Nigeria at 62: Despite all odds, we’ve made progress -Ayade
Cross River State governor, Sir Ben Ayade, weekend said in spite of the challenges associated with the lean resources of the state, his administration has made giant strides in the area of industrialization.
In his speech to mark this year’s 62 Independence Anniversary at the U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar, Governor Ayade who was represented by his Deputy, Professor Ivara Esu, said “the 62 Independence Anniversary offers us an opportunity to reflect on our past history and deeply appreciate the progress we have made so far in spite of the many hiccups we have had and the very troubling scope of our present political, social and economic realities as a country.”
Expressing delight at how fast the wounds have healed over the years, Ayade said: “Happily, however, Nigeria has remained one indivisible country where all citizens are free to actualize their dreams and develop their talents in line with their inate abilities and to the highest notch of their individual aspirations.
“Indeed, Cross River State has been part of this fascinating success story.”
As a sub-national, the governor noted that Cross River State, has undoubtedly had its own fair share of both social and economic challenges.
He added that “each time, however, we have renewed our faith in our collective unity, as we can today boast many tangible achievements we have attained over the years, particularly since the advent of the present political dispensation in May, 1999.”
According to Ayade: “The era has afforded us the opportunity of piloting the ship of state to much more prosperous and secure shores. We have an ample evidence in this regard and I am delighted to note that we have made significant progress in the actualization of our dream of industrializing the state as enshrined in the opening documents of our administration.”
In retrospect, Governor Ayade at the Independence celebration which was attended by the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Akon Bassey Ikpeme, Commissioner of Police, Service Commanders, and traditional rulers highlighted some of his administration’s achievements over the last seven years, adding that “Our efforts in tackling our challenges can only be deeply appreciated with an overview of the many landmark infrastructural projects sited across the State.”
In the area of industrialization, “we were able to, within 100 days in office, establish the Cross River State Garment Factory which has been producing various forms of garments for the Nigerian market. At the height of the Covid-19 Pandemic which ravaged the world in 2020, the factory produced and distributed large quantities of face and nose masks to individuals and some state governments across the country. The Cocoa Processing plant in Ikom, the vitaminised Rice processing Mill in Ogoja, the 24,000 per day Chicken Processing Factory (Calachika) as well as many industries scattered all over the state are a few of the many factories built largely to create jobs for our teeming unemployed youths
“We are confident that the future of our youths will be better guaranteed with our agro-allied industries which are anchored on agricultural development.”
Ayade disclosed that “Our vision of making Cross River State the leading State in agricultural production and agro allied industries is on course. We have, in synergy with relevant Federal Government Agencies and development Partners recorded significant improvement in all areas of agricultural production. In particular, the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES), Commercial Agriculture Development Project (CADP), our revolutionary efforts in Cocoa and Rice value chain development with ultra-modern processing factories in Ikom and Ogoja, respectively and all complementary efforts towards taking agriculture to the next level are all well known.”
The governor urged Nigerians and indeed Cross Riverians to unite so as to continue to sustain the legacies of the country’s founding fathers, noting that in doing so, “the labour of our founding fathers and the sacrifices of the present will not be in vain.”