There are some underlining reasons why the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, is moving against Governor Ben Ayade.
The Efik monarch declared that the administration of Governor Ayade has failed the people of Cross River State.
Before now, the result of a study indicated that there is significant relationship between income level, lack of access to basic needs and insecurity in the state. It was recommended among others that the Ayade administration ‘’must’’ target the youths intensive sector such as information and communications technology, entertainment and hospitality industry to address the problem of youth criminality.
While nothing is known about the governor’s effort on information and communications technology, a nongovernmental organisation in the state, Child Protection Network, says child labour remains a huge challenge in the state.
Its Chairman, James Ibor, said his organisation, with the support of the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), recently discovered about 318 under-aged children working in dumpsites in the state.
According to him, these children, who have no opportunity of going to school, are not trained to work in dump sites and are too young to be involved in such hazardous labour.
“These children are actively involved in sorting different waste materials that are poisonous and injurious to their health. We have this number actively involved in dump sites not to talk of so many who hawk on the streets rather than being in classrooms.
“It means there is no way we would fulfil the sustainable development goals as enshrined in the Millenium Development Goals. It is sad and I hope we use this opportunity to rethink and plan for children involved in labour in the state’’, he said.
Ibor expressed regrets that the state had only managed to implement five per cent of the Child Rights Act signed into law in 2009.
“For Cross River Government to pride itself as a state fit for the child, we have to begin to implement the Child Rights Law. The Child Rights Law was not imposed on Cross River but a law we signed, I am therefore shocked that we have wilfully refused to implement our own law’’, he said.
However, the United Nations says 152 million children worldwide still engage in child labour while many have dropped out of school to help their parents earn a livelihood.
The Obong, however, made the declaration in Calabar, the state capital when former Governor Liyel Imoke, led a delegation to his palace over the previous weekend violence and destruction in the city.
Worried by the wanton destruction in the state capital, the monarch laid the blame for the vandalisation, looting and destruction of public and private buildings and business concerns in Calabar and environs at the doorsteps of the government of Cross River state.
He queried, “why is this happening to us? It is because politicians have failed. And if I had my way, I could have said, this governor, should wait, let’s set up an interim administration then he starts learning on how administrations are actually done?”
The monarch insisted the buck stops on the table of the governor as the chief security officer, and observed that the attack happened partly because the governor was not holding regular security meetings.
Otu admonished, “he should be holding security meeting regularly. This thing would not have happened if he had called the security people together after hearing what happened in Lagos and other places; If he had called them together and tell them, look my friends; nothing should happen in my state. The calamity would have been averted.
“The key is that there has to be a change of attitude, every one of you should have access to the governor.. Now that we have professor and professor in administrative set up, we expected that we should have the best. The governor should be able to open his door for people to come in, and should work with everybody”, the Efik monarch says,
He expressed pains over the destruction of everything Calabar held dear, saying the carnage was an indication that political class has failed, disclosing that the peace that Calabar city was known for had been taken away.
He charged Imoke, “please tell the governor, even though you said it is not time to apportion blame, whether you like it or not, the buck stops at his table and we have to proffer a solution to this problem. We have to face it right out there; we don’t need to play around with it. We cannot continue this way. You tell him that there is a need for total reconciliation; a total rehabilitation of whatever he has been doing.
“Everybody matters in this state. He should be able to talk to people. He wouldn’t call you. Even when you call him, he doesn’t answer the call. Nobody talks to him”, pointing out that he was also marked for attack by the hoodlums, and lamented “imagine somebody like me that has not gained anything from the political class; if I may say so, my palace was said to be in the list of places to attack.”
Earlier, Imoke told his host that in the wake of the incident, he thought it wise to seek the help and cooperation of the traditional institution in finding a way out of the problem.
“We do not understand the extent of the carnage. We are all victims of this incident. If you were not hit directly, you were hit indirectly. For me I was hit directly, so to very many public officials. They were also hit directly.
“Indirectly, we were all hit with all our public facility extensively damaged. For us, it is critical that we don’t only address this, we will give support to the governor on how best to address all of these. We came to get some pieces of advice from you before we even set out looking for solution. We are not here to play the blame game. We are here to look for sustainable solutions”, says the ex-governor