Experts, Stakeholders identify Agriculture, Rule Of Law As Key To Functional Society

In Breaking News, Civic Space

By Godwin Otang

As Governor Bassey Otu’s administration gets older by the day amidst subsisting expectations from Cross Riverians across the 18 local government areas of the State, the agricultural sector and the rule of law have been identified as two key areas that can drive the State forward to achieving the gains of democracy.

The two key components were fished by the Cross River State Commissioner for Agriculture and Irrigation Development, Dr. Johnson Ebokpo, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Ntufam Mba Ukweni at the Cross River Movement (TCRM) regular monthly civic engagement discussions held virtually on Sunday 4th and Sunday 25th February 2024.

The conversations with the themes, ‘Strengthening rule of Law: A Cornerstone for good governance,’ and Civic engagement series: Agriculture’ respectively, attracted stakeholders from the public and private sectors seeking to strengthen good governance and guarantee the gains of democracy in Cross River State.

Speaking on the prospects that Cross River State holds in the Agriculture sector,  Dr. Johnson Ebokpo, Commissioner for Crop and Irrigation Development, gave assurance that Governor Bassey Otu-led State government will not let the people down in agriculture. He further gave some explanations on proposed programs.

“Agriculture is the mainstay of our Cross River State economy as it creates more than 70% of the jobs that we have in the State. Our focus as an administration is in two ways; intensify commercial agriculture and support socially in the aspects that require special intervention to see what agriculture can contribute to the GDP. We are planning to use agriculture as a job-creating tool.

“We plan to make Cross River a grain economy outside the commercial cash crops that you know like cocoa, oil palm,  rubber, and the rest. We have a comparative advantage in growing rice, maize, and the market too. We just have a few commercial farms in Cross River State and we plan to scale up,” he assured.

Addressing stakeholders on strengthening the rule of law as a cornerstone for good governance, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Ntufam Mba E. Ukweni warned that, if intervention measures are not taken speedily to strengthen the rule of law, Nigeria’s democracy won’t survive.

“I maintain that, in our country Nigeria, if actions are not taken speedily to strengthen the rule of law and ensure the independence of the judiciary, and make everyone equal and subject to the law, then they can not be good governance and democracy can not survive in our country.  You can’t do the right thing the wrong way and expect to get positive results.”

The SAN had earlier opined that, “We all know that the rule of law by itself is the bedrock of democracy. No country can say it practices democracy without the rule of law. So, it’s only when the government recognizes that the basis of them being there is the rule of law.

“In any country where the institution that is regarded as the watchdog of democracy has been emasculated and completely made nonsense of, such that they now wait to hear what will come out from the president before they make their decision, then that can not be a democracy.” 

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