By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent Follow @NaijaJonathan
The maiden flight of Cross River State carrier, CaliAir may come sooner than expected with Equatorial Guinea the likely destination.
Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade Wednesday in Calabar said the state will explore and strengthen its relationship with that country especially in areas of maritime and aviation.
“I think that there are a great opportunities and areas for collaboration between Cross River State and Equatorial Guinea in aviation, maritime as well as commercial activities. If any other opportunity exists, quickly we must take advantage of it,” said Mr. Ayade when he received the new Consul General of the Country to the state, Mr. Salvador Manuel Edjang in his office in Calabar
Mr. Edjang had visited officially to present his patent credentials from the Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea which introduces and certifies him as the new Consul General of that Country in the state.
Mr. Ayade continued: “In our first two years, we have come under heat because we are just a new government trying to commence work. Now we are stabilizing. It is time to actually look beyond the borders of Nigeria and focus squarely on Equatorial Guinea. I think truly truly, that is where the relationship should start from.
“That is why even our proposed airline, Cali Air; we are planning actually to actually take off from Calabar and land in Equatorial Guinea. So, it is a great relationship that we shall develop and deepen to increase the beneficial relationship between the two parties, not the countries, not the two states but between the two parties.”
Equatorial Guinea has five functional airports of which three have international status. Meanwhile, Cross River State has an international airport and an airstrip.
And, Mr. Ayade who said more business will be discussed in their private session; enjoined the new Consular General and his wife to try out the local delicacies. He wondered why the country did not participate in the annual Carnival Calabar despite being very close neighbors.
“We want to use this opportunity to express shock that other countries as far as America, Brazil they come all the way to Calabar for the annual Carnival. So, I am surprised that Equatorial Guinea, our sister state (sic), our brother even in native dialect in our African heritage, we will feel you should participate as a country in this 2018 Carnival,” Ayade said.
Earlier in his remarks, Mr. Edjang commended the Cross River State Government and wished the Federal government a happy new year as he brought greetings and peace brotherhood from the government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.
The state had announced in September 2016, its intention to partner with the Dana group to float an airline. However, since then, very little has been heard of the project till date.