By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent
Former Vice President and presidential aspirant of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, has hailed the performance of Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade.
Atiku who also described Ayade as an epitome of good governance, stated this, Monday, at the state executive council chambers, Calabar when he led his team including former governors of Ogun and Imo states, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Chief Achike Udenwa respectively on a courtesy visit to him.
He commended the governor for being broadminded in his approach to governance, which has ensured peace and tranquility in this state.
“Your inclusiveness of governance has led to a number of achievements which are not only known in Cross River but the whole country.
“There are very few states that are actually very regular and prompt in payment of salaries like this state. Honestly, we tend to praise and commend Cross River for paying as at when due. This achievement has resonated all over the country and you are seen as an example of good governance,” Atiku said.
He noted that Ayade has applied intellect in the industrialisation of the state despite lean resources which has led to job creation.
While listing some of the industries, Atiku also hailed the decision of Mr. Ayade to construct a deep seaport in Bakassi as well as a 275.5kilometer superhighway and assured of the Federal Government’s support in ensuring the state achieves its dreams.
“I am not living here but we get news of all these because if you google Cross River and Ben Ayade, you will see all these. This is technology and it is digital.
“Your achievement like the rice seedling center, which is undergoing a test run now, is a major development in the agricultural sector and will employ a large number of unemployed youths. You are indeed a talk and do governor.”
Disclosing his intention to run a lean federal government through his restructuring agenda if voted as the President, Atiku assured that, “if you give me your support you can expect more than what you have given me,” adding, “I can assure you that because of your impact in my life you will continue to receive my priority in the sense that you will always have federal support to ensure that you continue to achieve whatever you want to achieve in this state.”
In his remarks, Ayade maintained that the state is rich in both mineral and hydrocarbons but lamented a situation where the mineral resources cannot be explored without the approval of the federal government.
He therefore, expressed happiness that restructuring is part Atiku’s agenda, stating that, “we will like to see a federal government that will respond to our yearnings and create that platform that will allow us exploit our wealth and create a new hope for our people.”
Ayade who disclosed that the state has found huge oil deposits in its offshore locations without licences to exploit them, questioned, “to what extent would the federal government continue to hold and sequester everything that belong to the nation to herself?”
On Atiku’s presidential ambition, Ayade said: “As an aspirant of the PDP and somebody who has been a Vice president, I believe that the experiential calculus shows clearly that you are capable, competent and qualified to aspire for the position of president.”
Highpoint of the visit was the presentation of a book titled, “Restructuring as a pathway to unity and development in Nigeria,” by the presidential aspirant to the Governor.
Ayade had the day prior, held a dinner in honor of Mr. Atiku with several dozens of his aides in attendance at his private residence in Calabar.
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