October 1, 2023

TNN Newspaper

a commitment to responsible journalism

Decisions Otu Must Take Immediately After Swearing-in As Gov – Ndoma-Egba

4 min read
Spread the love

A former senate leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, SAN, has undertaken what appears to be a study of events in Cross River State in the last eight years of the out-going governor, Prof Ben Ayade and has given some tips on what will help the in-coming governor, Senator Prince Bassey Otu succeed, as he prepares to take over on May 29.

Incidentally, Ndoma-Egba is the chairman of the committee that will coordinate the inauguration activities. He made his position known to TNN in an exclusive interview in Calabar.

According to the senior lawyer and technocrat, the in-coming governor would need to go on a retreat with some critical stakeholders, including those who have basic and vital information on the governance of the state in the recent past, to be properly briefed on goings-on in the state, to enable him have a fair understanding of the true shape of things.

As it stands now, there are projects undertaken by Ayade that have become controversial, either in terms of ownership or the actual liability that the state may be facing, which are not in the public domain.

Some of the ambitious projects that the governor embarked on, including the superhighway, Obudu airport and spaghetti flyover are certainly not going to be completed before May 29 when he will be handing over the Otu.

In the case of the super highway project, TNN cannot independently confirm the exact percentage of work done. But the governor said recently, that he would commission phase one of the project before leaving office. It is not clear if work on the project is up to two per cent.

In the case of the spaghetti flyover, despite the billions of naira that has been spent, the project is in no way looking close to a spaghetti flyover. The governor is, however, adopting a fire brigade approach towards convincing the people that he is serious, even though it is becoming common knowledge that he may have been playing games with the project.

What that means is that Otu will have the headache of deciding on what to do with some of the projects-whether to abandon them or take loans to strive to complete the projects that are seen as over ambitious and beyond the carrying capacity of the state at this time.


During the interview, Ndoma Egba told TNN that “in the last eight years, we have had a governor who was largely experimental with ideas of governance, government. There has been this ideological argument that has reached for as long as we can remember; the role of government in business.

“In the last eight years, we saw a situation which was more or less a reversal of what we had during Duke and Imoke. Duke came, saw the state as essentially a civil service state and decided on the privatization programme; that we should privatize all those government entities, especially as many of them were moribund.

“Imoke followed the same path. But what we saw in the last eight years is government going back to the building of the same industries that we struggled to privatize. The size of government increased and the justification was that we needed food on the table of everybody.

“So, the new governor will need to deal with the issue of whether he needs a bloated political class or he needs a civil service with a trim political class. He has to deal with those issues.”

Regrettinging that there was no proper transition committee with enough time to look at the books to be able to advise the in-coming government, Ndoma-Egba said the new governor would need to be properly informed of the true state of the state, before knowing how to move on.

“For me, I think the starting point- I wish we had a proper transition committee, where some of these things should have been delineated- but we didn’t have as you know. The transition committee was announced on the same day as the inauguration committee, less than three weeks to the end of the administration.

“So you can’t, because what would have come out from a transition committee was a definite agenda, ‘look, this is where we are, this is what we have, this is our exposure, this is what we can generate’ and you now use that.

“But for now, we are not likely to have the benefit of that. So, I think the starting point, if I were to advise, you spend the first two to three weeks in a retreat so that you will get as objective a picture as possible, of the statues quo and you can now know, because how you respond depends on what you find.

“So, he should spend the first two to three weeks in a retreat receiving briefings and then you now begin to develop a clearer picture, because that picture, you can’t see now.”

  • The full interview will be published soon. Watch out for the hard copy of TNN

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *