Former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode says Nigeria needs more governors like Sir Ben Ayade of Cross River State given his impactful style of governance.
Speaking during his tour of some major projects of the Ayade-led administration, including the fully furnished social housing scheme allocated to the displaced people of Bakassi in Ifia Ayong, Bakassi Local Government Area, Fani-Kayode lauded the governor for changing the narrative of the internally displaced people through the provision of tastefully furnished houses.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, who described the apartments as a luxury, said he had never seen their kind anywhere in the country constructed for the internally displaced people (IDPs).
“Having gone round this country, to places like Southern Kaduna IDP camp, the North East IDP camp, there is absolutely no comparison to what I have seen here today. Believe me, you should be thanking God that you have this kind of governor. It is a very different story in those IDP camps.
“No doubt you have a government that is doing its best. The governor could do a lot more if the federal government has been supporting.”
Insisting that the houses in Ifia Ayong have the best of facilities, Fani-Kayode said: “In other IDP camps, you have substantial population of the people that have absolutely nothing, no shelter, no water, no electricity, no food, it is more like some kind of a ghetto or concentration camps. It has taken a lot of effort from people to try and help them, but they are now way compared to what you have here.”
Continuing, he said: “Look at what you have here, you have houses that have been built, a housing estate fully furnished with tarred roads and you can just walk round the estate, you have power, you have water, you have a beautiful and peaceful scenery. It is more like a holiday resort.”
While urging other leaders to take a cue from Ayade and make the people a priority, the former Special Adviser on Public Affairs to former President Olusegun Obasanjo said: “We need more of this types of things in other states, we need more governors like this. We need more people like this across this country who truly love their people. Let this serve as an example to other governors, to other leaders in this country that the priority ought to be the people.”
He decried the ceding of Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon, saying “it should never have been the case because you have been robbed in my view.
“The ruling of the Court was that they (Cameroon) could take the Bakassi peninsula, but once that had been done, it had to be ratified by the Nigerian legislature and there had to be a referendum, a plebiscite for the people of Bakassi to agree to that.
“Painfully, you were not given the opportunity of having a referendum, the matter never went to the National Assembly and consequently in my view, I would argue strongly that this territory that was ceded to the Cameroon was unlawful and therefore still belongs to Nigeria. And if I were president Buhari today, and I remember vividly his promises during campaigns where he said he will look into the issue of Bakassi if elected president. I would urge him to return our honour to us as a nation.”
While speaking, Governor Ayade said: “The former minister, even though not a Cross Riverian, has a deep knowledge of the pains and the sufferings of the people of Cross River State.”
Chiding the federal government for what he said was a gross act of insensitivity towards the state, the governor quipped: “I am shocked that this country is watching what is happening to this state. We are not part of the 13% derivation, we are like a weeping child in NDDC, we have no say because it is on the basis of the quantum of oil produced that NDDC allocates projects.
“We have lost our oil wells, the N500m per month as agreed is not coming, the N15bn every two years is not coming. We have just been reduced to want in body, in spirit, in soul and in our finances.