“Liyel misused his opportunity”, says Donald Duke

“Liyel misused his opportunity of Public service”, says Donald Duke
Donald Duke, former Governor of Cross River State, has stated that Senator Liyel Imoke who succeeded him in office as Governor of Cross River State in 2007, “misused and abused his opportunity of public service.”

He stated this in an exclusive interview that was published last Sunday on www.calitown.com

Donald Duke said that although his personal relationship with Senator Liyel Imoke is cordial, he perceives him as “a recurrent failure” in matters that concern Cross River State.

This perception is in contrast with previous public perceptions of the bond that exists between these former Governors.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that they had allegedly made a pact to govern Cross River State one after the other, along with Senator Gershom Bassey who got elected in 2015 as Senator representing Cross River Southern Senatorial District in the National Assembly. They were unofficially known as “the three wise men” as a result of their influence in the mainstream of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in previous years.

However, Donald Duke told www.calitown.com that Senator Imoke “failed as a Minister and he failed in Cross River State. In his public service he has failed because he has used the wrong parameters. In public service you put others first, before yourself. When you think that the whole state should revolve around you, I disagree.

“We are three million in this state and we are all equal stakeholders…. Liyel misused and abused his opportunity of public service. He had an opportunity to electrify and power this country but he failed…. As Governor of Cross River State, he didn’t fare well either.”

Donald Duke said that when he handed over as Governor to Senator Liyel Imoke in 2007, Cross River State was buoyant to the extent that the State would have been “financially independent of the rest of Nigeria”, five years after that handing over. He expressed regrets over what he described as a decline and “the vogue to undo everything that had been done, for political expediency.”

The former Governor said that: “The Governor of a state is a shift worker who works for a four – or eight years shift, after which he is replaced by another Governor. If every time a shift changes, you go back to foundation building or go back to the starting blocks, you can never complete work. What we are seeing right now is an undertaker in motion. The death of Cross River State happened in 2007.”

Although he implied that Cross River State “died” before Senator Ben Ayade took over as Governor of the State in 2015, he said he knew that “there was a problem” when Governor Ayade made promises such as building an international airport in Ogoja and building a super highway as well as deep – sea port, during his swearing in as Governor. “I shook my head…. I wondered how that was going to be feasible”, he added.

Donald Duke said that it would have been better to spend what is being spent on dredging in order to have a seaport, on spending to get into a partnership with the Federal Government in order to improve the existing port in Calabar. He added that there would have been a steady flow of traffic to that port, if Tinapa was working.

The former Governor also said that while he left Tinapa and Obudu Ranch Resort in conditions that attracted heavy traffic to Cross River State and made Calabar airport one of the busiest in Nigeria, “today there is only one flight. So, we are seeing the rise and fall of our state in a blink and the people who caused this are not remorseful, they still think they are superstars and they should be adored. No. Nobody is here to serve anybody. If the Governor does not perform, get rid of him. Don’t hold the state back because of an individual.”

It would be recalled that Donald Duke recently defected from the PDP to Social Democratic Party (SDP). He aspires to contest for the presidency of Nigeria under the platform of SDP.

Cornelius Ellah
Twitter: @lin_cornellah
Facebook: Cornelius Ellah

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