When on Friday, May 29, 2015, the Obudu born Senator Benedict Benyaushuye Ayade, an erudite Professor of Environmental Science was sworn-in as the third Governor of Cross River State from 1999 to date, he made it clear that he was going to undertake the construction of a dual super highway running the length of the state and the construction of a deep seaport, christened, “Signature Projects”.
Some few sceptics had doubted the veracity and honesty of the governor, telling those who cared to listen to them that the project was not going to see the light of the day.
This group of persons had felt elated and congratulated themselves and poop champagnes for the accuracy of their clairvoyance, when the Monday, September 21, 2015 earlier date for the ground breaking was shifted by President Muhammadu Buhari without giving a definite new date for the rescheduled ground breaking.
What matters to us now is not the wrong misrepresentations of those sceptics because they are found in every society, but that our dear President Buhari who is highly principled has given the government and people of Cross River State his words that the rescheduled ground breaking ceremony will now come up on Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at the ground breaking site, Nsan Community of Akamkpa.
It is also not an issue now that by Tuesday when President Buhari will be coming for the ground breaking ceremony of the super highway, more than 15 kilometers may have been cleared along the surveyed route where the highway will pass. As this article is going to press, heavy equipment for the commencement of construction have arrived Calabar as we are gradually approaching the dry season.
No man with a clear intention will doubt that the genuineness of the well conceived projects by Ayade has attracted the respect, Presidential handshake from President Muhammadu Buhari who is coming to carry out the ground breaking ceremony of the N700Billion road stretching the length of 260 kilometers from Calabar to Gakem, Bekwarra and to the famous Obudu Ranch Resort. The Funding architecture is based on Public Private Partnership (PPP) with 500Million Euros tabled by Broad Spectrum.
All necessary arrangements have already been concluded for the revered President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to perform the rescheduled ground breaking ceremony billed for Tuesday, October 20, 2015 in Calabar, the capital city of Cross River State.
One irrefutable reality which nobody can deny is that it is no mean task to win the confidence of a highly principled and anti-corruption crusader, number one citizen of Nigeria, President Buhari to consider Governor Ayade’s proposal and again included the ground breaking ceremony in his very busy schedule.
The 260 Super Highway which will have six lanes will have some very unique features including being the first with fiber cable, first with unlimited internet all the way and evacuation corridor to northern Nigeria, First with tunnel road, satellite antenna, first with no hill, valley and with street lights stretching 260 kilometers and with super strength apart from being an evacuation corridor to northern Nigeria.
The super highway when completed will have sub highway leading to all local government headquarters in the state, and will have fuelling stations and motels reaching 10 kilometers on both sides of the highway. Speed control cameras and ambulance will also patrol 24 hours on the road.
The ability of Governor Ayade to have conceived and dream big with a clear vision supported by a pragmatic leadership, worked assiduously and propelled those abstract concepts into concrete terms no doubt is the very reason why in this dispensation the government and people of Cross River State have not only earned a special place in the very disciplined heart of President Buhari, but has become the first state in the South-South geo-political zone to be visited by the Nigerian number one citizen.
As a man who before now has prepared himself sufficiently ahead of time to provide service to the people, Ayade came into government with array of development projects and programmes that will transform the socio-economic and political face of Cross River State.
The dual super high way, the deep seaport, the garment factory, refinery among others are carefully planned to turn around 360 degrees, the fortunes of the State and its people.
The super high way will provide easy access from the seaport up to the northern part of Nigeria, reducing the many hours are presently being wasted between Calabar seaport and the northern part of Nigeria, as well as the neighbouring land-locked countries like Niger and Chad.
The road will drastically reduce the rate of accidents and the associated carnages, waste of human lives, maiming of persons and bringing a lot of sorrows to many families.
Another benefit of the dual super high way to the people of the state is that it will greatly boost the economic profile of all the communities that lies along the super high way route
Similarly, the deep seaport which is one of the two signature projects of governor Ayade is signed to accommodate mother vessels, when completed is expected to remove the hitherto blockage by evacuating the corridors that have always served as obstacle to bigger vessels from entering the Calabar seaport, forcing them to always anchor at Lome, and transferring the goods to smaller vessels that can find their way to the Calabar seaport.
The combined force of the dual super high way and the deep seaport will equally serve as a veritable boost to land locked countries like Chad and Niger Republic to evacuate their goods from the seaport through the super high way to their various countries, as well as Cameroon.
As a prelude to the most anticipated and prized rescheduled visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Cross River State to officially perform the ground breaking ceremony of the super high way, one of the signature projects of Governor Benedict Ayade, these writers went to town to feel the pulse of some Cross Riverians whose various reactions as indicated in this article is a clear indication that the people of the state are very happy with the landmark achievements of Ayade and for specifically winning the trust, confidence e and respect of Mr. President to create time from his busy schedule for a ground breaking in Cross River state.
A former member of the Armed Forces Ruling Council and former chairman of the Military wing of the Petroleum Trust Fund, General Edward Unimna (Rtd) said that it is a privileged treatment that President Buhari is visiting Cross River State, stressing that it is not easy to pull the President from his congested schedule, hence his acceptance shows how he holds he State in high regards.
“It is a very good pointer that the state is doing well. I must commend the Federal Government for this confidence reposed on the state. When President Buhari selected Ayade to accompany him to the Cameroon, it was a clear indication that the President is happy with what our governor is doing and that the governor is working harmoniously with the Federal Government”.
General Unimna stated that the President coming is re-assuring as it has cleared doubts from the minds of sceptics, adding that the President coming is a clear pointer that the super highway would be a reality, just as it will clear a lot of fears as regards the project.
Reacting to the Nigerian number one citizen’s visit to Cross River State the former Chairman of Obudu Local Government Council, Hon Cecilia Ally reasoned that the acceptance of President Muhammadu Buhari to personally come to perform the ground breaking for the super high way is a very clear indication that Buhari is a father to all Nigerians.
Hon. Ally said that President Buhari has proven that he is accommodating both his political party, APC and other political parties by coming to carry out ground breaking on a project conceived and initiated by Senator Ben Ayade, a PDP governor. “Buhari has shown that he is a father to all Nigerians. Equally, Ayade has proven to us that we have a bright future before us under his leadership”.
The former number one indigene of Obudu expressed her deep appreciation to Governor Ayade for creating and ensuring such cordiality between him and the President within a very short period in office, indicating that we have a very bright future before us, adding that through Ayade efforts, Cross River has become the first state in the South-South to be visited by the President.
A chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River, Chief Linus Okom (Ada Bekwarra), asserted that by the coming of the President, “It makes the people of the state not to feel that they are in the opposition party and that they are part of the family”, stressing that “it would be wonderful to welcome him”.
Every Cross Riverian is happy that the President’s first visit to the South-South is to Cross River state, and that it is a clear confirmation that the President is transparent, and that his statement that he belongs to all and is a President for all Nigerians is true”.
In his reaction, the former Commissioner for Local Government, Chief Peter Ojie said that it is a heart warming visit, and to know that Cross River State is one of the very few states has been so blessed to be visited by President Buhari since he was elected President and that it holds great potentials for us as Cross Riverians.
“It is a clear indication that the President is happy with what our dear governor is doing in the state with the array of people-oriented projects which he has packaged and by the grace of God would be a reality”.
The immediate past Senator representing the Southern Senatorial District, Senator Prince Bassey Otu commended governor Ayade for his effort culminating in the acceptance of President Buhari not just visiting Cross River but coming to perform an official assignment of carrying out a ground breaking ceremony for the dual carriage super high way initiated by Ayade.
Senator Otu also praised President Buhari for his transparent leadership and for playing politics that goes beyond party line, and wished him the best as he visits the people’s paradise.
A woman who identified herself as Paulina Ubong, a garri merchant said that she has never had any fear about Ayade because she had heard him speak and had also seen him work and the sincerity of the governor in bringing about projects that will have direct bearing in the lives of the common man, and thanked President Buhari for accepting to come and carry out the ground breaking ceremony of the super high way.
A motorist plying the route between the northern part of the state and Calabar, Mr. Godwin Atem Ogani, commended Senator Ayade, Governor of Cross River for his visionary leadership and for conceiving such great projects such as the signature projects which includes the super high way that Mr. President is coming to carry out a groundbreaking on Monday, stressing that when the road is completed, the agony being faced by motorists and other road users along that route would become a thing of the past.
It is lucid and true that at several occasions, by his actions and utterances, Governor Ayade has proven beyond doubt that he has a well planned course for his administration, and that the projects he has earmarked for execution will surely come to fruition; hence those who think that the projects are a ruse would at the end of the day be highly disappointed as they will find out that their clairvoyance failed them and that they are prophets of doom.
Welcome to the people’s paradise inhabited by the most hospitable and peaceful people in the whole universe, our dear President Muhammadu Buhari;
Solomon Asha and Emmanuel Ulayi are media aides to governor Ayade
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