Governor Ben Ayade’s Garment Factory: ‘’Biting The Bullet’’ BY OROK DUKE

In Breaking News, Business & Economy, National News, Politics
Orok Duke, Chairman Cross River State Sports Commission
Orok Duke, Chairman Cross River State Sports Commission


To “bite the bullet” is to endure a painful or otherwise unpleasant situation that is seen as unavoidable. This phrase is believed to have derived historically from the practice of having a patient clench a bullet in his or her teeth as a way to cope with the extreme pain of a surgical procedure without anaesthetics.

The expression “to bite the bullet”, therefore, means, the ability to confront the inevitable impending hardship and endure the resulting pain with fortitude.

Figuratively, it seeks to emphasize the ‘’show of courage; a display a stiff upper lip’’, and is fittingly Victorian.

Rudyard Kipling wrote a dialogue in the 1891 novel The Light That Failed, which uses the expression where no actual bullet was involved but which alludes to the idea that fortitude can be gained by biting a bullet: For instance;

‘’Steady, Dickie, steady!’’ said the deep voice in his ear, and the grip tightened. ‘’Bite on the bullet, old man, and don’t let them think you’re afraid.’’

The above lines, clearly presage Governor Ayade’s present mind-set and predicament.

On his assumption of the office of Governor of Cross river State, Governor Ben Ayade had discovered that all was not well with the different parts of composite Cross River State, so he set about conceiving plans to remedy the various problems he met on ground – including the area of moribund and non-existing industries and other requisite economic infrastructure, that would add value and create a multiplier effect; boost economic activities and create jobs in our state.

This is the aspect which I intend to speak about, specifically, The Cross River State Garment Factory, sited along Goodluck Jonathan Bypass, Calabar.


I recall during the time that Chief Stephen Agba was the Cross River State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, many industries were established and activated by the Cross River State Government. These included:

Obudu Meat Processing Industry, Obudu

Obubra Cassava/Garri Industry, Obubra

Polyrub Industry, Akamkpa

Durafoam Industry, Ikom

Calabar Wood/Veneer Plywood Industry (CALVENOLY), Calabar

South East /Romanian Wood Industry (SEROMWOOD), Calabar

Cocoa Processing Industry, Ikom

Fruit Juice Factory

Palm Estates

Cocoa Estates

Rubber Estates.

Most of these industries and estates are either dead, dying or comatose, as the case may be.


Presently, Commissioner Peter Egba is in charge of Cross River State Commerce and Industry Ministry. He is saddled with the task of delivering Governor Ben Ayade’s vision in the area of Commerce and Industry – thirty years after Chief Stephen Agba’s laudable, but frustrated effort.

I have been following the progress of the Garment Industry Project with rapt interest, akin to that of a raptor.

On my visit to the factory on 8th May, 2016, I witnessed the impressive strides achieved towards the completion and commissioning of this industry.

And as I keep on rehashing the following achievable opportunities for Cross River Citizens:

– 2,000 jobs for the youth

– 500 tailors to be engaged

– 500 textile workers

– 500 technicians

– 200 security

– 500 farmers.

I have also become convinced of Eval Asikong’s assertion, that; ‘’The depopulation of 5000 unemployed from the horde of our unemployed army would be an accomplishment that is not only patriotic, but divine.’’

This is part of the justification, why Governor Ben Ayade needs to ‘’bite the bullet’’ to do whatever is necessary, to steer Cross River State away from economic doldrums.


OIL & GAS – Calabar Estuary, Akpabuyo, Bakassi – Numerous Uses

CLAY – Calabar, Ikom, Odukpani and Ugep – Bricks, tiles, paper, sanitary ware, wall plates, table ware, abrasive industry, porcelain products

SALT BRINE – Ogoja, Ikom and Etung Table salt – used in pharmaceuticals, agro-allied and textile industries, manufacture of caustic soda.

LIME STONE – Akamkpa, Calabar and Odukpani – Production of cement, glass, paint, steel, lime, fertilizer and animal feeds

SAND – All LGAs – Glass production, bottles, sand paper

KAOLIN – Obudu – Ceramic ware, paints and chalk

BARYTE – Yala – Used in oil exploration

GRANITE, BASALT, QUARTZITE – Akamkpa, Ikom, Ogoja and Obudu – Processing for construction works


COCOA – Ikom, Etung, Boki, Obubra, Obanliku, Akamkpa – Beverages, wines, cakes, butter, additives, animal feed, soap making, manufacture of vitamin D, sweeteners for Jellies, Jam, sugar

OIL PALM – Ikom, Etung, Obubra, Ugep, Akamkpa, Calabar, Boki – Vegetable oil, soap making, wine, margarine, oil cakes, animal feeds

RUBBER LATEX – Odukpani, Akamkpa, Obubra, Ikom – Tyres, tubes, shoes, gloves, condoms, sheet, etc.

CASSAVA – All the Local Government Areas in the state – Garri, Industrial starch, alcohol and animal feeds

YAM – All the Local Government Areas in the state – Yam flour, animal feeds

COCOYAM – All the Local Government Areas in the state – Yam flour, animal feeds

GROUNDNUTS – Ogoja, Yala, Obudu, Obanliku, Bekwarra – Vegetable oil, soap making, margarine export

MAIZE – All the Local Government Areas in the state – Corn flour, pop corn, corn flakes, poultry feeds, malt, industrial starch, corn oil

RICE – Obudu, Ogoja, Yala, Ugep, Obubra, Ikom, Bekwarra – Food, hay malt, animal feeds, etc.

LIVESTOCK – Obudu, Obanliku, Ogoja, Yala – Beef, bacon, sausages, ham, hide and animal feeds

FRUITS: mangoes, citrus, pineapples – All the Local Government Areas in the state – Wine, chips, pickles, jam, varnishes, oils, fruit juices

When you go through the various opportunities that abound in Cross River State, but unutilised or underutilised, you will weep for our state.

Staying aloof or playing the ostrich is not one of the options available to Governor Ben Ayade, so he has descended into the Arena, joined the fray, folded his shirt’s sleeves and has proceeded to take the bull by the horn.

A consequentialist believes that what is called right or wrong depends on what consequences come about as a result of a proposed action.

As a way to test this view, some counterexamples may be considered which are intended to find out if this view holds up in extreme cases.

For example, one may object that some actions appear to be right in principle even when terrible consequences have resulted from them. Also, there may be times when an action appears to be wrong in principle, but has wonderful consequences.

A person wanting to stay faithful to the consequentialist view in the face of an extreme case may have to bite the bullet by taking the position that, even though these counterexamples do exist, the original view still holds up.

The physical structure of the factory has progressed well and ceteris paribus, will engage and assuage some of our teeming unemployed citizens.

This is progress and Governor Ben Ayade, should face other pending projects with the same gusto, vigour, zest and indigenous enthusiasm.

I urge him to bite more bullets, as he tackles more projects and programmes that will extricate us from this self-inflicted and self-induced socio-economic quagmire.

Let posterity become the judge.

Orok Otu Duke, Chairman Cross River State Sports Commission writes from Calabar.

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2 commentsOn Governor Ben Ayade’s Garment Factory: ‘’Biting The Bullet’’ BY OROK DUKE

  • I have a couple of questions for you Mr. Praise Singer or whatever you call yourself.
    1. Why did Ayade start with the garment factory?
    2. Where are are the raw materials for the garments produce?
    3. Where are the market outlets?
    4. Who owns (i.e. investors) the factory?

  • Some of the industries you mentioned during the era of Chief Stephen Agba or others never saw the light of day as the so called contractors that were awarded the contracts never executed the contracts.

    It should be a very good master’s or doctoral thesis or project for students to conduct a research on all contracts awarded by the Cross River State government since the U.J. Esuene administration to the present government. Any taker out there?

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