by crossriverwatch admin
Palpable excitement mixed with prayers pervades the atmosphere in Ogoja the northern Senatorial District of Cross River State following the listing of Ogoja State among the eighteen approved for creation by the National Conference.
A cross section of people in the six local government areas that form the Senatorial District who spoke with CrossRiverWatch said though the state is long overdue for creation, they are still happy and hopeful that the five decade- long expectation will be realized hopefully before 2015.
“I donated an office for the Ogoja State Movement some years back when most people felt that the hope of the Ogoja nation for a state of its own is deem and unrealizable but we kept praying and our hopes have been alive that one day the Ogoja State dream will become a reality and this is the time and with God on our side it will come to pass before the end of 2015” Chief Monkom, popularly called Omo Bright said.
According to him, Ogoja has the land mass and the resources to sustain a state and contribute meaningfully to the economy of Nigeria. “We have the land mass, the natural resources, the manpower and all that is needed to make a state viable and also contribute to the economic development of the nation”.
Mr. Felix Arukwu, a transporter said the expectation of the people of Ogoja will not be cut short this time so that the people of the area will also enjoy the dividends of federalism like other ethic nationalities in the Nigerian federation.
“General Ukpo missed it when he failed to prevail on his boss, General Ibrhahim Babangida to create Ogoja State when others were created but thank God he is in the National Conference and this is a veritable opportunity to tell the people of Ogoja that he is a true Ogoja man by ensuring that whatever number is created or passed through the hurdle, Ogoja is among them”.
Mr. Augustine Ogar, a politician in Obudu said the news of the inclusion of Ogoja State among those recommended for creation by the National Conference is a welcome development and calls for continued prayers by the people so that it will be a reality. “We should pray that once the National Conference hands over the report to President Goodluck Jonathan, he will immediately sponsor a bill for the ratification of the states by the National Assembly as anything short of that will not be acceptable by the people of Ogoja because we have waited for too long for a state of our own”
According to Ogar, the creation of Ogoja state will bring great joy to the people of as more political opportunities, job openings and business activities will be created for the people of Ogoja. “Ogoja State will be one of the most viable states in the country and we are expecting that will come to be a reality during our generation.” He said.
Miss Charity Abang, a student of the Cross River State University of Technology said if Ogoja State is created, the school will be expanded to become a full fledged institution and the journey undertaken by students to study in Calabar will be reduced.
“A situation where a student has to spend over five hours to Calabar to do get one thing or the other addressed in the main campus will no more be there because the campus here will become a full fledged university, we are praying for Ogoja State to be a reality”.
According to Hon. John Gaul, member representing Abi State Constituency in the Cross River State House of Assembly, “I Read with great joy and happiness about the proposal to create Ogoja State out of present Cross River State. Ogoja is the oldest colonial districts yet to become a state. I Still remember from my history notes that the current Ebonyi state with Afikpo division were under Ogoja. People are talking about financial sustainability of the state when created. I think Ogoja will do better than Ebonyi, Nasarawa, Gombe, Jigawa, or Zamfara states. The people of Northern Cross River State deserve this new state long ago. I hope it is finally created before May 2015. If that happens, it will be very interesting. Most of those consulting to be Governor of present Cross River State will need a new agenda. Hmmm…This will be really interesting to see new aspirants for Governor of Ogoja State.”
But in the opinion of Canada based Cross Riverian, Obasesam Okoi, “If Ogoja State becomes reality, the new state will be among the poorest in Nigeria unless we develop a strong leadership capacity to drive progress in every sector of the economy. There are several reasons for this. First, University of Calabar will belong to Cross River. Two, the engineering and technological arm of CRUTECH will belong to Cross River. Third, the College of Health Technology will belong to Cross River. Forth, Akamkpa campus of CRUTECH will belong to Cross River. Fifth, there will be no technological manpower to drive the new economy, and building new universities will be too expensive in the short and medium term. The Institute of Technology in Ugep would play an important role in the new economy, though for now it’s a mirage.
“Sixth, all the banks are clustered in Calabar. Seventh, the industrial economy is located in Akamkpa, Odukpani and Calabar. The new state will be an agrarian state. Also, there are no incentives to attract investors in the short and medium term. Public Sector employment will be dominant and many qualified university graduate will still be vulnerable due to limited job opportunities and the usual ethnic politics. One way to remedy this problem is for the new government to create an attractive environment for well educated, skillful and experienced Cross Riverians in Europe and North America to return and contribute in driving the technological and socioeconomic capacity of Ogoja State. If our leaders had visions beyond themselves the new state will not lack any capacity. My advice is that young people should make sure they get the required education and skills to drive Ogoja State if it becomes a reality.”
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