President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) is a man of fairness, equity, justice, and high level discipline. He is aware of the marginalization, oppression, robbery and injustice that have been inflicted on Cross River State and her people by the federal government since 1999.
Buhari is also aware of the fact that Cross River State despite receiving the least federal revenue in the South South has achieved the best of development in the region since 1999.
Buhari is fully aware that we were robbed of our oil-rich Bakassi, and not duly compensated by anyone. He is aware that if Bakassi was situated in Ogun State, the then President Obasanjo could not have accepted such inhuman ICJ judgment against his own people, as it was in the case of the innocent people of Cross River State in 2002.
And if it were in Katsina State, it would have been a war break out. But the good people of Cross River State chose to tow their usual path of peace for our national peace and security.
He believes that the 76 oil wells could better have been left for Cross River State which already had lost her oil peninsula to international conspiracy. Buhari is aware that Cross River State is still oil-producing but excluded from sharing in the 13% oil revenue meant for the oil producing states.
Buhari is aware that the federal government has obviously neglected Cross River State since 1999 despite its image boosting impacts for the country in many ways. This is very evident in the complete deplorable conditions of all the federal roads in the state, and in the way federal properties like Calabar seaport, EPZ etc. have been denied the needed federal support to make them boom.
That Cross River State has singlehandedly been promoting the image of Nigeria at its own costs without any federal reward is not unknown to PMB. For example, Cross River State has the only presidential resort where the country’s President with his family can spend his vacation in the country instead of travelling abroad.
Cross River State has the largest rain forest in the country and holds one of the UN world’s biodiversity hotspots. Cross River State has the only business and leisure resort in West Africa— Tinapa, and owns the best convention centre in the continent— CICC, all to the glory of Nigeria.
That no other annual event in Nigeria brings as much foreign tourists into this country as Calabar Festival is well known to PMB. That Carnival Calabar (Africa’s biggest street party) is indeed the biggest event in the whole of Africa, greatly positioning Nigeria in limelight is a well known fact to Buhari.
PMB is aware that, the old city of Calabar having played a major role in the creation and the unity of Nigeria deserves that special status of a Federal Capital city with special landmark projects and development supports by the federal government.
Buhari is aware that the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme of the federal government has trained and empowered thousands of youths of other states in the region except Cross River State, despite the support we gave to make the programme succeed.
He knows very well that the multinational oil and gas companies offer thousands of undergraduate and postgraduate scholarship awards home and abroad annually to students of all the states in the region except Cross River State.
Buhari knows that Cross River State is the only oil producing state that is not benefiting from the 13% oil revenue sharing.
PMB is impressed with us that despite all the cheating on us and despite all the oil boom monies in those states, none of them has made more progress than Cross River State. He is also amazed that we’ve remained focused, resilient, united and peaceful in spite of all these.
PMB is aware that CRS is too rich to be poor. He knows that no Nigerian state is richer than our land. In fact, my Akamkpa L.G.A. alone is richer than many states in Nigeria. He knows our people are humble, peace-loving, faithful, patriotic and reliable.
And he is now saying, these people have sacrificed too much and have been cheated for too long. I must attend to them specially, and give them a special place in my heart. I must ensure they get all the necessary support they were denied. I must correct all the wrongs for them. I must work with them.
He is indeed demonstrating it by appointing Cross Riverians into such key national positions that we have never held before. First, it was Rear Admiral Ibok-ette Ekwe Ibas as the Chief of Naval Staff, then Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita as the acting Head of Service (H.o.S) and soon to be confirmed as the H.o.S. of the Federation.
Chief Hilliard Etagbo Eta is not only appointed by Buhari to represent the South South zone in the presidential committee to reconstitute the federal boards of Parastatals, Agencies and Commissions but, will eventually be appointed by the President to head one of them.
As at when Buhari was in Cross River State, it was still uncertain in Abuja who will take over from Mr Danladi Kifasi as the next H.o.S. because even PMB himself had not finalised who to entrust the office yet.
But by the time Baba returned to Aso Rock from the Nation’s Paradise having performed the ground breaking for the best road ever in Nigeria, no other person could be in his heart for the job than that lady from Cross River State. He immediately approved the appointment of Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita that same day.
From the overwhelming support of the people to the excellent organization of the event, and the magnitude of the projects with their promising economic fortunes for the entire country, PMB was thrilled and proud to be identified with Cross River State.
That all these could come from a state government was amazing to him. He really felt honoured and happy to perform his first ground breaking with such important and world class multibillion dollars projects.
He saw in our governor Ayade, a visionary, intelligent, bold and serious minded leader he must work with. PMB is proud of Cross River State and ready to stand by us, as evident in his ground breaking speech. Buhari is a true President for all.
Now a Cross Riverian has emerged as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs. I see many greater things coming to Cross River State. Nigeria is the preferred destination in Africa for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and Cross River State is the preferred destination in Nigeria for such investors as they come into the country.
From 2016, so many FDIs will be trooping into Nigeria and more than 50% of them will choose to establish in the Nation’s Paradise, Cross River State. The grace of God has turned upon us, and our story is turning around. “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner…Psalm.118:22-23”.
Fellow Cross Riverians, let’s all join hearts and hands with our governor, Prof. Sen. Ben Ayade and move our state to enviable heights. Like he said “We will build our own Dubai with our own hands”— Ben Ayade.
May God grant our governor the grace and strength to succeed
God bless PMB
God bless CRS
God bless Nigeria.
Gabriel Ita is an agent of positive development and a patriotic Cross Riverian. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We sincerely apologize to our readers and the author of this article for using a wrong picture in the article. The author drew our attention to it and once again we are sincerely sorry. Thanks. Team CrossRiverWatch
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