The people of Cross River are angry. So angry!
Their Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, is not acting his title according to Cross Riverians who think that he should “focus on visible development of the state and not media hype development”.
What’s this that they call “media hype development”?
The Governor went and changed the State’s logo from what the world has come to know the State for – tourism – to what he may have been led to believe he has managed to change the focus of the State to in 2 years.
The problem, however, is that this is just not true. The people of Cross River have mostly had complaints about Governor Ayade’s leadership in the past two years.
Between December 2015 and May 2016 alone, Governor Ben Ayade had no less than three horrible reports in mainstream media about his handling of civil servants in the State. In one incident, Calabar street sweepers were reportedly sacked by the State government for staging a public demonstration to protest their unpaid salaries.
In another report, staff of the Calabar Urban Development Agency (CUDA) barricaded the State’s airport road in protest of alleged corruption within the Ministry of Environment. They called for the immediate sack of the Commissioner of Environment. Mike Eraye.
An even more popular report was when media houses published reports that waste bins and sewers in the State’s Calabar South local government area for weeks leading to a situation where waste was visibly piled around the State.
All the while, tourists who troop into the country as well as residents had begun to complain about the decline in maintenance of tourist attractions that the State had come to be known for.
While States like Lagos are only beginning to take tourism quite seriously, tourism has been the main attraction in Cross River for the longest time – since when Governor Donald Duke made sure of it. It was about the same time that the State’s logo was made the riverine Dolphin coated in blue and white that the current governor is now trying to change.
This won’t be the first time that a State governor will try to change the “brand” of a State. In 2012, Governor Aregbesola of Osun State adamantly changed a lot of things about Osun – from renaming the State “The State of Osun” to changing the school uniforms of the State-owned schools to traditional fabrics – another thing Governor Ayade is on to since he’s been asking Commissioners and aides to wear only made in Calabar fabrics.
Even Nigeria under President Olusegun Obasanjo and the late Dora Akunyili almost got a new face when the Interior Ministry embarked on a “9ja to Nigeria”; “wear Made in Nigeria Ankara” campaign.
However, the only reason Governor Aregbesola and Dora Akunyili’s rebranding were not met with any more than curious humour – as opposed to instant disdain – is that it was actually evident to the citizenry that these governments were doing more than mere media campaigning in order to fix the run-down economy – or as in Osun’s case, the Education Ministry.
Imagine is The State of Osun owing months’ worth of salaries to workers right now tried to speak about “rebranding”.
Governor Ayade needs to stop putting his cart before his horse. He needs to fix his own broken image as well as the broken system in Cross River before attempting to etch his name within 18 stars with a new State logo.
Besides, a red logo with an encircled charging bull? Are we playing Hoola-hoops here? Is this a joke? Both the designer and Governor Ayade or whoever approved this logo need to be asked serious questions about cognitive functions.
Creative mind. Enthusiast. Learner. Multipotentialite. And here, an assistant editor.