Sam Onunaka Mbakwe’s greatest landmarks were recorded in the development of infrastructure. Before him, roads in the area were in a terrible state of disrepair after the war. By his third year in office, Aba, Umuaiah, Okigwe, Orlu and Afikpo could boast of modern roads. Till today, it is difficult to out-match Mbakwe’s legacy either in road rehabilitation or rural electrification. Yet, he started as a governor crying to the Federal Government to provide amenities for his people.
When his supplication availed nothing, he took up the challenge himself. Yet despite his achievements later on, the sobriquet of the weeping governor stuck to late Chief Mbakwe. For the record, it was not late Mbakwe’s tears that made him develop and positively affected his people; it was his determination, sincerity and creativity that got the job done.
Some hours ago, there was a stage show in Cross River, when the sitting governor broke down in tears after laying hands on the State’s 2018 budget document. Cross River State’s 1.3 trillion naira budget is called ‘Budget of Kinetic Crystallization.’ It was a drama that bore the seal of religion, because after the governor wept for a while, he handed the document to a ‘preacher’ to pray over it, so that God could help him to realize the proposed budget for his people. This kind of drama can only happen in a 3rd-world nation as ours. I wonder why he was crying; because that wasn’t the first budget he would sign into law.
For a few hours, I put my search-light on the administration of His Excellency and all I can say is that the Cross River people deserve the type of governor that is leading them. The man’s achievements since assumption of office have not gone beyond theoretical level and the proposed superhighway (that he vowed to complete), and deep seaports are yet to kick-off in concrete terms! For almost four years, he has been smiling, riding and laughing, but in order to connect with the unsuspecting and naive downtrodden for another four years in office, he needed to shed some crocodile tears.
Hear what Cross River Commissioner for Finance said: “This budget is intended to crystallize and implement the visions that have been so far formulated by the administration. We are entering the fourth year, so this is the time to deliver on the mandate and the promises we made to the people.” The fourth year is the time to deliver on the mandate and promises they made to the people! What has taken them three years to “formulate,” will now be realized in just one year. I still do not know why our leaders enjoy saying what they know they are not going to do. I do not need to be a seer to know that the man would ultimately leave the State as he met it.
I am yet to see a governor—who weeps when he wants to collect his monthly security vote from the Federal Government. When they collect their salaries and allowances, they would not break down into tears, calling pastors and imams to pray over them and their illegitimate bread of office, but it is when they want to fool and deceive the people that they deliberately make it wear the garb of religion. The truth is—our people love to be fooled.
For the umpteenth time, it was not late Sam Mbakwe’s tears that developed his State in those days; it was his determination, sincerity, genuine love for his people and creativity that got the job done. When are we going to stop fooling our people and start building a nation that we can all call our own? While we are weeping and fooling ourselves, serious nations of the earth are breaking new grounds in every sphere of life. Are we not ashamed of ourselves? A lot of our girls have become prostitutes and too far many of our boys are helplessly hooked on drugs. Our education system is ignorant. Many intelligent and resourceful Nigerians are daily leaving Nigeria for nations where citizens are being treated as human beings. And most of our professionals are day after day leaving Nigeria in droves because they cannot see a great future in the only country they can call theirs.
Why do we like stealing what we can all enjoy together as a people? Why are we a people—who do not care a hoot about history? Why do we enjoy stealing and taking abroad what we can use to build and make our dear country great on earth? Why do we hate ourselves so much in Nigeria? When are we going to pause and think for a true change? Why do we want generations unborn to rise one day and curse all of us alive today for bequeathing to them a shapeless nation? When are we going to start loving our people as those in the 1st world countries love theirs? When are we going to stop being a religious nation and start being a godly one? I hope the drama stops one day—from Cross River to Bayelsa, from Oyo to Adamawa, from Kano to Osun, from Plateau to Sokoto and from Lagos to Kogi, and we would all roll up our sleeves and start to work real hard, so we can leave behind a nation that is truly working by the time we stop breathing.