Recently, I went through some posts about the Agricultural revolution of Cross River State through the relentless efforts of Prof Ben Ayade, and the writers downplaying such great zeal of work. While some alleged that the ongoing projects in the state are personal projects of His Excellency the governor, others speculate that the giant projects will put Cross River into big debts and thus, affect the state in the future.
To begin with, there is no State nor individual who wants to go into profitable venture, that doesn’t borrow. Borrowing and lending are the hallmark of modern business, either in the private sector driven business or what we can call “government-in-Business (GIB).
Governments all over the world must borrow to finance their capital budget so as not to depend on the generated revenue before work is being done. We have seen that several times, the Federal government depends its annual budget mostly on borrowing, both domestic and external. Even big conglomerates and businessmen borrow, Aliko Dangote also borrows to stay in business. What we should do is ask about the judicious utilization of the borrowed funds, which already is seen in the many projects ongoing in the state.
I am not holding brief for the governor, and I’m not implying that I am privy to documents of these projects, but as one who has followed and is involved in the architecture of the Rice factory, having taken personal voyage to have first hand information about the project, I see Cross River becoming one and first of the States in Nigeria to run such a huge investment in rice production and its value chain.
Although they may be vague areas where we need to ask pertinent questions, that does not invalidate the fact that we’re being taken seriously as a State, both by the Federal government and foreign investors.
Some have also alleged that the constant signing of memoranda of Understanding MOUs, during the many foreign trips of the governor, has nothing to show. But from my personal witness, I was present when a team of investors from World Bank took a tour to inspect the projects. When they got to the Rice factory which I was practically there, I saw the surprise and amazement at what they were experiencing. While some took rounds to see the machines and production going on, others just exclaimed as they took pictures joyously. I even overheard some members of the delegation equating Cross River factory with the one in Malaysia, where they may also visit soon.
It may not be correct also to say that the state is in debt because, the project is based on Public/Private Partnership (PPP) where the Federal government is also an investor. As a result of the Federal government Agricultural Revolution program, and having seen such ready-set position of Cross River State in that regard, it was not difficult to see the government of Muhammadu Buhari investing in the state. Only recently, the efforts of the governor Ben Ayade paid off with the investment of over 3billion in the state to supply seedlings to other States in the Southern region. This is a huge investment that no single project can command such attraction.
Yes, the projects in the state are business oriented, they are established to generate funds and will as well create employment opportunities for the citizens of the old capital city.
Now, whether the projects are personal benefits of Gov Ayade, time and future will tell. I think the governor is too purified and enlightened enough to do transactions using the state funds for such projects. His personal ideologies of being in business should certainly give him the zeal of making the state a business hub and making profit for the Internally Generated Revenues IGR.
Needless to say, we all are part of the state. Let’s not kill it because we’re not the ones on the throne. Let’s not politicize everything.
Let’s work for a better Cross River.