John Odey: “We don’t want a blaring siren Governor”
Mr. John Upan Odey (Jnr), philanthropist and aspirant for nomination as Governorship candidate in Cross River State under the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC), has stated that the people of his state do not want a Governor that blares siren or a Governor that “is always in the air, flying all over the world”. He stated this when he addressed members of Association of Cross River Online Journalists (ACROJ), during his courtesy call to their Secretariat in Calabar.
John Upan Odey (Jnr) used the occasion of his visit to reiterate his intention to serve as Governor of the State and explained that his ambition is borne out of a selfless desire to lead like-minded persons who want to change how Cross River State is being governed. He stated that currently, the State is being governed by the whims of the Governor rather than by democratic tenets.
In that vein, he said: “You have a state where the State House of Assembly does not have any reasonable input into the running of the state. It is disgraceful. It is shameful. It is against the principle of democracy that even a budget, you are talking about a budget of ‘kinetic crystallization’. Such madness! A budget of 1.3 trillion and this budget is not even put before the House of Assembly. It is not put in the public domain for people to discuss before it is even passed. It is crazy.
“There is a complete collapse of the democratic principle in Cross River State. The idea that the executive and the legislature should work together to improve society has totally collapsed here. It seems like all the House of Assembly are just beggarly and are just looking up to the Governor. They are not happy. They have lost their voices. That is a disgrace.” He said that if elected, he would want to work with a House of Assembly that is constituted by vibrant minds who can intelligently argue with him before anything is done.
Similarly, he identified opaqueness in the handling of projects such as the superhighway and asked: “How can we be talking about building a super highway where we are going to spend almost a billion dollars, the feasibility, the benefit cost analysis have not been put up for Cross Riverians?
“We just wake up and projects are just being spewed at us. It is sickening and it is mad. You don’t do that with projects that have impact on the lives of the people”.
The Governorship aspirant equally said: “Listen, government as established, has no business being in business because the business of government is not business. Government can only open frontiers for business to come in and flourish. If you have a government that sits down all the time and talk only about business, it is wasting every body’s time. The government should bring in the business men and the investors. The investors are not looking for anything super.
“All the investors want to see is that there is security. They want to see that the government is serious and committed to what it wants to do. They want to see that the government itself is serious with the business of governance. You don’t need to fly around the world looking for investors. When a state itself is ready for investment, the investors would come…. “
He disclosed that the slogan of his campaign is “Cross River State Leadershift”. According to him, “Cross River State Leadershift is not about APC or PDP. It is not about the old or the young. So we are welcoming everyone into this movement. It is everybody who has this mindset that we need to change how we do things. We need a Governor who is not going to come here and lord it over us. We don’t want a blaring siren Governor. We don’t want a Governor who is always in the air flying all over the world.
“We want a Governor that visits our schools, that goes to the communities, that goes to hospitals because when people know that this Governor has rolled up his sleeves and is ready to work, they would work. Cross Riverians are good people. They want to work. They want a leader. They no longer want somebody who comes to deceive.”
John Upan Odey (Jnr) described himself as an unpretentious and result-oriented man who garnered valuable experience from years of selfless service in the banking sector where delivery of results within strict timelines is demanded from staff. He promised to transfer that experience to governance, if elected into office.
He said: “One of my policy items is infrastructure. I don’t need to start talking about building new roads. First thing I can guarantee is that in 24 months as Governor, I would make sure that all asphalted roads in Cross River don’t have a single pothole. For me, result is very important. We need to deal with numbers. I am a numbers driven person”
“….Government is a very simple thing. It is not super science. It is not rocket science. When the government is right, everybody feels it. Everybody sees it. It does not hide. This is what we are trying to do.”
John Upan Odey (Jnr) enjoined members of ACROJ to always “speak truth to power” and uphold credible professional standards.
Earlier, Hope Obeten, Chairman of ACROJ, stated that although the Deputy Governor of Cross River State paid a courtesy visit to the Secretariat of ACROJ sometime ago, John Upan Odey (Jnr) is the first Governorship aspirant to visit the same Secretariat. He thanked him for taking that initiative and promised that members of ACROJ would give fair and unbiased coverage of his activities.
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