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Otu is too slow, Akwa Ibom has overtaken Cross River – ADC

The African Democratic Congress (ADC) has said the administration of Governor Bassey Otu in the last one year has been too slow.

This was disclosed by a press release signed by Effiong Nyong,
ADC Chairman in Cross River State, on Wednesday, which added that the state has been overtaken by neighbouring Akwa Ibom State which was created from it in 1999.

Nyong said Akwa Ibom which is just 25 years old looks like a state that is over 100 years old while Cross River State which is 57 years old looks like a state that is less than 20 years old.

The ADC Chairman also slammed the National Assembly members, saying they do not have constituency projects to execute, and that they only show up with packets of noodles, clippers for barbershop operators, hair
dryers, and tricycles (keke napep), which they call palliatives.

Read the full press release below:

Press Release
African Democratic Congress,
Cross River State Chapter
28th May 2024

CROSS RIVER STATE, 57 YEARS AFTER

Cross River State is celebrating its 57th anniversary this month. It was created by the military administration of General Yakubu Gowon as one of the 12 states of the Nigerian Federation after the coup and counter-coup of 1966. Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, is an ancient city and was the first administrative capital of the SouthernProtectorate and later Nigeria after the amalgamation of the territory called Nigeria in
1914.

The people of Cross River State have achieved many firsts in different areas of human endeavour. The Obong of Calabar has been prominent throughout history, before, during, and after the slave trade era. It is on record that the Portuguese landed on our shores with Western civilisation long ago and that outposts in Cameroon and Central Africa paid taxes.

In 1967, 12 states were created in Nigeria, and the South Eastern State, which comprises the present-day Akwa Ibom State, was established. The present
geographical expression came into existence in 1987, after Akwa Ibom State was carved out of the then Cross River State. Looking back between 1987 and 2024, it seems as if Cross River State was carved out of Akwa Ibom State. Between 1999 and 2024, it has become increasingly evident that while Akwa Ibom state has experienced steady growth, progress, and development, the same cannot be said for Cross River state. Unfortunately, we have found it very difficult to face the truth. Deception and delusion have become our norm, and those in power have been fortunate that ordinary citizens make excuses for their continued lack of vision, backwardness, and deprivation, even as the administration celebrates one year in office this month of MAY 2024. Otherwise, what reasons do we have as a people to be so poor and underdeveloped? Why do we engage in this kind of politics? Why do we kowtow to our oppressors without reservation? We are afraid to speak out so as not to offend those who are cheating us, even when we belong to the same political party. You must be in the correct camp or caucus. This explains why those who helped plunder the resources and opportunities of the state, our collective patrimony, are still in power, benefiting while the rest of the people are left out. Their only sin is not being in the proper camp. Politics in Cross River state is turned upside down.

Our members of the National Assembly do not have constituency projects to execute. They only show up with packets of noodles, clippers for barbershop operators, hair dryers, and tricycles (keke napep), which they call palliatives. They are also available to give tokens as support at funerals, and our people are always extremely grateful for such gestures.

Our kind of politics is such that members of the same political party continue to undermine one another. Otherwise, why would they put down their governor? What are they trying to prove? Why would they gang up and ensure that the governor’s nominees do not get federal government appointments, all in the name of politics? It is a shame.

The Cross River State legislative arm is in crisis. Even as we put this publication together, 17 members have purportedly removed the Speaker of the House of Assembly, while the other group has the mace and symbol of authority. Many of the reasons given to the hungry people are that funds have been misappropriated. It goes to show the kind of persons ruling us in Cross River State. While our legislators are pursuing themselves, the Judiciary in Cross River State are like spectators, and the executive arm of government is carrying on without any checks. One cannot ask questions lest you will be tagged as not supporting the government. So, in Cross River State, the citizens have been blackmailed to keep silent.

EMPLOYMENT

There has been an embargo on employment since the Benedict Ayade years. Despite this, public servants have been retiring, and some have passed away. Yet, we are told that our civil service in Cross River State is bloated and that there are ghost workers. You may ask, from where and how?

ROADS INFRASTRUCTURE

Road infrastructure is key to development and beautification. Instead of fixing bad roads, our government is breaking and rebuilding roundabouts in the state capital. Roads in Calabar South have become gullies, and erosion is causing damage in neighbourhoods around the Cross River State University.

SPORTS INFRASTRUCTURE

Sports infrastructure in the state is still the same as it was in 1975 when UJ Esuene left it as governor, with no added assets. The Liyel Imoke regime did significant damage, and his successor Ben Ayade plundered as much as he could. His best legacy is the destruction of our Pelican Stars, the number-one female football club in Nigeria for many years. At one time, the Pelican Stars had about 9 members in the Super Falcons, the country’s national team. For Calabar Rovers, the story is not different. A state that had 5 members of the first Nigerian football team in 1949, including the team captain, does not have any players in any of the nation’s 8 football teams.

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The economy is a different ball game, and it seems like we are proud to announce to the world how poor we are, despite the huge natural and human resources we have. There are several opportunities for exploitation, but the oil fields in Cross River State. are kept secret. The state receives various funds and grants from different sources, separate from federal government allocations and local government council funds. The Bakassi Stabilisation Fund is treated as a private allocation unrelated to the land called Bakassi and government officials even deny its existence.

The tourism industry is huge, and we should give credit to the administration of Donald Duke for bringing it back. However, we are only scratching the surface of tourism in Cross River State, and more needs to be done in terms of capital investments in the sector. The government should also focus on revolutionising agriculture, particularly cocoa, rubber, and oil palm plantations.

We need to attract local, national, and foreign investors to our state by providing an enabling business environment. The government’s speed of doing business is fashionably slow, as every venture seems to have a political colouration and consideration above merit and competence.

While securing a foreign loan for building a Bakassi Deep Seaport is good, we should prioritise revisiting the displaced people in Bakassi and Tinapa, ensuring that the ports at the Calabar EPZ and NPA become functional, and rebuilding and relocating the Margaret Ekpo International Airport. It would also be beneficial to create more administration zones in Cross River State, from 18 to 40, with a vision to spread development across the state in a record time.

The previous one-year slow administration is gone, and we have three more years to go. The current state of affairs suggests that the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration in Nigeria, at all levels, has nothing to offer Nigerians other than pain and horror. They believe that the economy can be stimulated into growth through a multiple taxation regime, where internally generated revenue (IGR) figures are interpreted to mean development and increased productivity. As a result, Cross River State youths are all over the country seeking jobs as house help due to frustration at home, as our government cannot sustain homegrown enterprises and attract other investors.

Our advice is that there is still time for the government of Cross River State to open up the space to accommodate other ideas. We still have time to reset our thinking and priorities. For instance, expanding the local government council administration will create more job opportunities. Strategic partnerships in the real sector of the economy will also be beneficial. Our state can be a development model. It is also time for our National Assembly members to give an account of their stewardship.

Long live Cross River State,
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
God bless us all.

Signed
Effiong Nyong,
ADC Chairman

Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom is an experienced Journalist, Blogger and Writer with several years of experience. His stories are based on community development and have brought positive change across board.

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