There has been a lot of clamour within and outside of Cross River State, a state where he has presided over the past seven years for Professor Ben Ayade to join the Presidential race. His antecedents in the State has shown the nature and stuff he is made of and why he seems to tower head and shoulders above all others who have indicated interest in ruling Nigeria in the last few weeks.
Born 54 years ago, Ayade has an indescribable passion for education and learning. From a Ph.D in Environmental Microbiology, to MBA, to degree in Law. Ayade’s quest for knowledge is better imagined. In an age where one of the major challenges the national has is a functional educational system, there is no doubt that he is the right man to find a pathway in the labyrinth of crises that Nigeria’s education sector face.
The Cross River Governor is a man who is willing to go the extra mile to get things done. This doggedness has manifested in the way he has pursued some of the toughest projects undertaken by his government.
He is imbued with humane and humanitarian attributes that has helped in bringing human face to leadership. It is as a result of this that he decided to employ thousands of aides in order to take them off the streets, deploy them to areas where he believes that the State would benefit from their wisdom and knowledge.
While many have successfully carved niche for themselves, others have failed to see through the magnanimity and make names for themselves. But Ayade offered them the opportunity, like the proverbial ten virgins in the Bible.
It is perhaps in the area of management of the economy that we believe Ben Ayade would offer Nigeria profound experience. The Cross River Governor, to his credit has been able to manage the little resources the State has and ensured that salaries are paid as at when due and making giant developmental strides.
This is despite the fact that the State receives one of the least allocations from the Federation account.
Even this has not stopped him from dreaming, making projections and hoping that he could lift the State up to become a major hub in the agricultural advancement of the country.
With the reforms he has started in cocoa, rice, poultry and other areas of agriculture, there is no doubt that the foundation for a veritable agriculture-based economy has been laid in the State.
This will definitely gladden the heart of everyone who knows how much Nigeria spends on food importation annually.
His industrial cluster idea has also ensured that not only agriculture is taking a prime place but also systematic industrialization. With creation of factories that will absorb the raw materials produced by agriculture-based economy, it is a win-win situation for Cross River.
But there is no way this can be translated into a solution at the national level unless the man who has been able to do this is given the opportunity to replicate it at the federal level.
It is therefore in the interest of all Nigerians and those who have the interest of the country at heart that Ben Ayade becomes the next president of Nigeria.
Ayade has simplified governance, by his activities, taken policy implementation to the grassroots, carried the people their along and thus ensured that there is peace in the State.
Ideas rule the world. There is no doubt that one of the biggest thinkers among the set of leaders currently in the Nigerian political landscape is Ayade. Some of the giant projects that he is likely to hand over to the administration are products of serious thinking and conceptualisation.
This has been a major challenge for government at the Federal level in Nigeria where we keep doing things the old way and expect different results.
With an Ayade Presidency, many things will definitely change about Nigeria, the gap between the ruler and the ruled will be bridged dividends of democracy will trickle down, fresh ideas on how to move the nation forward will be deployed and all these will affect the way the country is ruled.