By Peace Sunday, Gabriel Sunday, Inemesit Udoma
A State governor is one that exercises authority especially over an area or group. A governor is an official elected or appointed to act as ruler, chief executive or nominal head of a political unit. A state governor leads the executive branch of government of his state; he commands the authority of the affair of the state. The constitution of Nigeria vest executive powers on the governor, it charges the governor with execution of law, appointment of state judiciary and other regulatory bodies among others subject to state assembly approval. According to Abdul Hamid, a governor, as the chief executive officer of his state is expected to show quality of good leadership, the game of blame will take him nowhere but only truncate the chances he has of good service delivery and protecting lives and property upon which he took an oath. Official responsibilities of governor among others include signing bills into law, serving as chief security officer, convening special session of the state legislature, delivering a state of state address to citizens, granting commutation and pardons to prisoners.
The expectations from the Akwa Ibom people from the incoming Governor come 2023 are to propose and pass new legislations that will advance the livelihood of the common citizens through the state legislature. The state governor should grant clemency and reprieves, he should issue pardons to prisoners in the state prisons. The governor should interface with other state and federal government; he must maintain regular contact with the Federal government. The upcoming governor must seal and close the top of every open drainage and potholes on our roads. Provide solar powered street and traffic lights in state and local government headquarters. The Governor must perform his primary function to preserve, protect and defend the constitution, the law and the commoners under his watch.
The upcoming governor should review school curriculum by eliminating less relevant modules and introduces new one. He should increase the salaries of primary and secondary school teachers, including that of civil servants, there should be increase in their salaries. The state governor should make provision for educational load to students that cannot afford to pay school fees thereby providing student with the free and compulsory education up to Tertiary Institutions at least for brilliant children of the poor.
The governor should make provision for large scale/mechanized farming in the state for varieties of crop to be produces, processed and packaged for commercial purposes and also make provision in the rearing of livestock to provide meat for commercial purposes, he should provide employment for youth in the state, especially the teeming graduates. The governor should develop local government area especially the villages that are grappling with poor lightings, lack of hospital and health cares, school and also make accessible roads for good transportation and other amenities. The governor should provide strong security network to protect its citizenry.
The next governor of the Land of Promise must act as a corporate titan/CEO, someone with the ability to manage men and resources. He should be someone who has shown the capacity, character and competence to run a successful business. Someone who understands the dynamics of profit and loss; someone who has built an enterprise from zero to its Zenith, someone with a track record of performance, like it is said, you cannot give what you don’t have.
Why is it necessary for the next governor to be private-sector driven? Everyone knows that the greatest problem in the world today is paucity of funds. A state governor who only knows how to spend and does not know how to create wealth is not a good fit in today’s world that has been hit by recession.
Apart from funds, anyone who has run a business before will know what it is to be innovative and would have developed the penchant for adapting to new realities. Again, anyone who has run a business will know the pains and needs of SMEs — who are the major drivers of any economy.
What the state needs is the kind of leader highlighted by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates as, “one who is able to crystalise his vision, define its objectives, navigate its development and supervise its implementation. He should have clearly-defined ideas for agriculture, tourism and hospitality, rural development, health care and education. He should have a plan for the elderly and women”.
The best man for the job should be one who envisions an Akwa Ibom beyond oil. He should be the man who has been outlining his ideas, and not the one who has been grandstanding on the soap box. We are not fans to abandoned projects. It is therefore good that there should be some forms of continuity in vision. After all, it is a common saying that government is a continuum.
Another area that the upcoming governor should receive kudos for is his decision to have a database for all farmers. We are told that at the touch of a button, one can find out specific details and number of maize, poultry, cassava farmers etc. in the state. That is not all, he should also ensure the continuation of the Akwa Ibom Geographical Information System (AkwaGIS), which will enable the state manage her land in an organised and digitalised manner. We all know that data is king; without the right data, proper planning becomes like groping in the dark. Indeed, these two projects show the forward-thinking nature of the present governor and it is therefore necessary for someone who shares this kind of vision to continue in 2023.
Furthermore, the next governor of Akwa Ibom should not be a cultist or someone who is associated with violence. He must be a man of proven integrity with impeccable character. Not one who has an EFCC case hanging over his neck or one who has been running in and out of courtrooms over past misdeeds. In addition, the next governor must dare to tread where others dread. He should be the kind of man who is not afraid to “have his hands dirty in the soil”.
He should be dogged, tenacious, courageous and resilient, yet humble and amiable. He should be open-minded and be able to bring the best and the brightest stars together for the common good of the state. We therefore, call on the people of Akwa Ibom to take these points to heart as they head to the general elections to choose their next chief executive.
The trio of Peace Sunday, Gabriel Sunday, Inemesit Udoma are ND two students of Peace Polytechnich, Abak – Akwa Ibom State