C/River Royal fathers, elders laud Ayade on developmental strides

Prominent  royal fathers and elders in Cross River State  have praised the state governor, Prof. Ben Ayade for what they described as giant strides recorded in the state in the last two years of his administration.
Offering their commendations recently at different town hall meetings in Calabar, the state capital, the elders and chiefs maintained that after a critical assessment of the projects, programmes and policies of the governor, particularly the Calabar Garment Factory that has already employed over three thousand Cross Riverians, mostly women, Ayade would not have come at a better time than now.

According to them, "the projects conceived by Ayade's administration are such that will transform the socio-economic landscape of the state."

Speaking on behalf of other paramount rulers from the 17 local government areas of the state, the Ndidem of the Quos and Paramount Ruler of Calabar Municipality, Ndidem Patrick Ika Oqua stated: "Everyone who follows the trend in the state will appreciate Governor Ayade's effort especially his ability to sustain the payment of salaries from the inception of his administration to date. I think, Ayade deserves an applause for all these developmental strides.”

While appealing to the Federal Government to consider possible ways of compensating the state for the loss of Bakassi and consequently reallocating its 76 oil wells, the royal father pointed out that "Cross River cannot continue to bear the harsh impacts of an action that was not  caused by it but by the federal government. Therefore, the state should be allowed thw leeway to explore other sources of generating revenues such as on our roads and waterways."

He particularly mentioned the activities of tank farms operators  in Calabar who have refused to pay some levies for opeeating in the state.

Ika Oqua further noted: "The operators and indeed the Federal Government must explore possible ways of extending little benefits to the state to enable it maintain its critical infrastructure like roads."

Speaking at a meeting between the Elders Forum and the governor,  Mrs. Grace Eyo-Ita praised the governor for his untiring effort in luring investors to the state in just two years in office.

She added that Ayade's many trips openly criticised by his critics have today been translated into concrete and visible projects on ground that will directly benefit the people.

Her words: “With all your running round the world, I can see clearly that you are building tomorrow's Cross River for generations now and yet unborn. As elders, some of us will also live to see and even benefit in the actualization of some of the projects which are at various stages of completion and we sincerely thank you.

"Let me say sir, that we acknowledge your selflessness and pragmatic efforts in building Cross River State of our dream and we can only pray God to give you strength and resources to actualize your laudable projects and programmes which are geared towards improving the living conditions of the people.”

Responding, Governor Ayade thanked the chiefs and elders in the state for the show of love and appreciation for the programmes and projects of his administration, explaining that "I offered myself as a sacrificial lamb to lay solid foundation for a new Cross River that wi'll be  financially independent.

“I have an eight year agenda and the agenda is to put an end to Cross River State ever needing money from Abuja.

"If I’m the one who will pay the price and lay the foundation for the next administration, I will gladly play that role.”
Lamenting his ordeal occasioned by lean resources to the state from the federation account, making execution of projects practically impossible, Ayade disclosed that "Cross River State is in captivity. A state that has been reduced to wants in body, spirit and soul,” disclosing he was embarking on projects that would  eventually decouple the state from the federation account which making.

“Cross River State got just N4.2 billion cumulatively in the last quarter, in the face of a wage bill of over N5 billion monthly. That is the challenge I met and still tackling till now. I have more emotional stress than ever just to keep salaries flowing.”

Continuing he said: “When I came in as governor, we were besieged by challenges of having a state where all its oil wells were taken and Bakassi gone, out of 13% derivation and now a weeping child in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) coupled with miserable allocation sometimes zero allocation monthly.

"I came in at a very perilous time but I enjoy it because my poverty background has made me that strong man that the state needs at this critical time to manage its almost non-existing resources but having a people with intellectual capacity to transform its status.”

Ayade listed some of the ongoing projects which he solicited their buy-in to include the 274km superhighway, the 134km Yala-Obudu dual carriage road, the Calapharm, Rice City and the new cities projects, adding that “In Ikom, we are setting up the biggest cocoa processing plant/exchange centers where government will be buying cocoa directly from the farmers to add value to their effort."
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