It is generally agreed that the biggest currency in leadership is trust. A leader who enjoys the trust of his subjects or followers is bound to perform optimally, but he who is detested and never welcome hardly makes any appreciable impact. But trust is earned and never got on a platter of gold. Therefore, conscientious leaders try their best to earn the respect and trust of their people by living true to their promises.
Governor Ben Ayade had in his first tenure earned the respect and trust of the people of Cross River because of his ability to keep to his campaign promises and deliver on good governance. On assuming office in May 2015, Prof. Ayade hit the ground running and immediately laid a solid and enduring foundation for growth of the state, through the recalibration of the economic architecture of the state. Conscious of the fact that no modern society thrives in the absence of industrialisation, the governor initiated an ambitious and elaborate industrial blueprint to make the state highly industrialised and economically independent thereby creating a path to lift Cross Riverians out of the woods.
Hence, in four years, the digital administration of Prof. Ayade has created history in Cross River because no past regime has achieved as much as what we have witnessed in industrialization, through the signature projects in an economy that was wavering and even went into recession.
What is so spectacular about the Ayade’s industrial revolution. Yes, before the 2019 general elections, Ayade had built over 13 world class industries with many others at different stages of completion. As at today, all the 18 local governments areas of the State have at least one project, initiated, executed and completed by the Ayade administration.
Some of these includes: The Cross River State garment factory, which has so far employed over 3000 workers, the rice seedlings and seed multiplication centre, the Calabar pharmaceutical company (calapharm), Cross River toothpick factory at Yakurr currently producing at full capacity, cocoa processing plant in ikom, the vitaminzed rice mill in Ogoja, the British/Canadian International school in Obudu, the noodles manufacturing plant, currently at an advanced stage of completion, , Cross River Livestock/Poultry farm limited, Calachika processing plant being established to process 6000birds per hour all located along the President Goodluck Jonathan bypass here in Calabar.
There is also piles and pylon factory in Akamkpa, designed to fabricate piles and pylon for the construction of Bakassi deep seaport. The 20000 hectare Ayade industrial Park which is already completed. We also have the Banana plantation at Odukpani.
The list is simply endless as the Ayade administration has equally established organice fertilizer plant and bag production plant. There is also the 23 megawatt power plant at parliamentary extension in Calabar. The power plant is completed and ready to evacuate power but debilitating and unsettling bureaucratic bottleneck by federal agencies concerned have so far stalled it.
It must be noted that the power plant was built with the industries at the industrial park in mind, it is to service those industries. Let me therefore use this occasion to appeal once again to the Federal Government to prevail on the agencies concerned to immediately commence the process of evacuating power from the plant.
Of course, industrialisation cannot take place without a functional transportation system. With this in mind, the government of Governor Bem Ayafe embarked on a massive construction and rehabilitation of roads across the state. These include the 143 kilometer dualization of mfom-yala-bekwarra-obudu-obanliku road is currently being asphalted, there is also the BokiEast/West Road, the Boje bridge connecting East and West Boki, the Ukelle-Wanikade road in Yala, the Bombur camp 2 road Akamkpa. Also currently being undertaken is the 15km Calabar-Odukpani dualisation.
Most importantly, the 275km Superhighway has effectively taken off and in line with the administrations resolve not to leave any abandoned or uncompleted project for succeeding governments, this project will be completed and commissioned before the end of Governor Ayade’s second term in office. Significantly is the Bakassi deep seaport, which is a major priority signature project. This project will also be completed in record time because of its potency and economic benefits to the state and indeed Nigeria at large.
Not oblivious of the fact that health is wealth, Ayade has invested hugely in the health sector in such a manner that no administration has done before. As we speak, the government has embarked on the construction of three specialist hospitals each in southern,Central and Northern Senatorial districts of the State. This is in addition to other ground breaking policies and programs of our administration, which earned the state UNICEF’s recognition as one of only four states with the highest child survival rate in Nigeria. On account of consistent investment in the health sector, there was also the Federal Government and world bank ranking of Cross River as one of the six best performing States in healthcare in the country.
Education being the bedrock of every civilisation, and Ayade being a professor of repute himself has placed premium on re-engineering education in the state. The administration has in the last four years improved the quality and standard of infrastructure in schools and colleges, building standard classrooms, laboratories and equipping them with modern facilities. The government is currently constructing in Biase, a world standard continuous teacher’s training institute. The institute will improve competence of learning.
Consequent upon this, the state has lip frog from her chequered position at number 27th and 30th in the National Examination council (NECO) and WAEC recorded growth in education respectively, Cross River has in four years of the Ayade’s administration occupied the enviable 2nd position twice and 11th in NECO and WAEC respectively.
Giving the next four years, Cross River under Prof. (Sen.) Ben Ayade would become an eldorado in the country.