbour is visible to the blind and audible to the deaf. Under Ayade, our Ranch has become a mere footnote in the world tourism map. The Bebi Airstrip is an abandoned project. One can’t even recall the last time a plane landed or took off from it. The Mountain Race has become history. Even the Cottage Hospital in Kabun, Basang, that was singlehandedly built by our illustrious brother, Dr Emmanuel Akashie, and donated to the State Government, was abandoned immediately after commissioning more than five years ago. Even the staff of the hospital that were promised immediate employment when the government took possession of the hospital, are still languishing in Ayade’s University of Unemployment. Unless you don’t know what is injustice, you will surely wonder what the Obanliku people have done wrong to warrant the level of neglect and marginalisation that has been visited on Obanliku. Ayade era is a debacle for the Obanliku nation. Apart from dispossessing people of their land, there is absolutely no project that Ayade has executed and commissioned in the entire Obanliku LGA in the last six years.

Unless something is fundamentally wrong with us, Obnliku people should not quarrel and abuse themselves with regard to the antics of their common oppressor, whether he chooses to stand with the PDP or the APC. I am convinced that his neglect of Obanliku has nothing to do with political parties. We should all stand together irrespective of political affiliation against anyone that takes delight in the underdevelopment of Obanliku.

I should end this piece by reminding Obanliku elites and other people that are polluting the streets and bad roads in Obanliku with the suffocating stories of our oppressor whose actions are simply dictated by the fear of the EFCC of W.E.B. Du Bois’ immutable assertion that it is a tragedy for an enlightened individual to pursue personal gains while ignoring the plight of his/her oppressed kin. We should always remember that from the time of Esau till now, people who sold their birth rights for a pot of porridge have lived in regrets. As the very Distinguished Senator Professor Sandy Ojang Onor admonished yesterday, “Any man who does not understand that your destiny is bigger than mere food, that is, poisoned food that does not avail you the liberty to think and the capacity to invest and grow is clearly intended to make you a slave.” Enough of the noises about “Food on the Table” and the nauseating calls for the maintenance of Table Manners in a food basket like Obanliku.

We must take our destiny into our hands by thinking Obanliku!

Dave Imbua writes from the hills of Bendi.



Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article is strictly that of Dave Imbua and does not represent the views of TheLumineNews or the organization the author works for.


Development Consultant, Writer, Editor-In-Chief/Publisher @theluminenews.com, Public/ Motivational Speaker, Public Affairs Analyst/Commentator, Social Mobilizer of high repute.

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