For Ayade, the Beat Never Stops By Chidi Onyemaizu

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His uncanny appearance on this day of his inauguration at the U. J. Esuene Stadium, no doubt belied his latest mantra of ‘food on the table, hands to the plough’.
In his first term from 2015 to 2019, he provided food on the tables of Cross Riverians with the enlargement of his government with well over 6000 appointments. Now in second term, it is time to re-strategize for a more productive and focused service delivery.
Decked in a pair of blue jeans trousers on an ash coloured shirt and a workman hart perching on his back, Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade was clearly sending out a message to the effect that he was not going to be a boardroom governor in his second term.
Many were awestruck, some were puzzled, while others were less so, as they sought for answers.
Question like why would an otherwise fashionable, trendy governor appear that way on a day that was supposed to be his day perched visibly on the lips of the vast concourse of the august visitors who thronged the venue to behold the second coronation of the governor.
Governor Ayade’s sartorial outing was in sharp contrast to other governors- newly elected and returning ones- who were resplendent and flamboyant in their dressing for the same event.
Truth is, Professor Ayade was never in short supply of beautiful dresses. He does not lack them either. He was neither up for some kind of publicity stunt. He had no need of such outlandish pranks. His state and nation-wide popularity is rock-solid. So, why the strange and unsettling dress mode on an epoch making event?
The message: no luxury of time; second term is not for inanities but for work on the field; round the clock supervision of the numerous industrial and signature projects of his administration. He said he was eager to deliver on his Industrialisation drive 100 percent before he leaves the stage in 2023.
In his second term, the niceties of sitting in the office and poring over mountain of files would not be his preoccupation.
The governor said he has ceded the administrative machinery to his Deputy, Professor Ivara Esu while assuming the position of “Project Manager”.
With over 13 industries and numerous signature projects which he initiated in his first term scattered across the state- some completed and others in advanced stages of completion- “Project Manager ” which the governor said he will be in his second term finds meaning in his lightening inspection tours of the projects few minutes after his inauguration. Governor Ayade says he wants to ensure the projects’ completion before the expiration of his second term in 2023.
Telling, minutes after the end of the inauguration ceremony, Ayade departed the stadium for the industrial park located at the Goodluck Jonathan bye pass for inspection. Industries located at the park include the automated Calabar Rice Seedling and seeds multiplication factory, the first of it’s kind in Africa commissioned last June by President Muhammadu Buhari.
There are also the Calachika chicken processing plant which will process six thousand birds per hour both for local consumption and export; Calavita, a noodles producing factory, Cross River Garment Factory , with over 3,000 Cross Riverians already in its employ, Calapharm ( a pharmaceutical factory), Cosmetics and perfumery factory, among others.
A day after his inauguration, Governor Ayade was again girded for work. Leaving office at 11am, he spent the entire day touring projects. First, he led a team of foreign investors on an inspection tour of possible sites for the establishment of an LPG and fertiliser plant.
Professor Ayade later returned to the Rice city where he spent quality time witnessing the process of incubation and production of rice seedlings.
A burning passion for an industrialized Cross River evidently fuels governor Ayade’s energy in the course of project inspections. For example, after almost four hours of touring the rice factory- standing, walking non stop- the state’s number one citizen still braved the rain and the fast approaching darkness to oversee other industries in the vast industrial park to evaluate the progress of work.
Again, living up to his new designation of “Project Manager”, the governor was to endure five hours drive to Ogoja and Ikom in the northern and central zones of the state respectively, Friday, 31st June, that is, two days after inauguration, to inspect the ultra modern plants there- the vitaminised rice mill in Ogoja, corrugated roofing sheets factory also in Okpoma, in Yala Council Area and the Ikom cocoa processing plant.
The massive rice mill and the cocoa processing plants are about 95 percent completed with almost all the machineries installed.
Ayade’s immediate predecessor, Senator Liyel Imoke who was conducted round the mill was full of effusive praises for his successor, describing the facility as huge and phenomenal, expressing optimism that the industries will no doubt change the lot of the state.
In his inauguration speech, Governor Ayade said he would dedicate his time and energy to see to the crystallization of his industrial drive and signature projects.
“I will ensure that Cross River will become an industrialized state under my watch in spite of the ceding of oil wells, which was illegal. Cross River will grow into a self actualization state in my second term… “I will make sure that my entire signature projects and others will be completed, so that Cross River becomes fully industrialised as every local government will have at least one industry,” he said.
“In my second tenure, I will no longer be the governor, my deputy will be the acting governor while I will become the project manager of Cross River State,” he told his ecstatic audience.
So his dress mode on this day had all the imagery of his second term locked in them even long before his winding convoy made a grand entry into the stadium.

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