By Richard Ndoma, Leadership Newspaper
Cross River State governor Ben Ayade has embarked on a commissioning spree as he inaugurated four industries in one fell swoop.
The industries are some of his legacy projects. They include the 24, 000 birds per day chicken processing factory known as Calachika which is the first of its kind in Nigeria, Cala Noodles factory, which produces kissime variant of noodles, Cross River Packaging factory and Cross River Feedmill Ltd, all located at the Ayade Industrial Park in Calabar.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Ayade who upon assumption of office in 2015 made industrialization of the state a cardinal policy of his administration said his quest to decouple Cross River State from federal allocation and create jobs through industrialization necessitated the policy.
According to him, “Before me, the only industry that thrived in Cross River was politics.
“From the outset, our program was built around job creation through the agro-industry. Cross River alone produces over 6,000 graduates annually and there is no program to create employment for them. If you add this figure to other states you would find that a third-world economy needs a beneficiation program and not skyscrapers. The beneficiation pathway to an emerging economy is job creation.”
The governor appealed to Cross Riverians to key into the industries by being the main suppliers of the raw materials needed for production.
“Today, we have factories but there’s only one thing I ask of you, please we have to work together to get the raw materials to make these factories that Ayade conceived, built, and made working 100%.
“Right now, sometimes we go to Eket, Taraba, and other places to get materials to make these factories work,” he said.
He defended the expansion of his administration which saw him giving thousands of people political appointments saying the measure went a long way to reduce social tension in the state because “if you don’t put food on people’s table, you are also creating a tough path to your own security because the level of criminality will increase.”
Speaking earlier, the paramount ruler of Bakassi local government area of the state and chairman of the Cross River Council of Traditional Rulers, His Royal Majesty, Etiyin Etim Okon Edet commended the outgoing governor for his efforts at industrializing the state, saying the commissioning ceremony has put cynics who doubted the existence of the industries to shame.
He assured the governor of the continued support and prayers of royal fathers in the state even after exiting office.
The commissioning ceremony was witnessed by top government functionaries, traditional rulers, and a mammoth crowd of excited Cross Riverians.