Inyali Peter, Calabar
A lecturer in the department of Philosophy in University of Calabar, Dr. Joseph Odok has vowed never to patronage Vanguard newspaper again over what he described as "unmerited" governor of the year's award given to Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade.
Ayade was selected best governor in Nigeria in 2016 by the newspaper two months ago but was given the award on Saturday in Lagos.
Mixed reactions have continued to trail the award as many Cross Riverians believed that Ayade having stayed for almost two years without completing a project was not qualified for the award.
The latest reaction came from Odok, a barrister and a human right activist who has threatened that he will ensure that no member of his family, his students or friends patronage Vanguard as it has lost it credibility and sense of objective judgement.
According to him, "Vanguard used to be one of my favourite newspapers but after surprisingly awarding Ayade as the best governor in Nigeria, I've stopped reading the paper and will never read it again. I'll ensure I stop my family members, friends and students from reading it too".
Odok who questioned the criteria used in selecting Ayade added that, the governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, Ambode of Lagos state, Wike of Rivers, Umahi of Ebonyi and many others have all outperformed Ayade and would have been selected for the award.
"What was the basis for their judgement? Obiano, Ambode, Umahi, Wike and many other have outperformed Ayade. These governors commissioned great projects and created many jobs in 2016. Can you say same of Ayade? He claimed to have lifted embargo on employment but no single person two years later have been employed into the state civil service.
"He said he's paying salaries but only core civil servants are paid. Local government staff and teachers are owed over ten months salaries. He talks of garment factory which ownership is still in doubt. He claimed to have created 3,000 jobs through the factory but less than 50 people are in that place. So, tell me, what has Ayade done to merit such award?, Odok asked.
He accused Vanguard of promoting nonperformance even as he urged other media organizations to give awards to only people who merit them not for patronage.
"I challenge Vanguard to come up with template to show that Ayade has performed more than other governors. I know the paper would no longer sell like before in Cross River but of course would they mind? It is alleged that the government pays them huge amount of money every month for cheap publicity.
"But what would they gain in celebrating mediocricy and failure? I just want to appeal to other media houses not to be like vanguard but award only governors who deserve the awards. I urge other governors who have done better than Ayade to stop patronizing Vanguard too, stop giving them adverts because we must fight every aspect of corruption in this country".