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Mfon-Obudu Road : From Ayade dust to Ayade magic, as asphalting commences



By Inyali Peter

On assumption office as the third democratically elected Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade embarked on several capital projects that left tongues waging within and outside the state.

Many had wondered how Cross River, regarded as a civil service state which receives near zero allocation from the federal governments could fund some of the projects which include the 275km supper highway, the deep seaport, the biggest garment factory in West Africa, the CalaPharm, amongst others.

While the governor has carved a niche for himself for the giant strides recorded in the area of industrialization in just three and half years, he has left no stone unturned in ensuring that he maintains as well as expand the existing infrastructure, especially the intra and inter local government road across the state.

From Calabar South in the Southern Senatorial District to Obanliku in the Northern Senatorial District of the state, the Ayade led administration is undertaking huge project in road expansion and maintenance. All these projects are at different levels of completion.

For instance, the 147km dualization of the Mfon-Obudu road which at some point was used by the opposition in the state to mock the governor and his government has recorded huge progress in recent times.

Just about a few months ago, the social media was awash with news that the administration has abandoned the project which is estimated to cost about N35 billion. The accusation was occasioned by the  dusty nature of the road from earth work. The opposition went as far as tagging it "Ayade Powder".

Considering the lean financial position of the state, the mockery at some point was widely talked about on social media as many wondered how the state which before Ayade came on board was struggling to pay salary could finance such a capital project.


However, Ayade's guts, courage and determination to take up projects that were considered unrealistic and impossible is paying off as the project once given labels is gradually wearing a new look.

The project which is the longest road project embarked by any governor in the history of the state  is currently undergoing asphalting between Obanliku and Obudu and Yala, /Ogoja.

This development has however not gone unnoticed as residents and motorists have showered praises on the governor for the dualization initiative and the efforts thus far.

A commercial driver, Mr. Stephen Agbe said that Ayade has shut the mouths of his critics including himself.

Agbe who spoke in pidgin English said: "To be very honest with you, even me doubted Governor Ayade's sincerity in completing this project. I used to be one of the people criticizing the governor for embarking on this kind of project because we felt that we didn't have the money to fund it but today the story is different. With what I have seen in some parts, honestly, Ayade has done well for us and I want to thank him and all the people who have worked with him to achieve this."

Fidel Ashinetiang, a 43-year-old man who operates a drinking joint beside the road in Obudu said despite all the discomfort and inconveniences occasioned by the project, he was resolute and confident that it would surely end in praise for Ayade.

He added that people should understand that no development in any part of the world come without destruction and as such, those who were making negative comments against the governor for embarking on the project should try and see the overall benefits of some decisions and policies of government before condemning.

In his words: "I think I'm one of the persons that was so affected negatively by this project. As you know, my bar was just beside the old road. It was brought down and to be sincere, the compensation I was paid was not commensurate with what I used to set up this new one. I have suffered dust like every other person but I never said anything negative about this project because I understand that any development usually come with destruction.

"All those who have been making negative comments against the governor because of the destruction that came with the project should know that even America, before it got to the level it is today, people made sacrifices. I'm confident that it won't end with the areas completed so far, the entire project would be completed and commissioned soon."

Timothy Adie, another commuter who spoke with our reporter however said he has bought many tires and has visited mechanic shops for repairs too frequently since the commencement of the project.

Adie, however, commended Gov. Ayade for the efforts and urged him to continue to work hard to replicate the progress recorded in some parts in other areas that are yet to asphalted.

"I can't count the number of times I was visiting the mechanic shop or change tires when the project first commenced. But today, I've gotten used to driving on the road, especially now that some parts have become express highway.

"I want to thank our governor for the project. This road that you see him repairing and expanding today was constructed by Sujin, a company that is not even in existence again and maybe even older than the governor. Our population has increased and more and more people including even Federal College of Education, Obudu students are riding vehicles today. So it was necessary that the road be dualized to accommodate more cars.

"I'm not just talking about me but my opinion reflects that of many because I interact with people everyday. People are happy. Even those who used to call it Ayade dust, Ayade powder and other funny names are surprised at the level of work so far. I will only appeal to the governor to put more efforts to see that the entire project is completed."
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