Culled from Vanguard
Erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Emmanuel Ibeshi in this interview reviews affairs in the party and speaks on his quest for the governorship of Cross River State.
Why are you still interested in the Cross River State governorship race? Have you not lost touch with the state given your long absence from it?
Let me put the records straight. I have never been out of touch with goings on in the state. So losing touch with the state is completely out of the question. If being out of touch means not being part of government in any tier since 2001 that I left office as National Publicity Secretary of PDP, you would still be wrong because I have served in various capacities of the party at the national level and also conducted leadership seminars for both the government and the party within and outside Nigeria. I would even emphasize the fact that being out of effective political office within this period has reinforced my interest in running for governorship given the insight of political and social capital that my wealth of experience within and outside government has garnered over the years.I will not sleep nor slumber until I lend my contribution to my people on how their livelihood can be improved.
What is your assessment of the outgoing administration of Governor Liyel Imoke?
I believe Senator Imoke is not being given the applause he deserves for what he has done within the past seven years of his administration. He probably will be accorded that praise when out of office. Then, a comparison on leadership abilities and qualities, which he is using to deftly manage the volatile socio-political economy of the state, will be magnified. You know his style depicts no glamour but his focus and sound judgment gets what he wants done achieved to the letter.Equivalent capacity. Knowing his capacity to be stoic, the challenges he has gone through these past seven years as governor both political, financial and health wise without squealing and managing the ship of state without crash-landing, it can only take a successor with equivalent capacity, less drama and the fear of God to take over the baton and run Cross River State the way it is now.
Cross River State lost Bakassi Peninsula to the Republic of Cameroun and consequently 76 oil wells to Akwa Ibom State. If you become governor, will you revisit these issues?
Foremost in my mind upon resumption of office is to resettle the displaced indigenes of Bakassi. The issue of Bakassi will always be a recurrent decimal in the history of Cross River State and Nigeria until the right thing is done and our brothers and sisters whose ancestral homes have been desecrated and businesses unwittingly terminated by the injustice done on the peninsula. The Bakassi issue gave rise to the 76 oil wells we lost to our sister state Akwa Ibom. I believe that both issues are related to an extent with the only difference being that one involves international arbitration while the other is national and requires internal persuasive abilities to cause two sister states to be more brotherly and willing to reach out with helping hands towards each other in resolving conflicts occasioned by unforeseen twists of fate. Notwithstanding, I plan to explore other natural resource potentials in the state to fill the loss of the oil wells which will include but not limited to solid minerals, salt deposits and allied natural endowments in the state.
What measures will your government put in place to shore up the revenue base of the state given the loss of the oil wells?
I will access all avenues of financial waste in assumption of office to create savings for the state. Primarily the Imoke administration had focused on infrastructural development, which they did very commendably. I will add value by concentrating more on human resource development. I have already outlined my economic recovery plan based on agriculture focusing on the creation of staple crop processing zones for export value. The value chain accruable to this blueprint will yield the shortest gestation period to get our economy straightened up and help the state not to depend wholly on federally generated income. This blueprint will not only change how business is done but will also affect our educational system which will require retraining our teeming unemployed graduates to fit into required vocational skills these Processing Zones will require and more importantly key into the newly developed Institute Of Management Technology at Ugep conceptualized by the Imoke administration.There will also be opportunities for skills in professional tourism enterprises that will sprout from the identified TOURISM PROFILE computed for all year attraction to Nigerians et all to encourage a holiday or leisure culture because of the packaging and infrastructure provided.
The debt profile of the State Government is on the high side occasioned by loans obtained to execute development projects. Won’t the repayment of these loans affect your programs as your administration will want to make its own mark too?
Debt profiles have never stopped businesses nor states from running, only bad cash flow projections premised on wrong credit analysis and investment portfolios. The job of a good manager is to reassess the debt burden, renegotiate with his creditors based on a circumspect credible investment projection convincing and doable in a specific economic clime.
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