By Emmanuel Una
THe tradition had been for Governor Liyel Imoke to put humanitarian activities around his birthday anniversary. There was not much departure from this tradition on the 10th of July, 2014 when the Cross River State governor clocked 53.
The addition this time was the decision of some associates of the governor under the aegis of the Destiny Group to organise a lecture to mark the occasion. The lecture with the theme, “Democracy and Governance: Cross River State Perspective,” had erstwhile minister, Professor Jerry Gana as lecturer.
Ahead of the lecture, there was a foundation laying ceremony of the Golf Estate at the Summit Hills by the National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu. Before the inauguration of the project, there was a lively and memorable moment when the PDP Chairman led an impromptu choir to render the traditional birthday song, “Happy Birthday to You”, for Senator Imoke
To herald the song Mu’azu told the crowd, “My voice is neither bass, treble or any of those that can render sweet melody but I have a family here especially the women who can help me do this job well and please can everyone join me let’s sing a birthday song for the performing governor of Cross River State”.
In response to the call, all the dignitaries including Obioma Imoke, the governor’s wife, Olisa Metuh the PDP Publicity Secretary, Efiok Cobham, Imoke’s deputy, Hakeem Oguniran, MD UPDC, Professor Jerry Gana, Ntufam John Okon, PDP State Chairman for Cross River State chapter, Cross River Executive Council members and several other dignitaries joined in the toast.
Seated and smiling, Imoke watched the proceedings as Mu‘azu led the proceedings. Delivering his lecture, Gana conferred on Imoke the “Professor” of Good Governance for excellent performance in administering the state in the past seven years.
“I confer the title of professor on Senator Imoke; He is not a professor who is just a thinker like me but a doer and on this score I confer on him professor of good governance because he is a performer who is a model of humility, a foundation of truth, a man of wisdom and clearly one of the most outstanding governors in Nigeria”
Professor Gana stated that though Imoke does not publicise his projects but he has purposefully committed himself to the service of the people of the state with passion and integrity which stood him out to be awarded the Zik Award for Leadership which singles him out as an outstanding leader among his peers in the country.
‘The Zik Award for Leadership recognised him as a leader of no mean standing; a man who has achieved more than his peers and sees no reason to invite the press to celebrate his projects because he is committed to the purposeful service of his people and development of infrastructure for the state”.
Gana said Imoke is a grassroots politician whose deft calculation has endeared him to the people as seen in 1999 when he was able to sway the support of voters in favour of Mr Donald Duke who came from relative obscurity to win the 1998 PDP primaries ahead of Senator Kanu Agabi who is a well known legal and political figure in the country.
According to him, Imoke’s humility, generosity, and integrity have kept the PDP family intact in the state making Cross River one of the most secure PDP states in the country. ‘He has accommodated the structures of the former governor Donald Duke and made Duke one of the most loved and recognised former governors in the country which is a clear departure from the battle between successor and predecessor in other states”.
At the end of the event while thanking the organisers and the teeming crowd that attended the birthday event, Senator Imoke said his priority is to serve the people of the state and at the end of his tenure next year he will not seek for another elective office because he is not looking for a cover or immunity from prosecution.