According to the former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, “Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.”, this means with proper planning, the right strategy, and purposeful leadership, lost glory can afterall be regained.
Cross River state Governor, Senator (Prince) Otu has demonstrated this with the restoration and renewing of the state’s lofty dreams.
In Calabar, the state capital, time was when the port city proudly stood out as the cleanest city in Nigeria. This was before the situation changed and other cities started competing with the clean and green status of the canopy city.
However, Calabar is gradually returning to its lost glory, the city is cleaning up. It was a promise made and it shall be promise kept. Governor Otu is keeping to his word, having pledged in his inaugural speech to make the city clean again. Indeed, for Cross River and her people, May 29, 2023, was historic.
That day, a restorer and a renewer mounted the saddle to usher the state into a refreshing and exhilarating new dawn. The restorer and renewer is His Excellency, Senator (Prince) Bassey Edet Otu.
Governor Otu is a new vista that has happened on Cross River. The “People First” policy which underpins the programs of his administration is clinically restoring and renewing hope for a better Cross River, it has also bolstered the fading confidence Cross Riverians had in government before now.
Indeed, inspiring confidence in the people; restoring and renewing their hope, and generally walking the talk are some of the hallmarks of a true, exceptional leader.
A compendium of Governor Otu’s achievements since assuming office shows a focused and far-sighted leader with systemic planning as his guiding book.
And is Governor Otu getting the trust of the people in return? Yes! And plentifully too. Cross Riverians appreciate the breath of fresh air that he represents, especially the grassroots support base he has enjoyed since his first election into the National Assembly in 2003.
This is so because various measures to rebuild the state which his government has put in place since taking the oath of office are positively and visibly impacting the people gradually.
These are redemptive measures geared towards setting the state on the path of socio-economic and infrastructural revival and consolidation. The drive is to reinvent Cross River in all ramifications, consolidating on the efforts of his predecessors.
The restoration of Calabar to its former glory is one of such measures.No sooner had Governor Otu assumed office than he activated his ‘people first’ action plans in ensuring that Calabar returns to the Cleanest City status it enjoyed in the past. The gradual disappearance of a deluge of refuse that had defaced the aesthetics of Calabar is a pointer to this.
As a proactive leader and as he pledged in his inaugural address, the Governor wasted no time in infusing a new vigor into refuse evacuation, so much so that the agency responsible for the exercise and its trucks are common sights in various parts of the city 24/7 clearing refuse.
Today, it is a delight watching trucks from the state Waste Management Agency saturate various parts of the city evacuating refuse, the result is that Calabar is gradually wearing a new look, its original clean and sparkling status having been restored.
How did Otu do it? Getting the people to trust and repose confidence in government or leaders is no rocket science. What is required are practical actions or steps by such a leader.
The Governor is such a leader who tackles problems and devises solutions by leading from the front, hence it wasn’t a surprise that two days after he was sworn into office he stormed the Calabar dumpsite at LEMNA to access it for proper management, since then, the story has changed.
In the Governor’s words, “Why I came here today is to assess the situation firsthand and make sure from tomorrow things are done to make this dumpsite workable, and that trucks that are coming in can move in very easily to deliver their dump… Calabar is going to be clean again, very very soon.”
To give a flip to his determination to restore Cross River and Calabar in particular to its past glory as the cleanest city in Nigeria, the Governor has since put in place a new guideline for refuse disposal by residents. For a robust evacuation process and to put a stop to indiscriminate disposal of refuse by residents, the guideline requires all residents to dispose of their refuse at designated evacuation points between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. daily.
Similarly, Governor Otu has directed the Calabar Urban Development Authority (CUDA) to effectively mobilize its staff to double efforts in cleaning streets and desilting of gutters where necessary to allow for easy and free flow of water in the drains.
The Governor has also put in place a tactical team charged with ensuring full compliance with the new waste disposal guideline.
What is more, the Governor suspended the activities of the Scap Metal Agency which, according to security sources, have contributed to insecurity challenges in Cross River State.
With this suspension, truly the people of the state can now sleep with their two eyes closed as incidents of car theft have reduced within the last three weeks of the suspension.
The aesthetics of Canan City, as Calabar is affectionately referred to, is gradually coming up, the reason the Governor assured visitors recently that the city will wear a dazzling new look before the 2023 edition of the annual Carnival Calabar fiesta.
With Calabar back to its glory, it is imperative to state that people’s attitudes about, and perceptions of sanitation issues contribute to the waste management problem, especially in third-world countries.
Essentially, urban waste management constitutes one of the most crucial health and environmental issues facing third-world cities. Proper waste management is, therefore, a collaborative effort between the government and the people.
Residents of Calabar must understand this and adopt the right attitude toward waste disposal.
Indeed, improper waste disposal by one individual ultimately affects the entire citizenry, this means that every resident must contribute significantly to the process of keeping Calabar clean.
Rasheed Olanrewaju Zubair is the Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Governor Bassey Otu.