Tuesday, 5 February 2019

The Owan-Enoh Blueprint (Part 1)

Simon Utsu|5 February 2019 

In about a month's time, the governorship election will hold across Nigeria 🇳🇬. So it's the perfect time for me to start my two-part series on the Cross River state APC's gubernatorial candidate, Senator John Owan-Enoh's blueprint. 

I also think it's the right time for Governor Ayade to start preparing his handover notes; I wonder what tangible achievements he's going to be including in them. The pride of his own(Northern senatorial) zone used to be the Obudu ranch resort —it has become a ghost town under him —his special adviser on the Ranch was beaten to within an inch of his life by the ranch staff just last week. The central senatorial district under Ayade, became the communal war capital of Nigeria —barely a month went by without pockets of very bloody communal wars breaking out in that axis and leaving scores dead in their wake. 

Calabar which is the state's capital and the epicenter of the southern senatorial district and which before now, was rightly tagged "The People's Paradise", has been reduced to being labeled "The Appointees Paradise" with over 6,000 needless appointees loitering aimlessly around the capital city.  

It will be insincere if anyone scores Ayade an "F" in all facets of governance. In all fairness, he scored a marginal "A" in the health sector thanks to the efforts of his primary healthcare DG, Betta Edu, the Chairman of the Cross River state health insurance scheme, Goddy Iyala and to some extent, his health commissioner, Inyang Asibong. But you all will agree with me that an "A" in one sector and an F9 in the other nine is a very poor result/scorecard. In my university days, students with such a report card were expelled/rusticated after their first year. In the same vein, Ayade must be booted out of the government house with alacrity by the Cross River electorate next month for such a poor outing in his first term.

On to the crux. The Senator(and by God's grace, the next Governor) made it clear that the main reason for his indicating interest in the guber race was because of the low level governance had sunk to under the incumbent; the reason for the "Rescue Mission/Agenda(2019-2023)" theme adopted by the Owan-Enoh campaign team. As it's elaborated in his blueprint, Owan-Enoh plans to rescue the state from the fangs, pangs and hangover-effect of bad governance by focusing on four "Priorities" viz Security, Human Capital Development, Industrialization and Infrastructure (Capital projects). The vision of this drive, is "To make Cross River state the preferred investment destination in West Africa"; in line with the visions of Ayade's post-1999 predecessors. 

Since 2015, insecurity has become part and parcel of everyday life across the state. Across the length and breadth of Cross River, armed robbers, kidnappers, dangerous cultists, thugs and all manner of societal miscreants now have a field day, daily perpetrating their vices. This has led to the state suffering an unprecedented dwindle in business drive and tourism activities. Just last week, a popular hotel(names withheld by me) in the city entered into administration and was repossessed by a bank as a result of poor business which definitely was due to the aforementioned. To tackle this, basically, Owan-Enoh has put solid plans on paper, that will see his government creating a seamless and successful synergy with all the relevant security organs like the DSS, the Military, the Police, Immigration, Neighborhood watches etc. For starters, the security council meeting(held between the governor and heads of all the security agencies and apparatuses in the state), which used to be convened monthly by Donald and Liyel but has become a rarity under Ayade, will be brought back and sustained. There is also going to be a security partnership between the state government and the leadership (religious & traditional) of rural communities to mitigate and forestall communal clashes. Lagos state established a "Security Trust Fund" over a decade ago(2007) and it turned out to be a success —it's from there most of the funds used to tackle security issues in the mega city are sourced. Owan-Enoh plans to replicate this if voted in, by sending an executive bill to the Cross River State a house of Assembly so it would be established as an act of parliament and subsequently, sustained beyond his tenure. There is also a plan to install additional high-tech, state-of-the-art infrastructure state-wide that would improve the existing security communication architecture which would in turn, make crime fighting much more robust. 

Last but not the least, the Owan-Enoh think tank, has come up with a novel template(Access to Justice) which would improve the criminal justice system in the state nay Nigeria. The Governor through his Attorney General, will work round the clock —collaboratively, with the Chief Judge, the state's prison comptroller and faith-based charities, to ensure that justice is served timely and also rehabilitate inmates.

Utsu is a social commentator

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