By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent
The Cross River At 50 celebrations climaxed Saturday night with the conferment of awards on past Governors and Military administrators of the state including the Chairman, Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba.
The incumbent Governor, Ben Ayade also renamed popular infrastructures after three past civilian governors who are alive in order that “they will inspire those who are looking up to them.”
These include; Barracks road which links the Murtala Muhammed Highway opposite the Central Bank state Office to Marian road and directly into the Headquarters, 13 Brigade of the Nigeria Army which will now be known as Clement Ebri Boulevard.
The Bebi Airstrip which received new life under the Donald Duke’s administration which lasted from May 1999 to May 2007 will now be known as Donald Duke Airstrip.
And, the Summit Hills, a legacy project of the Senator Liyel Imoke’s administration has now been renamed Senator Liyel Imoke Hills which drew applause from the about 1,000 people who attended the event at the Calabar International Convention Center.
The renaming was approved by the State Executive Council, Ayade had earlier said.
But, Ebri was conspicuously absent throughout the festivities with CrossRiverWatch yet to get comments from him while Donald Duke was represented by his wife, Onari Duke and Senator Lyel Imoke was present and shared jokes with Ayade, his deputy; Professor Ivara Esu, past military administrator, Navy Captain Ibim Princewill among others throughout the night.
The state also honored all the past military administrators and military governors with the first, Brigadier Udoakaha Jacob Esuene (rtd) who is late, represented by his wife, Senator Helen Esuene.
A twist occurred when Governor Ayade was also announced among the awardees which made him wonder why he will be awarded while still in office with the certificate, signed by him.
He later accepted the award and congratulated fellow awardees.
The acting Chief Judge of the state, Justice Michael Edem who presented the awards had earlier joked: “Here is a certificate signed by the digital supersonic governor to the supersonic governor.”
The event was well attended by top Government functionaries, past and serving legislators including Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, former Tourism Minister, Edem Duke wbo recently decamped from PDP to APC and 6 housemates from the recently concluded Big Brother Naija See Gobbe show; Bassey, Thin Tall Tony, Kemen, Bisola, Uriel and Debie Rise who performed a musical for the show and presented a painting to the Governor.
However, CrossRiverWatch did not spot Senators John Owan-Enoh and Rose Oko, Reps Essien Ayi, Chris Agibe, Mike Etaba and Bassey Ewa.
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