It was time for yet another reminiscence Monday, as the immediate past governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke disclosed that persons including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who he served as Minister, never supported his bid to govern the state.
Imoke, who completed his two terms on Friday, May 29, 2015, while reviewing his eight-year tenure at an interaction with journalists, recalled how over 10 members of his executive cabinet came to him, soliciting his support for their ambition.
He also recalled approaching Obasanjo in whose administration he served as Minister of Power, to inform him that his people wants succeed then Governor Donald Duke and that on three times, he was turned down.
Imoke noted that how he finally got Obasanjo to say yes to his request “is a story for another day.”
According to him, that was why he became determined thereafter not to ever say no to anybody’s aspirations.
Continuing, he noted that during the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries in the state all who came to solicit or inform him of their aspiration were not turned down, adding that his experience “helped by creating a level down and allowing wide consultations which was an exciting experience to many.”
Before the latest revelation, there were insinuations in the former governor’s political camp that it was his predecessor- Donald Duke, that never wanted him as governor.
Also corroborating Imoke’s claim, James Aniyom, former Chief of Staff to Duke, who served as Commissioner for Agriculture under the Imoke administration, explained: “I want to state categorically that it was OBJ (ex-President Obasanjo) and some of the Ministers in the same Obasanjo cabinet that warned Donald (Duke) not to allow Imoke succeed him, because they felt he performed abysmally as Minister. I can name them and have told several people what transpired during this period. As Governor, Donald was confused since Liyel had told him severally that he was not interested in becoming Governor. The task was therefore for us to look for an alternative, but still work on convincing Liyel Imoke to run. This story can be confirmed from Alex Egbona and even Gershom Bassey, who is Liyel’s best friend now.
“I am happy that finally, Liyel was convinced to run and I, as Chief Staff provided all the logistics for Liyel’s election. I am surprise today that even those who were participants to all that transpired now pretend that it never happened. Unlike the paucity of funds recorded during Ayade’s (the new governor) campaign, Donald Duke ensured that Liyel Imoke’s campaign went on very well and was well funded,” he added.
Meanwhile, in what appears to be a sign of what is to come, new Cross River State governor, Senator Ben Ayade, on Monday locked out civil servants in the governor’s office who were not at their duty post as early as 8.am.
Accompanied by the State’s Head of Service, the governor who assumed duty on that Monday, his first day in office, directed that the gates be locked at 8.15am, as part of measures to restore discipline and ensure the civil service is result-oriented.
Governor Ayade said the action was to serve as deterrence to others, warning that all heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, must live up to their responsibilities by ensuring that civil servants acted in line with prescribed rules to deliver efficient service to the people.
He frowned at what he called intolerable laxity on the part of the civil servants, warning that “if heads of MDAs could report to work as early as 8am, I see no reason why the subordinates should not be in their respective offices on or before that time. For those who are late today, we will pardon them but from tomorrow, all late comers will be locked out and sanctioned accordingly.”
He maintained that as a successful businessman, he would not fold his arms and watch civil servants who are supposed to serve the people relegate their work to the back ground, saying: “I am a change agent. In my younger years, I used to be addressed as a system purifier and I am here to do just that, focus exactly on production, expand the horizon and economic benefits and potentials of my people.
“It is only private organisation that runs for profit but government’s profit is the social safety net, the welfare and wellbeing of our people. My profit therefore is the number of people I employ; my service to my people is the number of people I have engaged.”