By Godwin Otang
Former Nigeria Ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti, Ambassador Nkoyo Toyo, Richard Duke, and other stakeholders have sought the need to rejuvenate agriculture produce boards to ensure any agricultural produce generated in the State is not allowed to leave in its first state.
The conversation on Manufacturing and Agro-processing is coming as the Coalition held a Town Hall meeting cum anniversary of the Cross River Southern Coalition on Environment, Economy, and security as other stakeholders become critical over increased joblessness, poverty, insecurity, and a decline in the economic boom of the State.
Ambassador Nkoyo who is the Spokesperson for the Coalition explained that “there is a role for the State capital in terms of building the government of the State as a whole. What we are doing is to begin to influence policy. It is just about what we want as a State. We are looking at the State of the environment, economy, and insecurity, there are a lot of complaints.”
The governorship candidate of the Young Peoples Party (YPP) in the 2023 gubernatorial elections, Joseph Coco-Bassey held that agricultural produce and other natural resources must be refined to either the second or third stage before exporting out of the State “to drastically increase revenue generation for the State and create middle-chain employment for indigenous Cross Riverians.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Calabar Declaration Drafting Committee, Richard Duke, emphasized the need to review the principle of zoning and rotation of political offices across the State: “Moving forward, I propose we anchor our Calabar Declaration path on five key takeaways: institutionalization, inclusivity, engagement, resolution, and legacy.
“The principle of zoning and sequential rotation has been more than just a political understanding. It has been the bedrock of our State’s stability and progress. The harmonious emergence of Senator Prince Bassey Otu from the Southern Senatorial District as Governor in the 2023 elections stands testament to this.
He continued; “Our contribution to the emergence of a Governor from the Southern Senatorial District transcends mere support; it involved active engagement and collaboration. Going forward, we must be both the sounding board and the springboard for our Governor, enabling policies that reflect our collective aspirations. Addressing any grievances regarding the Calabar Declaration is critical.”
The town hall was attended by several stakeholders of the Calabar declaration conference, the back-to-south movement, and the Cross River South Coalition.