Contact: +2348020511372 Grassroot Reporters | Nigeria's No. 1 Online Newspaper: Opinion

Grassroot Reporters | Nigeria's No. 1 Online Newspaper

Nigeria's No. 1 News Portal


Showing posts with label Opinion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Opinion. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

March 29, 2022

Balancing The Perspectives; Party, Politics & Leadership


By Ubi, Israel Omori

In Nigeria, these have become a longstanding challenge affecting all levels of government in our country right from the local, state and federal.

It's important, I buttress the fact that belonging or being a member of a political party doesn't in any way describe your idiosyncrasies, virtues, morals and values. Individuals only and would always choose to be partisan because they need to understudy and understand the dynamics of politicking in their respective society. A party is a platform or vehicle to accomplishing one's future political ambition. It necessarily may not or may come with financial benefits in the short run but rather should be seen as an ample opportunity to build self; promote personal development, capacity, and leadership skills.

Furthermore you can't intend leading your people in the political space without party affiliation and hence the need for party membership of your choice. Let's endeavor to declutter the mindset of he's this and that because he/she belongs to the APC or PDP. And whatever reason that would sprouts out hatred and resentment against your fellow human because of party lines should be totally discarded as this is unhealthy to our society aswell as humanity. Without a party, an individual can't stand to contest and win an election, and it's left to the choice of the said person to associate or affiliate with a party inorder to actualize his/her ambition; therefore, this fact is "irrefutably backed by the Nigerian constitution" which provides the right, freedom and eligibility to every individual vying for an elective position of leadership. Thus, this should be seen as the reason for sundry party divides in our political terrain. Without party differences, no opposition, and without opposition, no competition for power, and without competition for power, no concerted efforts towards quality leadership. So all these work interwovenly.

Every human is a political animal, these are the words of "The Great Aristotle".

According to oxford English dictionary, politics are the activities involved in getting and using power in public life, and being able to influence decisions that affect a country or society. Going by the categories of politics, we have the party politics, local politics, to mention but a few. Party politics is simply the activities involved in getting and using power and being able to influence decisions that affect the party including it status quo and structure.

Whereas, local politics are carried out within our local confines like family, church, school and community.

Whatever the definition and categorization given to it, thus, it's sacrosanct that politics need to be played with the fear of God and the right counsel from statemen and elders. Through the game of politics leaders at different levels emerge at various seasons and times. Leaders must perceive politics as not to be a do or die affair, let's be our brothers keeper created by God in His own image.

Let's play politics with the mindset that one day we will also return and reside among and interact with those we have led. Politics birth good leaders and good leadership when played with a positive and selfless mindset. To make impacts and changes in our society, we must indulge in the game of politics to seize power and authority as this is the only way to implement whatever manifestos, plans, and intended actions. On this note, let's see politics as a gateway to good and quality leadership.

Good leadership qualities is on the decline in this clime due to lack of enlightenment, exposure and illumination. Leadership is a call to duty, responsibility and service. You're not there as an occupant, you are there to solve problems. And to get all these right, we must place a clear dichotomy between politics and leadership. Politics ends at the poll/voting ground (i.e at the election) while true leadership comes after politics, and these two cannot go together or else it would create a pandemonium in our society and among those we are leading.

However, leadership is a critical aspect of development and progress of a nation and should be prioritize as product of pure politics. Accordingly, leadership has been seen by some individuals or class as an opportunity to oppress, intimidate, and witch-hunting of the opposition and those perceived as enemies. This unfortunate circumstance has plagued our nation in all sectors and spheres of life giving rise to corruption, ethnic marginalization, inequality, injustice, unfairness, unwarranted agitation and political annihilation. Leadership is so critical in determining the collectiveness, cohesion, unity and peace of a nation: and that's why it crucial that during politicking they people should be careful enough to scrutinize and evaluate those desiring to helm the affairs of any responsible society because it cost "an arm and a leg" if the nation should get it all wrong in the aspect of leadership.

Generally speaking, party, politics and leadership should be given a clear dichotomy and perspective as they trio cannot be blend together so far as development, peace and progress of a nation is concerned. To get it right in our system, we must have a balanced perspective of party affiliation, politics and leadership so that our country can move forward and achieve her laudable desires. And if these are rightly put in place then we are not far at arriving the El dorado.

Ubi, Israel Omori writes from Calabar, Cross River State

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

March 01, 2022

Hon. Bobby Ekpenyong, An Exceptional Leader


Many people may wonder how an exceptional leader is being characterized. It was Aristotle who ones opined that any meaningful discussion must begin with a definition and so we must first define the term exceptional before looking at what exceptional leadership is. "Better than average: superb," according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary online (2010). When we combine the words exceptional and leader, we get a person who is not only dominating and influential, but also goes above and beyond what is expected of a leader. As a result, an exceptional leader will not only display many of the qualities of an average leader, but will also develop additional attributes that will distinguish them as exceptional.

Several researchers have researched and established leadership styles that highlight crucial leadership attributes. Laissez-faire, autocratic, participatory, situational, emergent, transactional, transformational, strategic, team, and facilitative leadership are among these types. Despite the fact that these leadership styles are distinctive and include admirable qualities, many of them fall short of being classified as exceptional leadership styles due to a lack of exceptional leadership attributes.

Only one leadership style demonstrates the qualities that distinguish it as outstanding. The transformational leadership style is a type of leadership that demonstrates remarkable leadership qualities. Helping followers look beyond their own self-interests, moral and ethical integrity, setting goals and communicating a clear vision, and empowering followers are all attributes that distinguish a transformational leader.

Through intellectual stimulation, the transformational leader seeks to empower their people. This stimulation is frequently achieved by empowering and intellectually challenging followers to take charge(Riggio & Orr, 2004, p. 51).

A transformational leader pushes his or her people to be more creative and solve difficulties on their own. The transformational leader assists the follower in developing their leadership skills through the empowerment process. The goal of the transformational leader and follower relationship is for the follower to eventually become the leader.

Transformational leaders recognize each of their follower’s cognitive abilities and they try to develop those abilities through added responsibilities. The follower recognizes the added responsibility as being a valued part of the team. Allowing the follower to develop their self-esteem and defining their place in certain ways that will not only enrich the follower but make them transformational leaders as well. 

Bobby Ekpenyong, the Director General of Cross River State Waterways Agency is a prime example of a Transformational LEADER. He has his eyes set on changing the narratives, doing the unusual thing to achieve an unusual result in an unusual manner to usher in an unusual progress that promotes humanity.

Hon. Bobby has shown tact in his dealings in all the positions he has handled including the one he is currently doing exploits at. He is one person that doesn't believe in stagnation or impossibilities, he goes all out to make sure things are done the way they should and in record time.

Hon. Bobby is a man to beat when it comes to achieving set goals and setting standards for others to follow.

A stand for Hon. Bobby Effiom is a stand for non-negotiable progress, a stand for unmatched transformation and unlimited expansion.

Atah Kekong

Media consultant and DG New Era Political Movement

Cross River State Chapter

Friday, February 4, 2022

February 04, 2022

Senator Gershom Bassey's World Cancer Day Message



Today, we are reminded of those among us who are currently battling with Cancer.

Those who are still trying to grasp the implications of the report of their condition. Those currently undergoing treatment and those who are suddenly battling finances due to the financial implications of Cancer Care.

As the world moves races against time in the war against cancer, we as a people must rally round and encourage ourselves. We must begin to innovate and chart productive ways to close the care gap.

We need to provide access to screening and early diagnosis. We need to educate our people, and send the messages across to the rural areas.

We need to implement programs to reduce the burden of cancer treatment and to make those treatment options accessible.

This is the responsibility of government. It is part of our social contract. It is one I am committed to in the Cross River State that I plan to build. 

The burden of cancer, is not only felt by the bearer, the imminent financial cost is borne by those in the entire community; family, friends, colleagues, neighbours etc. Nursing attending to relatives chronic medical ailment would affect our able workforce, and so we all still bear the consequences. Government cannot continue to look away.

Other countries are workiing and building facilities and research laboratories to address the crisis. We must engage the healthcare force in the state, we just engage all stakeholders to build a policy paper and do more than just lip service if we are going to win this war against Cancer.

~ Senator Gershom Bassey

Monday, January 31, 2022

January 31, 2022

DUKE-GATE: Insights into how Distribution Of NDDC Annual Rice Palliative Went Rogue


Given the magnitude of misrepresentation of government intention, it is important that a possible explanation be advanced to explain what really went wrong with the rice palliative meant for youth, women and the disabled of Cross River South.

To begin with the phrasal expression ‘go rogue’ which implies ‘to begin to behave in an independent or uncontrolled way that is not authorised, normal, or expected’, perfectly represents what and why it went wrong with the distribution of NDDC annual rice palliative programme especially in Cross River South under the supervisorship of Rt. Hon. Orok Duke.

Firstly, the Cross River co-supervisor, namely, Duke didn't respect the official guidelines for the distribution of the rice palliative which officially stated that the disbursement should be to youth, women and the disabled of Cross River South. There are evidence which suggests that Duke also distributed the rice palliative to political parties most especially the Chapter EXCO of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC in the senatorial district and probably the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. He did this in 2020. 2021’s would be an unfortunate repetition.

So, the rice palliative programme which nobly aimed at ameliorating the negative economic effects of COVID-19 pandemic on Nigerians across the nine Niger Delta states was politicised in the Southern Senatorial District, SSD by its co-supervisor. This abuse led to the controversy which would then surround the entire distribution in the said senatorial district.

Secondly, it is perceived that Duke personalised the entire distribution. By personalisation it is meant, by his body language, he created the impression that he was solely responsible for the eventual distribution of the NDDC rice palliative to Cross Riverians. This would colour how he then went about distributing it against a clearly stated guidelines. When confronted by critics why he did not stick to the official guidelines, the co-supervisor alleged that he was not aware of any such regulations.

Again, in his defense and as a ploy to deflect accusations for his scandalous handling of the rice distribution in the Southern Senatorial district of the state, Duke claimed that he deserved to be praised because he single-handedly forced the rice to be shared to the people this year after over twenty two years when the project kick-started. For Duke to have alleged that NDDC have been releasing rice annually for twenty two years to be distributed to the people but the funds cornered and shared by the staff and Commissioners of the organization in the past is lame, false, misleading and unfortunate. Simply, would he have Cross Riverian believe that Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw, Hon (Ntufam) Ekpo Okon, Hon. Paul Adah and Chief Sylvester Henshaw, who were all at one time or the other Commissioners of NDDC representing the state were enmeshed in such corrupt practices? Obviously, Duke's claim stands logic on its head.

It is safe to depose therefore that Duke in the handling of the distribution of the NDDC Annual Rice Palliative especially for 2021 targeted scoring cheap political points for his personal and/or unilateral advantage to the detriment of the overall objectives of the President of the Federal Republic, the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, and the Interim Administrator of the NDDC who may have thought about the wellbeing of Cross Riverians in the south.

So, it is important that the NDDC reconsiders its modalities in the distribution of the annual Rice palliative: politicians should not be responsible for the disbursement but a committee of technocrats to share it to every Cross Riverian dispassionately.

Benjamin F. Ojong writes from Cross River Central

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

January 19, 2022

Arthur Jarvis 2023: The Future And What It Holds


Sir. Arthur Jarvis Archibong

Courtesy: Fresh Air Media

It is no news that the 21years democracy of Nigeria has yielded relatively little fruit in the face of the 61years independence we often make boast, on the other hand, our 34years old Cross River State, has experienced about 16 different administrators and governors, who have in their diverse capacities contributed their quota to the development of our dear state, thus the status quo.

The big question now before us is, Who Is Most Fit To Take The Baton Of Governorship Come 2023?

It is worthy to appropriately take cognizance of the current placement of our state on federal allocation list, the over 3.5million population to be catered for, including the thousands of students studying within our borders, human resources, development so far and the anticipated projections.

According to Frantz Fanon, "The future will never forgive those, who possess the exceptional quality of speaking the words of truth to the oppressors, but rather take mute, passivity and sometimes of cold simplicity".

It would be a blatant disregard of facts and relatively a bane of our tomorrow should we feign ignorance of who is best equipped to transform our story to glory, following the testimonies of antecedents.

Recycling leadership mediocrity have hitherto been one of our biggest challenges as this act ousts the slimmest possiblities of, new ideas, new visions and new prospects in our State.

In deciding 2023, ardent attention should be given to yesterday's opinions as regards development, investments, human resources, accessibility and above all disposition to humanity, traits that are very synonymous with and inundates the actions of Sir. Arthur Jarvis Archibong.

Irrefutably, following his actions, trend of activities, affinity for his state's development, investments, and his success in the private sector, one needs no further conviction to recognize his potentiality of advancing our state.

 If attention be given to the pace at which the prestigious Arthur Jarvis University is growing, fast enough to make the list as one of the fastest growing Private varsities in Nigeria, then one could easily deduce the success acceleration pace of Sir. Arthur Jarvis Archibong; he has beyond reasonable doubt, in almost every aspect of life been a great gain to Cross River State, even as a private individual, who has never held a political office but has been given to all these giant stride achievements via personal fundings.

Who would be more worthy of trust, than a man who has early in time given his personal earnings, energy to the improvement of the state and the people therein.

I commit you therefore to your thoughts and desires for a better tomorrow, you have a chance at rescuing tomorrow or would you again take mute, passivity or tow the path of cold simplicity?

Eleanor Roosevelt said, "The future belongs to those who believe in the power of their dreams".

Fresh Air is the earnest panacea for Cross River State, come 2023.

Think Sir. Arthur Javis Archibong

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

January 12, 2022

Sir. Arthur Jarvis Archibong: Governorship, For Us Or For The People


Sir. Arthur Jarvis Archibong

Courtesy: Fresh Air Media

Most often than not, political offices have been manned to the bane of the people, leaving behind the ill impression that any nursed interest of governing is targeted at self enrichment to the lucullan detriment of the people.

Regrettably doleful it truly is that this assertion cannot be wholesomely debunked as falsehood, seeing how ravenous and covetous many politicians become upon ascendance to office, howbeit! It would be a gross injustice to the crop of genuine and good hearted leaders and individuals, who are propelled by their zest to effect a positive change in the system and possibly change the status quo to hastily generalize them in the ill set.


 If tandems are traced to the quiet and subvocal dealings of Sir. Arthur Jarvis Archibong, in the private sector, his common decisions and choices and how they affect his environment, immediate world and the people, one would need no much ado to gain appropriate cognizance of his disposition.

Worthy of note is the fact that, indices to good leadership transcends the margins of manifestos, lavish giftings and expenditures in the wake of an election and promises made on celebrated political and campaign platforms. 

The erstwhile lifestyle of an individual before the declaration of interest and or the ascension to a political office should be the barometer upon which his disposition, paradigm of leadership and possibly the quality of his person should be measured.

Sir. Arthur Jarvis Archibong, amongst his contemporaries stands today as the highest private employer of labour and his developmental strides surpasses the records of many who have had the luxury of federal allocations and the statutory responsibility to develop their states or constituencies.

Without any deliberate attempt to appraise his contributions to the society, an act he sees as his compulsory social responsibility, i cannot sweep under the carpet or dare negate to reconsider the intention behind his concentrative investment in education, but following the words of Nelson Mandela "Education is the most powerful tool which you can use to change the world", this intention is therefore brought to the fore.

Sir. Arthur Jarvis Archibong, has from aeons been a selfless and empathetic individual, one who seldom attends to issues affecting himself as against his dedication to the welfare of others, it is upon this background that the decision to run the 2023 gubernatorial race of Cross River State is premised.

I urge all Cross Riverians therefore, to look beyond the lavish expenditures of political elites who have over the years amassed wealth from public funds for themselves, whisk away from the whims and caprices of these politicians, who have mastered the art of deception and the tricks of vote buying.

We have the future of Cross River in our hands come 2023, we can either restore the state to glory or bury it in damnation.

A Vote for Sir. Arthur Jarvis Archibong, is a Vote for a New Beginning.

Truly, Cross Riverians need a "Breath of Fresh Air".

Sunday, January 9, 2022

January 09, 2022

Sir. Arthur Jarvis Archibong: Sober Reflections Of An Altruist Leader

Sir Arthur Jarvis Archibong

When I listen to "strong voices", made strong by the circumstance of political positions, positions made possible by happenstance, i marvel at the arrogance of education, political education. 

A man's success is measured by his capacity to conceed opportunities, its like returning to its owner, millions of found Naira.

 Our politics is woven with activities characterized by artful and often dishonest practices, even the dictionary agrees with this.

 We recycle incompetence, adore the oppressors, romance with secrecies, jettison our development, our growth, our children's hopes. Infact as drummers, we join the dance of the macabre. 

Why do we hate ourselves so much and allow the vultures feed on our heads?

It's been eight years already, eight years of what???, yet we journey again, like F1 drivers, exposing our wealth of poverty, collecting gifts, loaves of coloured bread, specially baked to even enslave our leaders, to chain our children's hands and their TOMORROW...

Sir. Arthur Jarvis Archibong

Sunday, November 7, 2021

November 07, 2021

Zoning and Rotation in Cross River State: My Perspective BY ARC. BASSEY EYO-NDEM


Another electoral cycle has started and, as usual, politicians and their supporters have started jostling for positions and narratives that will favour them in the coming months. One hot topic in Cross River State is the principle of Zoning and Rotation of political offices among its various components. While some are clamouring for sequential rotation of the office of governor, others feel otherwise and both sides are marshaling their arguments accordingly. The truth, however, is immutable and timeless. It can be ignored, covered up with sophistry and battered, but in the end, it remains the ever-shining light that leads discerning men and women to understanding and freedom. I, therefore, wish to lend my opinion, respectfully, to the ongoing discussions as follows.


Cross River State currently has 3 senatorial districts. Southern Senatorial District(S), Central Senatorial District (C), and Northern Senatorial District (N).

1. In 1999, the Zoning or Rotation of the office of Governor was still at a nascent stage. HE Donald Duke (S) and Kanu Agabi (N) contested in the PDP gubernatorial Primaries. In APP Eyo Etim Nyong (S) and Mark Ukpo (N) contested in APP primaries.

2. In 2003, Duke (S) contested against Okpa (C) his former Deputy and a few others from the north.

3. In 2007, HELiyel Imoke (C) contested against Walter Eneji (N) in the primaries and eventually went against Eyo Etim Nyong (S) in the general election.

4. In 2012 the idea and practice of rotation and zoning had deepened. HE Liyel Imoke (C) contested against Soni Abang(C) in the PDP primaries and eventually contested against UsaniU Usani (C) in the general election.

5. In 2015, the PDP primaries had 24 aspirants all from the north. APC followed suit and there were 3 main aspirants, all from the north as well. Eventually, in the general election, it was an all Northerner's affair with HE Ben Ayade (N) defeating Odey Ochicha (N) and becoming Governor.

6. In 2019 PDP maintained zoning and the incumbent had to contend with a fellow Northerner, Emmanuel Ibeshi, who was later said to have been disqualified. APC, however, argued that 2nd term was not an automatic right and should be based on performance. They appear to have jettisoned zoning and fielded Hon Owan Enoh (C).

However, where the leadership of any of the political parties failed to capture the mood of the people, the masses made their position clear on the field, in support of equity and rotation (8 years for each Zone).

Unlike what happened in 1999, when the zoning arrangement was at best an experiment or at a nascent stage, in 2019 the masses rejected their own tribesmen in the South and Central senatorial districts, on the basis of zoning, equity and justice, and voted massively for the Northern incumbent.


1. Zoning is currently being practiced from Ward level to LGA to State and Federal levels.

2. It discourages the use of tribalism as a means to becoming Governor and allows for the orderly transfer of that office from one senatorial district to another.

3. It discourages domination by the majority tribe or district, by forcing them to give up power from time to time. This is very important in a multiethnic democratic society with weak institutions, as it allows minorities have their say and even their way.

4. It encourages all Cross Riverians to see themselves as one entity with a common destiny when a strong district willingly agrees to forgo its constitutional right to contest for a particular office, in order to support their smaller neighbor.

5. It encourages even development across all parts of the state. No part is allowed to dominate economically or politically in perpetuity.

6. Under zoning, the greatest critics of any incumbent governor are usually people from his own ethnic stock/district who feel he is representing the best they have to offer, and he or she must not disgrace them

7. It reduces violence and the cost of elections by making it unnecessary for politicians to form and arm ethnic militias to tackle their opponents.

9. It reduces corruption by making it difficult for moneybags from any other district or state to hijack or compromise the system against the flow of equity and natural justice.

10. Finally, Zoning creates room for the youth to grow and gather experience, so that when it is the turn of their district, they are ready to take up the mantle of leadership in a smooth, inexpensive and non-violent manner.

Because of the foregoing:

1. No senatorial district can take the Governorship entirely on its own and in perpetuity

2.With Zoning in place, the other senatorial districts are expected to urge their indigenes to give

up their constitutional right to contest, and await their turn, as has been done in the past

3. Voting demographics are dynamic and a large proportion of young Cross Riverian’s have come of age and are not ready to be fooled by those who seek to play tribal politics for their

personal interest while mortgaging the political future of the youth

As such:

1. The Senatorial district whose turn it is to occupy the office of Governor has to put forward its best materials in order to reinforce and build confidence in the zoning arrangement

2. The biggest fears of the other senatorial districts are marginalization, and lack of even development. However, developing one senatorial district and neglecting others is a recipe for failure because no Governor is elected to be the governor of his senatorial district only.

3. It is bad for the State in general when any part begins to feel marginalized. The way the Donald Duke/Liyel Imoke administrations handled fears of marginalization in the North by ensuring even development across all senatorial districts and eventually ceding power to them, when they could have done otherwise, in what looked like a one-party state/family is instructive. That practice has been continued by the Ben Ayade administration and should be sustained.

4. Every senatorial district must curb the antics of fiery demagogues with irredentist rhetoric’s or moneybags who feel they can buy peoples conscience and divide Cross River State into tribal lines, for their selfish interest.

5. There are 60 distinct languages spoken in Cross River State according to the encyclopedia Britannica. Senatorial districts are, therefore, artificial boundaries created for administrative convenience, and the common man in Akpabuyo is as much a victim of bad politics or rogue local government revenue agents as the common man in Obanliku or Obubra.


Although zoning /power rotation is not enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution and is a privilege or “gentleman’s agreement” which is not an enforceable right, it has nevertheless become a convention in our political life.

In the case of Cross River State, there was no signed and published document to record the letter and spirit of the preceding meeting and discussions that took place in 2014, unlike the Calabar /Ogoja Accord of 1979/80.

The decision to cede power to the North was arrived at with a spirit of give and take, and in keeping faith with the reality of fairness and equity. At that expanded Caucus meeting of the main Political party at the time (PDP), the South made a proviso that since they were being asked to shelve their right to contest the office of Governor for 16 years, power should rotate sequentially to them at the end of the North’s sojourn. It was unanimously endorsed and all the southern contenders had to drop their ambition immediately and support the northern ones. The main opposition at the time (APC) followed suit.

Subsequently, the South rejected attempts to lure them to support efforts to impeach the incumbent as they knew this was unfair and would bring chaos to the zoning arrangement.

On November 10th, 2018, the Northern Senatorial district came together and engaged the Southern Senatorial district in a brilliant and very mature display of non-partisan political sagacity. On that historic day,19 Northern stakeholders, including Chief Linus Okom (of blessed memory), the Ada

Bekwara, Chief JIC Igbe, Mike Aniah, Madam Theresa Ezama, etc and led by Brigadier General Anthony Ukpo (of blessed memory), met with 23 Southern stakeholders including (Arc) B Ndem, Amb. Nkoyo Toyo, HRM Etim Okon Edet, Chief Gershom Davis, Prof Stella Atoe, Mba Ukweni (SAN) etc in the grand residence of Etinyin Asuquo Ekpenyong.

Although they had the power of incumbency in their zone, the Northern Senatorial District still felt it was imperative to appeal to the South to support their quest for power to remain in the North for the agreed 8year term, after which the governorship would return to the South and start a new cycle of rotation. After a lot of deliberations, the South agreed, once again, to forego its right to contest and reiterated the proviso that the North would support the South in 2023. Again, it was unanimously agreed and the communique that was issued at the end of that meeting effectively broke the back of agitation and the rest is history. One good turn certainly deserves another.

It is not surprising, however, that today, many are bringing up specious arguments like “zoning by elimination, or “all zones have had a go so it can start anywhere” to justify their attempt at advancing their selfish political interests. We must persuade such elements not to try to upset the applecart even if “all is fair in love and war”. For, it may favor them today but be a regrettable move for their youth, who are growing, and would be ready to smoothly take up the mantle of leadership in a few years, but have to pay for the sins of their fathers’ betrayal.

Sadly, you will always find a Judas who is ready to sacrifice his or her Senatorial District for their selfish interests. This must be discouraged and condemned with the strongest terms. Indeed, all the fiery rhetoric should be reserved for those who work against the state’s overall interest.

Zoning and sequential Rotation of political offices, from ward to federal level, ensures that no single group monopolizes any office and further guarantees the rights of minorities to ascend to the highest office.

The onus is now on all the political parties to ensure that the senatorial district, whose turn it is to occupy an office, puts forward its very best materials for the rest of the state to elect and rally around. After all, the policies and actions of whoever is elected will affect all of us and not only members of his Senatorial District or political party.

The Good Book says it all in Proverbs 27: 2,7- “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked rule, the people mourn...The righteous considers the cause of the poor: but the wicked pretends not to know it”.

May we all be guided by our consciences and what is in the best interest of the growth and peaceful coexistence of our dear Cross River State.

Arc Bassey Eyo-Ndem

Saturday, October 9, 2021

October 09, 2021



Vincent Effiong

[email protected]

The issue of zoning political offices within the respective political parties has generated so much furor in Cross River State recently, that an x-ray into our political journey and peculiarities have become imperative and abundantly necessary.

Aside the component units that make up our political system, ethnic affiliations play major realistic roles in the Nigerian society such that its significance transcends into our individual political culture. This reality has equally necessitated the "Federal Character" principle enshrined in the Nigerian constitution - where every segment of the country must be represented in governance. Accordingly, any individual challenging a zoning/rotation arrangement is effectively opposing the coexistence of the society he finds himself; such would have to establish a constitutional ground that supports his/her subscription to political hegemony. The zoning of political offices has  been upheld in our national politics over the past two decades of democratic era, especially in the legislature and the executive arms, with a reasonable relation between the end sought to be achieved by the regulation and the means used to achieve that end. 

The system of zoning was first introduced into Nigerian politics by the National Party of Nigeria in the Second Republic. The nexus of this development rested on the heterogeneous nature of the Nigerian State. NPN thought of developing the concept and to assure every member and every segment of Nigeria that the exotic office of the president would one day come to their area or zone. And this is the reason all political conferences that took place after NPN, the idea of zoning kept coming up in such conferences and have been adopted by some conferences as a provision in the Nigerian Constitution. Under (Gen.) Sani Abacha’s constitutional conference, 1994/1995, it was recommended and the military accepted that zoning should be incorporated into the constitution of Nigeria. Since 1999, all the federating units have benefitted from the rotational politics - presidency and principal offices within the National Assembly.


Before the emergence of democratic era in 1999, two districts out of the old Cross River had developed a working document known as the  “Calabar-Ogoja Accord of 1980” for an equitable allocation of values across the two Senatorial Districts of Calabar and Ogoja. Much have been said about the application of the Calabar-Ogoja Accord to the present political permutations of the State, both from the supportive and opposing ends. While a few elites from the Southern Senatorial District of the State take bearing from the provisions of the accord, others from the Central Senatorial District question its application, pointing to its obsoleteness, which rests on the fact that “signatories to the accord are dead, so the accord is dead”.

Can we also say the Nigerian Constitution is dead, based on the fact that some of those who drafted the constitution have passed on? Whether we argue for or against, either which, we must recognise the fundamental elements upon which the accord was based and the set of people it was made for:

1. The Accord was made by/for the people of Ogoja-Calabar Senatorial districts.

2. The sharing formula was basically for the two senatorial districts.

3. The territory that consisted the Ogoja-Calabar Districts hasn’t changed - same people formed the present day Cross River State. 


The addition of new extra senatorial district to the existing two districts during the state creation to make the present day Cross River State. Notably, THE NEW SENATORIAL DISTRICT WAS CREATED OUT OF BOTH OGOJA AND CALABAR. Logically, it would not be out of place to conclude that nothing has changed; this, therefore reveals the arrogance and rudeness in referring to the Accord as an obsolete material that should be cast to the bins of history.  Until an alternate document is made, the Calabar Ogoja Accord remains a useful document to reflect on our political history and the imperatives of coexistence.

Fast-forwarding to 2015, it was this same principle of zoning and rotation that saw the emergence of Sen. Ben Ayade of the Northern Senatorial District as the Governor of Cross River State. Why is the arrangement raising dust now that it is the turn of the South to produce the next Governor? Our neighbouring state, that ought to have been learning from us are already ahead in this peaceful arrangement. Equitable rotation of power has become their political culture. From 1999, the zoning arrangement started from the Uyo Senatorial District to Ikot Ekpene, succeeded by Eket; and everyone is already keeping an eye on Uyo Senatorial District to produce the next Governor in Akwa Ibom State, come 2023.

Zoning is not excessively restrictive; it is only a means of ensuring every Senatorial District have a fair share in government. There is no senatorial district in Cross River State bereft of a credible candidate for the governorship seat, why would one think zoning will bury meritocracy? We have coexisted through this path of peace. True peace is not merely the absence of war, it is the presence of justice. And we must tow the path of equity and justice. Opposing this fundamental principle with stream of logicality questions our conscience, and of course, knowledge which is divorced from justice may be called cunning rather than wisdom.

While others are utterly against zoning, some believe the rotation can begin from anywhere, haven gone round the three senatorial districts. From all justifiable moralities, such notion is heresy expressed in the most infelicitous amalgam. Should the next Governor come from the Northern Senatorial District who has just completed two term? Supposed a chorus NO serves the response, what would then make it an open contest if the northern senatorial district is excluded from the race? By 2023, Southern Senatorial District would have been out of power for 16 years – four years away from two decades, while the Central District would have reached 8 years by the same year. The elements of democratic zoning vis-à-vis; peace, equity, unity, political stability and justice have positive and significant effects on the growth of our dear State, we must not sacrifice this for our personal interest. 

Cross River South comprises 7 Local Government Areas – the highest in the State. Aside this, two Local Government Councils serve  as the State’s capital and seat of Government; it will be a gross injustice to deny the senatorial district her turn in the power rotation.

Summarily, the nation at large is going through trying times in our political history, with embarrassing records of unrest glaringly attributed to marginalisation, unjustifiable form of distribution of wealth and income across geo-political strata. It is against this backdrop that all federating components must pursue justice and equity to forestall tensions and deleterious tendencies. The heinous move by some elements to deny the Southern Senatorial District a fair share of the power pie MUST be opposed by every well meaning Cross Riverian. CROSS RIVER STATE IS NOT A THEATRE OF POLITICAL COMBAT, SAD SPECTACLES AND INJUSTICE MUST NOT DEFACE OUR REALITIES: LET THE SOUTH TAKE HER TURN!

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

August 03, 2021

OpED: Political Metamorphosis Of Cross River State & The Gains Of "Centre Socketing" BY VINCENT EFFIONG

 By Vincent Effiong

APC, Eki Ward

[email protected]

Few months ago, the Governor of Cross River State, His Excellency, Sen. Prof. Sir Ben Ayade made an episcopalian departure from the cataclysmic People’s Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress – a party whose modus operandi derives from global democratic practices. To many, this classical departure didn’t come as a surprise, as the Governor consistently had a top-level romance with the progressive fold from his day-1 in Peregrino House. 

The tsunami of nationwide defection greeting the opposition PDP on a daily basis is only but a reflection of ideological decadence and obsoleteness of their operationalism. It is evidently difficult for one to perform under this nature state. This explains why a former Governor of the State left the party he co-founded to seek for Presidential nomination elsewhere in the 2019 general elections. To him, no one can ever perform as a Governor or President under the People’s Democratic Party’s structural collapse, insensitivity and ludicrous propensities. His recent reunion hasn’t changed this status quo anyways.

In real sense, contemporary societies and political settings are patterned by sets of objectives, definite views, ideas, conceptions and notions. These views define the structural functionality of such political system, with deliberate aim of constant development of the people and economy. Sadly, this has not been the case of PDP past years in power. The party is practically a fountain of  narrow-mindedness and unthinkable conformity that crushes the originality of an individual’s positive adherent. In this straits, lives of millions can be oppressed, distorted or lost by such political  movement driven by nepotistic hegemonism.

As a people, we have gone through political phases and has finally metamorphosed into a PROGRESSIVE FOLD. We are only two months in power, yet, we have launched the latest Airline in the country with an affordable flight fee - the cheapest in the country. Indeed, Ayade has shown Nigerians love. The economic implication of this magnificent investment cannot be overemphasized, it has not only created jobs for Cross River Youths, but has boosted our Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) by a reasonable percent. While it may be true that States and regions can run successfully without necessarily “socketting to the centre” (aligning with the party of federal government), it is also UNARGUABLE that State actors will do less while on a political platform outrightly not in sync with LIBERAL DEMOCRACY and PROGRESSIVE VALUES. 

The Governor, His Excellency, Sir Ben has found political peace within the PROGRESSIVE fold. It is gratifying to note that within a very short while, his people-oriented policies and programmes hitherto hindered as a result of political unrest in his former fold have seen the light of the day in APC. We are gradually making progress, and the State is putting up a new look. The Deep sea port is gaining more concern from the Federal government, the paper work for rail construction is ongoing. The Calabar Itu road work is in progress. To achieve the CROSS RIVER of our dream, we ALL MUST BE PROGRESSIVE MINDED.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

June 23, 2021

OpED: 2023 Governorship: APC & Southern Senatorial District Owe Cross River The Best BY VINCENT EFFIONG


 “2023 is the turn of the South, and that was the commitment I gave. I will use every fiber in me to ensure the next governor comes from the Southern Senatorial District. Fairness is fairness, equity is equity. I have preached equity, so it is my turn to do equity”.. *H/E, Sen. Benedict Ayade, 2019*_.


Going by this position, I will narrow my argument to the choices where the governorship position has been zoned to, by virtue of justice and equity.

Cross River is one the least beneficiaries in terms of federal government allocation. This is not unconnected with the ceding of the oil rich Bakassi to Cameroon by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and the subsequent lost of 76 oil wells to our neighbouring State through a supreme court ruling. Undoubtedly, the deleterious effect of this on our economy cannot be overemphasized. It has not only retarded infrastructural/industrial development of the State, but had also, within the past years, posed untold hardship on the people both in the rural and urban centres.  

Going further, the phenomenon of hardship and poverty has been identified as one of the increasing social challenges linked to a number of social problems including street crime, substance abuse, internet fraud, armed robbery, ritual killings, kidnapping, and youth restiveness. It is widely argued that the youth is the locomotive of national development and contribute immensely to the sustenance of the developmental momentum of a nation; youths in Cross River are largely unemployed and redundant. The social consequences of this are enormous and can only be explained from the lens of our experiences.  Sadly, the federal allocation cannot tackle ALL our challenges. IT IS AGAINST THIS BACKDROP, THAT WE MUST SORT FOR AN EXPERIENCED HAND IN POLITICS AND ECONOMY FOR THE GOVERNORSHIP JOB. 

Many state governments including Cross River are eager to grow their internally generated revenue base through the diversification of economy, but seem largely unable to harness available opportunities to do so, reason mostly centred on administration’s policy direction. Many legitimate sources of revenue in the state remained untapped, while procedures for the collection, remittance and accountability for the ones exploited often fall short of expectations, giving room for avoidable leakages. It is assumed that when the internally generated revenue is low, the state is forced to apply most of its federation account allocation to service recurrent expenditure, whereas when the internally generated revenue is high, a greater percentage of the federation account will be used for capital expenditure. The diversification of our economy will correct the disparity between revenue and expenditure and reduce the attendant budget deficit, thereby giving a boost to all sectors of our economy.

AHEAD OF 2023, to consolidate on the gains of the present administration under the leadership of His Excellency, Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade, we need an experienced hand with “Strategic Framework” for ending poverty in Cross River State, topnotch entrepreneurship development, sound policies and programmes that will foster a paradigm shift from our present state. To achieve this, there must be a classical departure from the total dependency on federal allocation to a productive diversification of our economy through the exploration of other natural resources at our disposal. This will not be a hard nut to crack if we entrust this responsibility in the appropriate hand.

No economy can improve if the government remains the highest employer of labour. A developing economy is driven by an active private sector. Our preferred candidate must reflect one WHOSE CONNECTION, TRUST AND CONFIDENCE GO BEYOND STATE AND NATIONAL POLITICS, as this will pave way for a fruitful private sector investments. 

We must treat development as a mass movement in order to see that fruits of development reach the poor and the downtrodden. The biggest determinant in our lives is culture, where we are born, what the environment looks like. But the second biggest determinant is probably governance, good governance or a certain kind of governance makes a huge difference in our lives. It never depends upon laws, but upon the personal qualities of those who govern. The machinery of government is always subordinate to the will of those who administer that machinery. The most important elements of government, therefore, are those who drive the government.

Although many are yet to make public their interest in the governorship race, we are not oblivious of drivers of good governance. I therefore enjoin well meaning Cross Riverians to settle for an experienced and issue/development-driven governor to succeed His Excellency, Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade come 2023.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

April 21, 2021

OpEd: Back To South With Equity, Fairness, Capacity And Ethicals BY VINCENT EFFIONG

Equity and fairness (in practice) are two important concepts, which over the years have been an effective approach to the achievement of a symbiotic livelihood. Globally, modern societies have considered "evenly distribution of power and resources to be the panacea for sustainable development and maintenance of peaceful co-existence". This normative approach however, curtails social inequalities, economic and political crises, and of course, regional imbalances. We must escape from the theoretical trap of the subject that is typical of the nature state - selfishness and "war of all against all". This nature of greed and selfishness is the baseline against which to judge the justifiability of the conventional political formula of "CODE 888".

Understandably, the desire to preserve one's political world grows stronger by every political season, this personal desire often times do not reflect the interest of the larger society, thus, raising an avoidable dust. It therefore behoves on every political gladiator to retreat and have a sober reflection ahead of 2023 - putting Cross River first.  

Going further, if the blame for the alarming insecurity and political instability that has challenged our freedom of existence could be attributed to marginalisation, injustifiable form of distribution of wealth and income across geo-political strata in the country, then, it will not be undesired to explore the principle of fairness as the antidote for our obvious fiasco. The most scandalous result of this is the destruction of lives and properties - this, also, we can avoid.

Zoning system is widely argued to be an ideology for power-sharing arrangements and a mechanism for ethno-regional balancing, conflict mitigation and consensus formation in plural society like ours. Cross River, just like every other State in the Nigerian federation is characterised by potentials of human population and material resources in the best of quality, across the three senatorial districts, to play major roles in Nigerian and global politics. 

Ahead of 2023, it is no longer news, that there are rapacious agitations by disgruntled groups and individuals to disregard the conventional system of governorship rotation in the State. Let them be reminded that peace and unity is a key challenge in many societies. It is a key challenge in Nigeria with major divisions along class, linguistic, religious and ethnic lines. In the case of Nigeria, a sense of belonging or inclusion is vital to the country's survival. This is why the Constitution prescribes the Federal Character principle in Section 14. Federal Character is about inclusion of the six geopolitical zones in the allocation of political and public sector appointments including the office of the President. Cross Riverians should take a bearing from the inclusion policy laid out in our Constitution. This connotes a sort of rotation. Any argument against this, is a misconceived one. Presidential election is rotated between the South and the North. Why then should a few power-drunk exhibit tendencies that may challenge mutual peace, having enjoyed same for a period 10 years? The elites in this school of greed argue from the point of credibility and capacity. That, to me, is laughable and quite an invalid notion, as there is no senatorial district bereft of credible candidates that can effectively and efficiently lead the state through the path of development at any political time. The Southern Senatorial District had the governorship seat between 1999 to 2007, succeeded by a Central Senatorial District Liyel Imoke who governed between 2007-2015 and handed over to the North. It is commonsensical to understand that power should return to Cross River South - a people that have patiently  waited and supported past administrations for almost two decades now.

Let us all throw our weight to the most credible in the Southern Senatorial District for a greater Cross River.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

December 26, 2020

Engr. Ben Akak's 2020 Christmas Message Of Hope

Engr. Akak


I sent in a short piece yesterday morning, the 25th December, 2020 to you all in the spirit of the season of Christmas, but while ruminating over the litanies of event yesterday, I had this great urge and push share this piece with you which I christened, “2020 Message Of Hope”. In life we are always presented with two sides of the coin. Experiences in life has taught me to look at situation beyond the negative carriage associated with it.

As the curtain closes for 2020 which also mark the dawn of yet another year. It a time to cast a reflective look at our state, Cross River as charity as we know begins at home. As we reflect on our condition, we also glean into our future from our convoluted past and our stigmatized present.

We have been so heavily inundated with critical circumstances and with a devastating situation that only those with hearts of stone fail to acknowledge the obvious.

Aside from our depleted revenue from the Federal allocation, the odd seem to work against us as even the blind can see the intolerable squalor of the masses a sheer contrast to the elites.

For the generality of the people, 2020 came with ominous quiet of an unbearable angst, from the novel Covid-19 pandemic, the EndSars protest and the consequent looting and vandalism that followed, with the later been dominated and sustained by callousness and opportunism.

The net effect of all of these has seen a monumental waste in resources, a slide in social development and an enrichment of economic hardship. All of these has given birth to a new wave in social unrest and spurned new sophistry in the repression and elimination of dissent.

We cannot deny the truism that the past gave birth to the present existence of obscurity, insecurity and instability. We now have in our hands the audacious forms of kidnapping, armed robbery, youth delinquency, cultism, economic sabotage, unbridled immorality, economic stagnation, social disorientation, structural decay, institutionalized corruption and other sundry social vices.

Amidst these troubling situations, there is renewed hope that in the darkest tunnel, there is light at the end of it just the same way that we have a bright dawn after a protracted midnight. This is where the true believers must rise above the frustrations of the moment and continue to dream the dream of justice, reconciliation and peace. We must together fight against the onset of despair and rekindle our conviction for positivism and hope in the emerging year 2021.

We have reached a situation where we could be a lot worse off without hope and without God as our redemption today can no longer be in the hands of men but on God. As Cross Riverians and those resident here, we should know that with the unflattering and uncheering antecedents of our past, keeping hope alive becomes the imperative for a better tomorrow.

As we basked in the popular refrain of, “only God can save Cross River nay Nigeria”, we should also note that God cannot save Cross River without Cross Riverians. We need to reconcile ourselves to God as our reconciliation is not in the hands of men.

Our peace is not also in the hands of men but on God, hence we should not be driven into apathy or despondency but to seek solace in our creator who is the ultimate miracle worker.

We must seek God’s face and renew our hope in the God of the impossible who is capable of transforming our apparent state of helplessness and hopelessness.

Let’s abandon our individuality, our illusions, our social sins, our sordid past, our prejudices, our biases etc and make a firm resolve to be more accommodating, tolerant and inculcate the habit and spirit of sharing.

God bless you all

Monday, December 21, 2020

December 21, 2020

OpED: Engr Ben Akak: An Ivory Tower Of Charity BY VICTOR NDIFON

It is baffling to truly comprehend the Humanitarian crisis that has and is still bedevilling the whole World because of the surge of the New Corona Virus Pandemic.  We have witnessed the contraction of Major World Economies occasioned by phased lockdowns. This untoward situation has affected immensely the livelihoods of citizens of the World especially those at the lowest rung of the Economic ladder. 

Nigeria is already a very poor Country in terms of our Human Development Index which is pegged at low. This worrisome circumstance has been exacerbated by the Pandemic; ultimately leading to a Recession in our dear Country. The attendant effect of the aforesaid is evident in the economic turmoil and hardship faced by many Nigerians and Cross Riverians alike. 

It is in times like this that the greatest virtues of men are unlocked. These virtues are expressed in the humanitarian efforts of charitable individuals and Organisations to alleviate the sufferings of the poorest in our Country Nigeria and Cross River State. This fortunately is the hallmark of the phenomenon and the person Engr Ben Akak and his Foundation. 

Engr Ben Akak Foundation has elevated the generic mandate of the advancement of the Human Race to its peak.  This is made manifest because of the Foundation’s core objective of putting smiles on the faces of people  as  exemplified by the staunch  belief  of Engr Ben Akak that the primary purpose of people of influence in the Society is to better the lot of others .  

Little wonder, Engr Ben Akak Foundation has traversed the length and breadth of Cross River State providing succour to families, individuals and the poorest in our Communities. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum The Prime Minister of United Arab Emirates said in his book titled  “My Vision” that the principle that should govern those in positions of influence  is “the love of God and the love of the people” . This sums up the driving force and ideal of the Engr Ben Akak Foundation.  

The love of GOD (Yahweh) which cannot be relayed without the love of the people is the epicentre of the many humanitarian efforts of Engr Ben Akak as demonstrated by his Foundation.

*Victor Ndifon* _is a Media Consultant to Engr Ben Akak and his Foundation._

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

November 03, 2020

OpEd: He Never Listened BY CHIEF RAY MORPHY


1. I told him to concentrate on citizen-enhancing projects spread across the LGAs, he ignored, he never listened. 

2. I told him to forget his MoUs and concentrate on skill acquisition for our youth. I told him to use the Togolese model and the Indian model where they trained their youth and then export them as skilled-trained labor who will in turn repatriate Dollars and help boost the economy. He never listened.

3. I told him to forget those grandiose impossible projects such as super highway and concentrate on fixing and improving the rural road networks. He ignored, he never listened. 

4. I told him that our school standards were low! I told him to embark on a massive teacher recruitment and education upgrade program. He ignored, he never listened.

5. I told him to appoint experienced hands who would look him in the face and correct him. He didn’t want that, he knew all things. He never listened.

6. I told him to reduce the greed and the playing around. I told him that government was a serious business that requires thinking and thinkers, not just a food-on-the table approach. He ignored he never listened.

7. I told him that he will regret his approach to governance. I told him that the thing will rotten and smell in his hands and he will be cited as the worst governor ever. He ignored the sane free advice, he never listened. 

8. I told him to concentrate on projects such as roads and finish them before embarking on other ones. I told him it was wrong to scrape off existing roads and destroy people’s roadside shops when he had no intention of speedily doing the roads, of course he ignored. He never listened. 

9. I told him that our people needed rural hospitals and rural roads, boreholes and enhanced markets. I told him our people needed to be empowered through cooperatives. I told him to stop his obvious family-based nepotism since the entire state voted for him, the entire state should benefit from government. He ignored, he never listened. 

10. I told him not to abandon the nearly completed roads of the previous Liyel Imoke's administration, he ignored, he never listened!

Now he knows that I was right. And I am still right. What a wise gifted thinker sits down to see, a comic on a tall tree can never see it. 

Now you you know WHY I RESIGNED THAT APPOINTMENT! Today, I stand tall because I am vindicated! But I am saddened by the wasted years!

I am Chief Ray Morphy

Mgba Ntol, Njoram Mfan, Ovar Okan, Nkpume Utonkor! Shaman! 

Former Special Adviser to Gov Ben Ayade on Strategy and National Contact


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s)s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grassroot Reporters 

Saturday, October 31, 2020

October 31, 2020

OpEd: Value Re-Orientation: A Panacea to Moral Decadence BY EZINWANNE ONWUKA

Different schools of thought consider values to mean traits, practices, acts, ideals, beliefs, attitudes and principles that an individual, group or society acknowledge to be of merit, worthwhile, dear, acceptable and right. Values, therefore, are basic beliefs and attitudes in a society whether of individuals or groups which are considered worthwhile and serve as a guide to choices and behaviours in one's daily life. Values help to inform one on how he or she can conduct one’s life in a meaningful way. In other words, values are deep seated beliefs that influence people’s actions and behaviours. It is therefore essential that every individual, group and indeed the entire nation must have core values which serve as the driving engines for growth and development.

Our value system therefore is the sum total of our ideas and beliefs. It includes every opinion we hold about life. Each thing we like or dislike, and the importance each one has to us, merges to form our unique value system. Our value system develops through what we are taught and experience, combined with our reactions to them, forming our preferences and our unique perspective on life. Ultimately, every opinion we have in life is based on something in our value system.

Our actions are the first indicators to ourselves and others about the values we hold because the values that we live by are connected to what is most important to us. However, we can sometimes have other desires in our hearts that differ from our actions. To be completely at peace within ourselves, there must be conformity between our deepest values and how we actually live. That is, you must be committed to your deepest values and seek to live according to them. Otherwise, you will experience inner conflict because you have not determined which values are most important to you, and every choice you make will not flow from a firmly held belief about that area of life.

If we are honest with ourselves we’d mostly agree that all is not well with our nation and that the values we once held dear sadly belongs in another era. Where are values like honesty, integrity, good neighbourliness, religious tolerance etc. that once characterized our society? Whatever also happened to being our brother’s keeper? Today, we’ve grown so numb and we’re no longer shocked when people are slaughtered in a senseless terror campaign by some deranged individuals. As a result, we now have internally displaced people in Nigeria, yet we carry on as if all is well.

Once upon a time, Christians and Moslems mingled together celebrating Christmas and Salah, but today bigotry reigns supreme. We perpetuate the worst kinds of ethnic and religious chauvinism you could ever think of. Driven by greed and inordinate lust for the “good life,” we seek the shortest possible route to riches. We revere criminals and treasury looters as our “best of men” bestowing upon them honourary degrees, chieftaincy titles or even “purchase” election forms for them.

As I write, everything continues to go wrong as we forsake the values that ought to matter. Police officers still terrorise ordinary citizens, bankers still pilfer the life-savings of poor and struggling compatriots, hoodlums continue to run amok in communities, minority “lawmakers” ride roughshod over the majority, internet scammers and advanced fee fraudsters are still at their beats. What about armed robbers and kidnappers? They are all having a field day. The concept of equity has all disappeared from our lexicon, so is benevolence and the Rule of Law which permits no perception of justice except for the rich. 

Religious and ethnic sentiments have taken pre-eminence over brotherhood. Gone are the times when Nigerians were their brothers’ keepers, irrespective of tongue or creed; gone are the days when every adult member of society could instantly discipline any erring child to the happiness of the child’s parents. The traditional institutions on their own were faithful custodians of culture and moral values. Our music and folklore then had a good moral hold on the youths. Those were the days when Sallah and Christmas were celebrated together by both Muslims and Christians, be it in Kano, Onitsha or Lagos. This was the Nigeria of yesteryears before our slide into the current perfidy. 

The society has become characterized by high level of distrust and everybody has become a suspect of misplaced value. Immorality and lack of sanctity of life have increased as murder and kidnapping have become a daily occurrence. The malady of corruption has polluted the character and personality of every Nigerian. It is worrisome as well as regrettable that vices have taken the place of virtue in our society.

The crisis of value system in Nigeria suggests that the growth and progress of the society is being retarded in many aspects through outburst of materialistic tendencies. It is beyond doubt that materialism has taken over government, political institutions, invaded traditional and cultural institutions, while the church seems to be more materialistic than the secular society. The malady of value crisis has predicated Nigeria as open society in which anything goes. In Nigeria, we seem to be grabbing the worst and getting very little of the best from the rest of the world.

Value re-orientation is the best way to address the myriad of societal problems confronting the Nigerian society. The message of value re-orientation and social harmony should dominate our polluted psyche. By and large, the strength of a nation does not rest merely in its material or scientific achievements but it lies rather more in the moral qualities of the individuals and in the level of moral consciousness of the entire society. There is no doubt that our future really depends on how successful we are in fighting the orgy of negative values. Values are products of the mind which are manifested in behavioural patterns. The values of citizens on national issues is a two-edged sword capable of enhancing development or crippling it.

We cannot continue to sound like a broken record about our youth being leaders of tomorrow when we have not adequately invested in the all-important value re-orientation meant to inculcate in them good moral values while also purging them of all kinds of primordial sentiments of religious extremism and ethnic jingoism.

However, how ready are we as a family in preparing the child/youth to take over this responsibility of being leaders of tomorrow. Are parents now ready to question the source of the sudden wealth of their children who sometimes engage in armed robbery or Advanced Fee Fraud (419) and suddenly come home to exhibit stupendous wealth to the admiration and celebration of their parents? How prepared are our traditional institutions and religious leaders to stop the rampant and indiscriminate award of chieftaincy titles and religious honors to the people with questionable wealth? These are the issues and until they are tackled decisively, the fight against corruption in the polity, violence, drug abuse and other intolerable social vices will not be won.

Ezinwanne Onwuka writes from Cross River state, Nigeria. She is a Corp Member serving in Cross River state. She writes informative, creative and research-driven contents on topics about life, politics, religion and more. You can reach her on [email protected] and +2348164505628