By CrossRiverWatch Admin Follow @crossriverwatch
The Government and the good people of Cross River State as has become the norm right from the administration of Mr. Donald Duke, closed the year 2017 with the largest, colorful, thrilling, and most famous street party in Africa, the Carnival Calabar. Last year’s edition of the Carnival Calabar has come and gone but has gone down as the most attended in the history of the festival. By my own estimation, over three million persons from Nigeria, Africa and the world participated in the event.
Indubitably, the huge participation in the Carnival Calabar was made possible courtesy of the innovation, drive, and color which an equally purpose-driven, focus and articulated super-sonic Governor of Cross River State, Senator Ben Ayade has brought to bear in the whole festival. The festival has come and gone but the success of the event still reverberates and is a talk of the town among carnival lovers.
Last year’s Carnival Calabar and Festivals provided an ample opportunity, more than ever before for hoteliers, and other business persons across the state and neighboring states like Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Abia, Enugu etc. to relocate to the ancient city of Calabar, the Cross River capital to carry out quick business and make quick cash for themselves, while the tourism industry of the state also takes a great leap within the period.
All things being equal, we have cruised successfully from the inception of this administration in 2015 to 2018, the third year of the first tenure of Governor Ayade’s mandate. This writer views 2018 as a year of great leap towards the completion of some humongous projects being undertaken by the administration, while other projects would be taken to advanced stages of completion.
It is the firm belief of this writer that several Ginormous projects of the Senator Ben Ayade led leadership in Cross River State are going to be completed and commissioned in 2018, at most, first quarter of 2019 by the grace of God.
Justifying this writer’s position and analysis, Governor Ayade opened the year with the commissioning of an ultra-modern, highly sophisticated, dynamic multi-million Naira drilling rig which is capable of drilling a standard bore-hole to the standard depth in hours. Digitally complex and suitable to our complex varied, landmass purchased by his administration for the Cross River State Rural Water supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) to take water to the door steps of Cross Riverians, ensure it provide bore-holes to 500 communities yearly.
Indications are equally strong and overwhelming that the workaholic governor of Cross River State will successfully complete and commission the Ayade Industrial Complex which houses the rice seedling plant; the Calabar Pharmaceutical Company (CALAPHARM) all located along the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan bypass, as well as the multi-billion Naira 21.3 megawatt Independent Calabar Power Plant located along Parliamentary Extension, proactively and deliberately initiated to not only drive the industrialization agenda of his government and bolster economic viability of the state but also to make the first capital city of Nigeria the first, to have 24/7 uninterrupted power supply in Nigeria.
The automated Rice mill in Ogoja Local Government Area, and the Cocoa processing factory located at Nkum, Ikom Local Government Area of the state are equally expected to be completed and commissioned within the year or not later than the first quarter of 2019.
Committed to put an end to the perennial grueling suffering of drivers, passengers and commuters along the Calabar-Odukpani Junction axis of the Calabar-Ikom-Ogoja and Calabar-Ikot Ekpene Federal Highway, the Cross River State Governor, Senator Ayade has commenced work for the dualization of the said portion of the road. This project which brought commendations and excitements from Cross Riverians and other Nigerians is one of the projects to be completed and commissioned by the end of 2018.
Another very important landmark project that is expected to be completed and commissioned this year is the over NGN33 Billion and approximately 148 kilometers dualization of Mfom – Okpoma – Imaje – Abuochiche – Obudu – Obudu Mountain Resort road, which cuts across the five Local Government Areas of the northern senatorial district of the state, expected to lubricate and bolster the commercial viability of the area.
The 27 kilometers Kanyang – Kataba – Boje – Onijafang road known as the Boki East – West road which cuts across thick forest, and is awarded at over NGN4 Billion, is for the first time in history of the area to provide a clear access between the people of eastern Boki and western Boki. It is equally another very important project with lucid indications that it would be completed and commissioned this year.
In the area of Agro-Allied industry, the NGN1.16 billion Banana factory at Akamkpa to convert different species of the state’s banana into finished products like banana fruit juice, banana sweets, chips etc. for local consumption, Nigerian market and export is one of the projects expected to be completed and commissioned at the end of this year or by the first quarter of 2019.
In the same vein, the 105 hectares of land banana farm with Mexico and Costa Rican technology, species that are resistant to crops diseases in Nigeria, whose bunches will weigh between 35-40 kilograms with a cable train running –all – round the plant to ensure standard processing, packaging for export to Germany, Europe and other countries is expected to have its first harvest this year while actual export will commence in 2019.
It is also expected that the Canadian School in Obudu Local Government Area will be completed and commissioned for admission to prospective students from across the state, Nigeria, Africa and the world, while the cotton cultivation farm in Woda, Yala Local Government Area meant to feed the Cross River Garment factory in Calabar which had already produced its first harvest last year is expected to increase its output this year to provide a solid foundation for the establishment of a textile industry by a Chinese firm, Ruyi Science and Technology Group in Cross River State.
Among gargantuan projects whose works will move in leaps and bounds to the surprise of the Governor’s keen admirers and followers as well as his critics will include the signature projects, which comprises of the 275 kilometers six lane Super Highway, an evacuation corridor stretching the length of the state to the northern part of Nigeria and the Bakassi Deep Sea Port to serve the entire north-east part of the country, part of Cameroon and landlocked countries like Chad and Niger republics.
The other projects whose work will most likely move in an expeditious manner this year include the Calabar Haulage city in Odukpani, Yahe – Wanakom – Wanikade – Wanihem – Benue state border road, Calabar Virgin City Project, the various hydro-electric power projects, several urban roads/streets and feeder rural roads, quarry factories, and the new cities in the three senatorial districts of the state, among several others.
Before now, Governor Ayade, had built and completed the largest garment factory in Africa which was commissioned by Professor Yemi Osinbajo, while he was the Acting President. Ayade equally completed the Mono-rail project and the Calabar International Convention Centre (CICC) which was inherited from the past administration of Senator Liyel Imoke and was commissioned by Osinbajo while also serving in the capacity of an Acting President.
Plus or minus; it is so lucid that the administration of Senator Ben Ayade is going to complete and commission many projects of monumental economic importance to the people of the state and Nigeria as a whole this year.
Looking at the economic viability of these projects, it becomes clear that Governor Ayade’s determination to implement to the latter, the Federal government’s zero oil roadmap, reinforced by his personal unquenchable desire to transform Cross River into an industrial hub, provide jobs to the teeming youths and touch every aspect of the state in a positive way is the best, and a direction that Cross River need go at this period of its history to be able to stand tall among comity of Nigeria states and the global community in the 21st century.
At the end the most important thing is not how many projects were completed in the first, or second year of a leader’s tenure, but that projects with multi-dimensional benefits to the overall well-being of the people and the economy of the state are commissioned within any leader’s tenure of office is what matters.
Happy New Year and god bless Cross Riverians!
Solomon Asha is a Special Assistant to Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River on Media and Publicity. Follow @SolomonAsha
NOTE:Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Solomon Asha, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.