Governor Bassey Otu and the Future of Northern Cross River Peoples BY JOSEPH ODEY

In Breaking News, Opinion, Politics


  • Ensure the full functionality of existing projects in each LGA to create employment, stimulate local economies, and improve the standard of living of the people of Northern Cross River. These major projects include;
  1. The barite processing plant in Ugaga, Yala LGA.
  2. The industrial Park along Okuku Road in Igoli, Ogoja LGA.
  3. The groundnut oil factory in Nyanya, Bekwarra LGA. 
  4. The British-Canadian University in Kakum, Obudu LGA. (If it actually belongs to the State Government).
  5. The ranch resort, and the proposed Bechebe potato industry in Obanliku LGA. 
  • Encourage industry and creative economic activities by stopping or harmonizing the collection of taxes/other levies from traders, artisans, marketmen/women, okada riders, and all other small-scale businesspeople in Cross River North.
  • Build and maintain a functional road network across the LGAs of Cross River North.
  • Encourage Local Government Autonomy to empower the councils for effective service to the people.


Your Excellency, what does the future hold for the common man of Cross River North during your tenure as Governor? The yam farmer in Obanliku, the hardworking groundnut trading woman in Bekwarra, the schoolteacher in Yala, the commercial okada rider in Ogoja, the retired nurse in Obudu, or the school student wishing for a government scholarship to complete his/her study? What is in it for the common man on the street? 

Cross River North, with 5 local government areas, has a large stake in your government. The zone had given you the largest support (84 thousand votes), counting by the number of local government areas in each zone. With this in view, the people of the 5 LGAs of Northern Cross River are deserving of particular attention within the broad view of your development plans for the state as our Governor-elect.

A sustainable and well-planned socio-economic development structure is what we need in Cross River North this time. Although the food-on-the-table kind of politics where individuals are personally empowered through direct government appointments is nice and has done much for the beneficiaries at their level during Governor Ben Ayade’s 8 years, we need something different for Cross River North this time. We need the teach-a-man-to-fish kind of development that will bring gains to the entire people as a collective.

On Existing Projects

One way to bring rapid development to CR North is through the creation, incubation, and growth of economically productive industries at scale. Accordingly, a quick win for the zone and you, Your Excellency, will be to jumpstart those economic complexes created by Governor Ben Ayade in each LGA and to nurture them to full productivity.

Each project has a strong potential to grow the economy of the LGA it is located in, as well as the economies of neighboring LGAs. The barite processing plant in Yala, for instance, will create employment for the artisanal miners in Yala and its environs, provide a ready market for their extracts, and boost production capacity as a result of the ready market – with a significant multiplier effect for the general local economy and the economy of the state as a whole.

Similar advantages can be gotten from the industrial park in Igoli, Ogoja LGA which is a very fine project in itself and has serious prospects for the entire Cross River North, and also for the other production complexes built in Bekwarra, Obudu, and Obanliku LGAs.

On Excessive Taxation/Extortion of Small Businesses

Our people have been mostly focused on civil service occupations, you, Your Excellency can help to change this by encouraging individual creativity and industry. One effective way to do this in Cross River North is to stop the random, multiple taxation/extortion of the very small businesses existing across the zone. 

These small businesses are always harassed by all shades of persons who claim some unclear form of legality/government backing. Your administration will score big if that is stopped.

Collecting daily, multiple levies from small businesses kills them, it also stifles entrepreneurial initiative. If they are encouraged instead, they will help to create employment, improve the velocity of money and expand the economy with the attendant benefits for the people. This domino effect of sorts will reduce the concerning high poverty level in the zone. The plus for you is that once private enterprises are encouraged to grow and create jobs, it will reduce the unemployment burden on your government.

On Roads

Every LGA in Cross River North is highly productive in the agricultural sector. Sadly, the surplus yield of crops produced is mostly lost or sold near the farms for unprofitable amounts because there are no access roads to bigger markets in towns and cities.

Fixing the roads in Cross River North, especially the C trunk roads linking small villages and communities to the larger, B trunk state roads will give a big boost to the agricultural industry and personal fortunes of every farm owner in the zone. 

The increased productivity, greater availability of food, and availability of capital for each farmer to increase production and have a better standard of living will be a huge net gain for everyone, and also for your administration, Your Excellency.

On Local Government Autonomy

The LGA as the third-tier of government has a central role to play in the welfare of citizens, especially in very rural areas like the 5 LGAs of Cross River North. Stopping the culture of micro-managing local government funds, and instead, empowering them to utilize LGA allocations for productive output at the LGA level will be of much greater benefit to the people, Your Excellency.

Let’s do a quick play with numbers. Yala LGA had donated 250 million naira to Gov. Ayade to buy airplanes for CallyAir. 

One 25 Horsepower Vitex farming tractor costs 5 million naira. This means that the money Yala LGA donated for the plane can buy 50 units of such tractors.

If the 50 tractors are shared with the 14 wards of Yala LGA at an average of 3 tractors per ward, the farmers of each ward can rent the 3 tractors for their farming activity as they need. Such an affair will be of a very direct economic benefit to the LGA than the purchase of airplanes.

Allowing LGAs to have their autonomy, and guiding them to use funds for the execution of viable, people-focused projects will be a huge gain to the people of Cross River North and also for your government.

Finally, as we inch towards your inauguration and the start of your tenure, you will be (understandably) busy with plans for rewarding political leaders and other bigwigs who helped realize your electoral victory. 

While that is entirely proper, it is critical to also focus on the ways and means by which you can achieve short and long-term positive gains for the people of our State generally and for Cross River North particularly.

I wish you a successful term in office.

Mr. Joseph Odey is from Yala LGA.

NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Joseph Odey, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.

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