By Kingsley Agim
Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefele and the Vice Chairman, National Food Security Council and Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, have spoken in glowing terms of the Ayade-led administration’s strides in industrialization and agricultural revolution.
The pair who were in Calabar for the assessment of Governor Ayade’s achievements in the agricultural sector with a view to developing areas of cooperation between the State and CBN, were left in awe after being conducted round the industrial park.
In his remarks, Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefele, stated: “I salute Prof. Ayade for creating an enabling environment for agriculture to thrive; and also sinking himself into the revolution of agricultural economy of the State.”
“The fact that agriculture is an important economic activity for majority of Cross River State indigenes is exciting, as it touches on the core of the CBN’s agenda for development finance, as well as food security,” Emefele continued.
The CBN boss stated that “as a country, we must grow what we eat and eat what we grow,” pointing out that Governor Ayade is a leading light in the attainment of such a feat.
Emefele, who acknowledged global economic challenges, quipped that rather than Nigeria to be grieving over dwindling oil revenue, the present situation provides a painful but indispensable opportunity to look inward in a bid to trigger economic growth and development.
He further point out that if the State can develop land in different zones, identify crops that farmers will be interested in cultivating, the CBN, through its Anchor Borrowers Programme will, within a short space of time, make funds available.
The CBN Governor concluded by reiterating that his visit is a demonstration of CBN’s preparedness to partner not only with the State Government, but also with Cross Riverians who are desirous to embrace agriculture as a business.
Also speaking, the Governor of Kebbi State and Vice Chairman, National Food Security Council, Senator Atiku Bagudu, recalled with pride how he accompanied President Muhammadu Buhari for the commissioning of the Rice Seed and Seedlings Processing Factory two years ago and was full of praise for what the project has become and other futuristic developments in the industrial park under the leadership of Sir Ben Ayade.
Senator Bagudu said such strides are testament to how “brilliant leadership can give hope and turn fortune around in a very short time.”
“This is Cross River that has suffered a lot in the last few decades from global politics that has reduced the size of our country through the ceding of Bakassi. This is a State that has lost oil wells. But this is a new Cross River State that is taking shape. This is the kind of State that we want to build; where, following from policy consistency, leadership can attend to matters that would better the citizenry,” Senator Bagudu stated.
Senator Bagudu said what his counterpart, Sir Ben Ayade is doing, will see Cross River State, within a short time, begin to export agricultural products which can rival what was gotten from oil.
In a brief remark, Sir Ben Ayade thanked the CBN Governor for the support and always being ready with all that concerns business development. Ayade also appreciated his Kebbi State counterpart for the encouragement concerning his agricultural programmes and projects.
The Ayade Industrial Park which has become a cynosure for both national and state governments, as well as investors, boasts of the largest single-floor Garment Factory in Africa, Ultra-modern Rice Seed and Seedlings Multiplication Factory, Calabar Pharmaceutical Company (CALAPHARM), Calabar Noodles Manufacturing Factory, Calabar Chicken Production Company, among others.