Cross River Governor, Prof Ben Ayade, at the weekend returned to the state after three weeks of investment drive across Asia seeking to boost the economic fortunes of the state.
Addressing newsmen on arrival at the Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar, the governor disclosed that his trip was for the interest of the state as modalities had been put on ground to ensure that the several factories currently at various stages of construction across the state become operational soon.
According to the governor, “Every trip I have made is for the interest of Cross River. If I need to go on a holiday, I will not choose Asia, you don’t go to Asia for a holiday, you go to Asia for business. Cross River will witness the change I have always sought and against that background, our factories will start running soon.”
He insisted that “for any society to grow, its roads, ports and factories remain very critical, hence my intervention on factories which is a co-agendum that I drive, creating an opportunity for us to become manufacturers and producers so that we can underpin our tourism on hard work as the foundation of deliberate income for young people.”
Disclosing areas where the trip will be of immense benefit to the citizenry, he told newsmen that he visited India regarding the 21 megawatts power project in the state, adding that “I brought back an Indian team with me, and so in a couple of weeks, they will be doing the test run.”
On the state’s garment factory already in operation, Ayade remarked that the state cotton farm will synergize at this short interval with Indian cotton which is known to be the best and much cheaper than importing from China, to ensure that the factory switches to optimal operation, a feat, the governor said “will see Cross River saving over N700 million as all carnival costumes for this year will be made in the state’s garment factory through the help of the Indian team and professionals.”
He pointed out that with the completion of earthworks on the 147km dual carriage road project in the northern senatorial district of the state, asphalting will commence soon, disclosing further that in the next six weeks the state will take delivery of the entire equipment required for the processing of cocoa also at advanced stage of construction being in Ikom.
Ayade who earlier made a commitment to employ 9000 youths from the three senatorial districts in the state also hinted that to sustain the dream, he came with a team to lay the foundation for their massive sustainable recruitment, urging Cross Riverians “to sit back, watch and see the drama that will unfold.
“While America is in the past, Asia is in the present, Africa is indeed the future and I am leading a generational change, a new philosophy to celebrate Africa for what we are.”
Urging youths to enrol in the Construction Academy, an initiative of his administration geared towards building a skilled workforce, Ayade said: “It is time to put our hands on the plough so that we can drive a new Cross River that will give us the horizon of hope and prosperity that will engender that kind of success we all anticipate.”
The governor who arrived into the waiting hands of thousands of youths urging him to re-contest in 2019, said he wants to be judged “by how much I have delivered in this my first term and until they are properly crystallised, I think I don’t have the moral credentials to talk about elections. That is my thinking and I want to convince my conscience that I deserve a reelection.”