The success of any government is hinged on its policy thrust or the development agenda it chooses to pursue. This is the road map for the implementation of government programs. No government succeeds on the basis of trial and error which is the case with the Benedict Ayade led government in Cross River State at this time. The rising spate of youth unemployment in the state is a time bomb and any government that is worth its onion cannot afford to treat the issue of job creation in the state with such brazen levity. It is an issue that must be given the seriousness and priority it deserves. For our local economy to thrive and grow, youthful energies must be exploited and properly channeled in a positive direction with regards to productivity. A clear and unambiguous policy direction must therefore be articulated that would set the pace to take due advantage of our enormous factor endowment in agriculture across the state to create jobs for the people.
Cross River State is endowed with very vast arable land and a large chunk of the vestige of tropical rainforest in Sub-Saharan Africa is found in the state. It goes without saying that the easiest and smartest medium of opening up our local economy and set it on the path of growth and generate employment for the teeming youths is to focus on our factor endowment in agriculture and agric related businesses. Incidentally, there are some federal government programs on agriculture that the state can actually take advantage to grow the agricultural sector. Some of these programs do not require more than just the guarantee of the state government or at best very minimal counterpart contributions for our indigenes to access in terms of funding.
The CBN Anchor Borrowers program is a typical example of federal government agricultural policy that the state government can key into and create employment opportunities. The beauty of this policy is that they are off-takers to purchase the products after maturation. In this case, a marketing chain has been opened upfront for would be famers in any of the categories of the agricultural products captured in the program. This is one program that should be well popularized across the state with a good orientation given to our youths to get involved in rather than the idea of very ridiculous and fictitious appointments where our young people are wasting and idling away precious man-powers hours under the guise of political appointments. Unfortunately, more than 90% of these appointments do no task the ingenuity of the appointees or challenge their creativity neither do they add any meaningful value to the state economy.
The scenario in Cross River State under Benedict Ayade is such that a greater chunk of those who are appointed are said to be occupying non-existent political offices and they draw monthly salaries from the state coffers for doing absolutely nothing. This concept of “putting food on the table” as coined by the governor or the popular “alert” slogan by the appointees is not only unsustainable but it is also the most inimical way of patronizing political cronies. As it is rightly said, “A laborer is worthy of his wages”. Conversely, if you do not work, then you should not earn a wage. In the same vein, the current situation in the state clearly shows the dearth of ideas by the administration of Benedict Ayade to chart a progressive agenda for the state going forward.
The starting point for any government that must make progress and effect the desired change in the fortunes of the people in terms of their socioeconomic status and financial empowerment is a well defined policy direction for wealth creation and poverty reduction. This can only be achieved by a result-oriented job creation framework. An effective job creation model would foster capacity building, learning of new skills and the progress of the employees in both the short and long runs. The prevailing charade undertaken by Governor Benedict Ayade would only exacerbate the increasing unemployment situation in the state in the foreseeable future. Ayade's style does not crystallize any ray of light in the dark tunnel of youth unemployment in Cross River State; it is an uncharitable myth rather than a concrete reality for anyone to ever imagine that the governor has created employment opportunities since his assumption of office on May 29th, 2015.