By CrossRiverWatch Admin
It is true that man has not been able to subdue the natural elements under his absolute control in spite of advancement in science and technology in all spheres; yet with the same tools, he has brought some improvements and comfort to mankind with the three basic necessities of life still paramount in spite of his achievements.
Besides man’s invention and mass production of weapons/instrument of mass destruction, improvement in the areas of medicine/pharmacy, agro allied industries, construction industries and the related fields, industrial/housing designs etc. etc. still boil down to the need for man to have food/medicine, shelter/housing or roof over his head and clothing to cover his nakedness and provide him with warm.
It is from this premise that an unbiased logical conclusion can be adduce to the importance of the array of projects being undertaking by the administration of Senator Ben Ayade in Cross River State, the projects nexus to the eventual industrialization of the state and the needed socioeconomic advancement of the people of Cross River of the present and the future generations.
There is no doubt that from inception the various projects and programmes being undertaking by Governor Ayade now were systematically conceived and mapped out for execution within the expected eight years of the current administration, though understandable hiccups here and there and deliberate distraction which are normal slowed down the tempo and the aggressiveness with which Senator Ayade wanted his vision to be implemented, nevertheless, works on the various sites have since gathered momentum and are now on speed lane going.
Ayade’s Signature Projects (the 275 kilometer six lane super highway from Bakassi to Bekwarra and the Bakassi Deep seaport) which were announced on the day of Ayade’s inauguration as governor have now received vibrancy with the securing of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Documents for the projects from the Federal Ministry of Environment after a prolonged distraction.
Contributing to the totality of the entire development which Ayade projects are meant to achieved, the super highway and the deep seaport are designed to provide an evacuation route from the deep seaport to the northern part of Nigeria, Chad and Niger republics as well as to the western Nigeria through the eastern part and to the republic of Cameroon up to the Central African republic (CAR), using the Trans Africa Highway corridor, thereby not only linking the said landlocked countries to the seaport in Calabar but also connecting them by road.
The signature projects when completed will not only boost the foreign earning profile of Cross River state and Nigeria but will equally bolster intra-Africa trade profile, as a World bank study some few years indicates that there will be a 25 percent increase in trade among African nations if there is just 10 percent reduction in the cost of transportation, a role which the signature projects will certainly play when the massive seaport and road infrastructure is completed to complement the existing ones.
It is based on the same spirit that the Deputy Director General of World Trade Organization (WTO), Valentine Rugwabiza, in a speech delivered at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, on April 12, 2012, asserted that, “with the right regulatory frameworks and political will, the potentials for trade among African countries could be unlocked and contribute tremendously to the growth and development goals of the continent”.
To this end the multiplier effect of the signature projects on the socioeconomic development of Cross River and Nigeria in term of employment creation, improvement in living standard, thereby guaranteeing longevity, assisting the people to build robust capital base for tomorrow, and ensuring a solid foundation for industrial revolution, will also be positively felt across the continent, especially West Africa, as these projects will undoubtedly enhance the competitiveness of not just Cross River and Nigeria but the entire West Africa in the global markets.
The very massive and breathtaking Cross River Garment Factory currently employing close to 2,000 persons, especially women (widows) and with the capacity to employ over 3,000 is another well conceived and executed project that fits perfectly well into Ayade’s dream of Cross River and of transforming the state into a self reliance state and also an industrial hub in West Africa, as products from the factory have already hit the market.
In his recent officially visit to Cross River, the then Acting President (now falls back to his Vice President’s position after the return of President Buhari), Professor Yemi Osinbajo said that “Calabar Garment factory is an outstanding example of how to create jobs quickly. We hope it can be replicated in other states”
Deliberately planned to perfectly complement and provide not just the raw materials for the garment factory but also to create another avenue for jobs for the teeming population, promote the agricultural sector, the 1000 hectares Woda Cotton farm in Yala local Government Area of the state is set to roll out 30 tonnes of cotton by November this year. A Textile industrial park is also being planned for Calabar by a Chinese firm, Ruyi Science and Technology Group, that will have the capacity to produce 300 million meters of fabrics per annum, as the company will also gin and weave.
Besides providing jobs for the people, the garment factory/textile park and the cotton farm will provide array of persons with business opportunities in the aforementioned and related areas, helping to bring down prices of garments/textile materials, increasing the volume of trade within Africa as well as increasing the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and the Per capita Income of the individual.
In the area of health, Governor Ayade has gone ahead to ensure the passage of the AyadeCare Health programme into law where citizens of the state and other Nigerians living in Cross River can access health care with just a token contribution of One Thousand (N1,000.00) only on monthly basis, but can contribute more.
To eliminate Neglected Tropical diseases (NTD) by the year 20220, the Ayade administration has earmarked five million US Dollar annually to tackle the problem, while the Cross River state inaugural Health summit to translate health policies and plans into action has been held in Calabar.
In the same vein, work on the Calabar Pharmaceutical Company (CALAPHARM) is progressively ongoing. The CALAPHARM when completed will produce producing essential and basic medicines in World Health Organization (WHO) list from its state-of-the-art automated machines that will have the capacity to supply drugs to the entire country.
On the CALAPHARM, Governor Ayade had stressed that, “with the coming up of the company, Cross River state will soon become the leading light in drugs production for the south south region. The philosophy behind the setting up of this factory was that with AyadeCare which is the Cross River State HealthCare Insurance Policy aimed at providing cheap and affordable medical support services to our people, it was pertinent that we have uncontrollable quantum of drugs available to us at all times to sustain the programme.
“This is to tell you that in partnership with the world best, you should expect nothing less than the quality, with our feed ingredients coming from India, USA and Pakistan, because these are where we find the best in term of value and quality of all generic drugs”.
To harness the vast natural resources of the state for the overall benefit and development of the state, the first phase of N1.6Billion banana farms for the planting of selected species of banana for processing into chips, fruit juice, and banana sweets in Akamkpa has started while the second phase will be located in Boki; just as cocoa processing factory to turn cocoa into finish products like cocoa butter, cake, powder and liqueur, chocolate etc. is also part of the array of Ayade development blueprint for Cross River.
Similarly, a Chinese firm, Wuhan Longfecund Agriculture Development Company Limited has concluded a pact with Cross river state for the establishment of a Feed mill and Sweet Maize farm in the state worth more than Eight Million US dollars to provide gluten syrup for our industries and the feed mill for poultry, sweet maize for salads and for export.
While the Rice City to produce rice seedlings employing modern technology that will be capable of supplying the continent with rice seedlings is located at the Ayade Industrial Park with other companies like the garment factory, CALAPHARM along the Jonathan Bypass, Calabar, an ultra-modern completely automated rice mill is sited at Ogoja to harness and process the vast rice cultivated in the northern senatorial district of the state and other parts of Cross River for local consumption and export.
Three quarries industries are planned for the state, one for each of the senatorial district, cement factory for Akamkpa to harness the vast high grade limestone deposit, ceramic and tarpaulin factories, while salt industry is equally planned for Yala to tap the huge salt deposit in the area. Again, a team of renowned international geologists from China have discovered uranium, manganese, marbles, bauxite, iron ore and tourmaline among others in commercial quantity in Cross River state, and exploration will soon commence to add impetus to the Ayade economic blueprint and industrialization drive.
Fully aware of the quantum of waste being generated daily in Cross River and Calabar in particular, and the reality of astronomical increase on the waste to be generated as the years goes by coupled with increased population, industries as Calabar is taking the central stage as the industrial hub of Nigeria, plan to convert waste to wealth is part of Ayade’s development agenda with a pact sealed already with the Federal Ministry of science and Technology in collaboration with the Council of Entrepreneurs for Africa (COEFA) to transform waste generated in the state into wealth.
Similarly, to fight carbon emission war, promote and sustain the climate change agenda of the global community and in the spirit of ensuring a clean and green environment, the establishment of Eco-Bricks factory and fanciful hand bags from waste plastic bags, sachet water bags and disposable plastic bottles is inclusive of Ayade elaborate development plan for Cross River. It is with the same reason to fight climate change and also help keep the environment clean that Ayade established the Cross River State Green Sherriff which is doing its responsibility with utmost diligent.
To guarantee a 24-hour power supply in Calabar that is gradually assuming a new status as an industrial hub, a 21 megawatt power plant is 95 percent completed along parliamentary extension road, Calabar to supply constant electricity to the city and the environs, while a combined 90 megawatt hydro-electricity to be generated from the Agbokim water falls, Kwa falls, and the canalization and channelization of either Ikom, Itigidi, Calabar rivers, with each carrying 30 megawatts capacity has been designed to fit into the Cross River state development pigeonhole.
The increasing population and urbanization, and expansion of Calabar and other key towns in cross River, Senator Ayade has long foreseen this challenge, hence has fashioned out a solution by ensuring the designing and building of additional modern cities, one in each senatorial district, (CALAS VEGAS) in the South, CENTRICOT, Central and Northstradam, Northern senatorial district, with planned towns in each of the 18 Local government Areas linking the 275 kilometers six lane super highway. MoUs for the New Cities have already been signed by the Cross River government with the relevant firms.
With the increase urbanization, industrialization and inflow of persons from other states to key into the development opportunities in the state, there is the tendency for an increased rate of crime as compared to what used to be obtained few years back, hence the need for an aggressive security innovation to tackle the challenge. It is based on this reality that Governor Ayade ensured the passing into law the Cross River Homeland Security to play a complimentary role to the Nigeria Police of watching the neighborhood.
Blessings of the setting up of the cross River Homeland Security are already being felt especially in Calabar as recently residents of Calabar Metropolis expressed happiness and testifies that the Homeland security have provided them with secured environment and safe transit. Besides, the state government has on several occasions provided the security agents with vehicles and other logistics to ensure a crime free environment for the people of the state.
Though having his hands full with industrialization, the signature and other projects, Governor Ayade is not oblivion of the importance of network of roads connecting major areas in the state, even with communities outside the state. It is based on this fact that the Ayade’s administration awarded a N31.7 Billion contract for the dualization of Mfom, Okpoma, Okuku, Imaje, Bekwarra, Obudu and Obanliku highway, with work ongoing on top gear; just as the Cross River State Executive Council has approved N3 Billion contract for the construction of the 27 kilometres Boki East-West road to link the east and western Boki people, and work on the project is progressively ongoing.
Governor Ayade equally appreciates the vital role which airlines and shipping lines play in a fast emerging economy and industrial hub like Cross River and Calabar in particular, and as such has float Cross River own airline, CallyAir to airlift tourists from other parts of Nigeria to the tourism sites in Cross River and to the famous Carnival Calabar, while the state own Shipping line will focus mainly on cargo services, particularly along the shoreline of the Gulf of Guinea.
Granting education the prime place it deserves, a Canadian standard School is to be establish in Obudu by the Senator Ayade led administration in the state, provided scholarships, facilities in our schools, while the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) has adjust governor Ayade as the best Governor on Basic Education.
It is therefore clear that from the above facts and ongoing projects and those about to be commence by the state government, the Senator Ayade vision for the development of Cross River is total and encompassing, cutting across from the simplest basic needs of the people in rural areas living simple lives to those dwelling in towns and cities carrying out complex businesses, entrepreneurship and professional callings.
Indeed, Ayade is driving an all-encompassing development in Cross River which involves aggressive rapid socioeconomic and minds bulging industrialization programme. A positive attitudinal reorientation of Cross Riverians to imbibe a new philosophical and psychological world view, connect themselves to an elevated psychic realm to each individually and collectively radiate attractive and invigorating aura that will give them confident to stamp their authority wherever they find themselves.
This is the new thinking and ideology that Ayade development drive and audacious spirit requires every Cross Riverians to embrace. These projects and programmes of Ayade, indeed holds high prospect for the people of Cross River State and Nigeria as a whole.
Solomon Asha is a media aide to Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State