‘Lack of Continuity Responsible for Poor Development’

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Donald Duke

The nation is not making much progress in infrastructural development because governments in most states fail to build on the works of their predecessors.

“Each government wants to have its own project. This remains the bane of infrastructure development in Nigeria. No government is interested in continuing from where the other left off. That happened to Tinapa,” said Mr. Donald Duke, former governor of Cross River state.

The former governor, who was represented by Mr. Omoruyi Edoigiawerie, as guest speaker at the Made in Nigeria Conference in Lagos, organised by Greenspring Group in Lagos, recently, said he expected other governors after him to build on the vision of the Tinapa project.

“Upon assumption of office in 1999, Cross River was adjudged one of the poorest states of the country. The agenda was to attract traffic through tourism. But we will continue to be apostles of infrastructure development as against personal and individual aggrandisement. We want structures to be in place that will outlive individual tenures.

“A couple of efforts is being made by the present administration to keep the place going but there’s so much we can do. It is currently working at a far lesser capacity than its original capacity. It was supposed to be everything anyone can want in terms of business, leisure, entertainment and tourism. It was built to be a reference point in the entire South-South.
“Cross River is a state that has a potential of welcoming people and Tinapa was designed to become the arm of that tourism effort. We have nine flights coming into Calabar every day; the target was for three million people to come in every year with its multiplier effect. That was what was envisaged.
“While we had a million people come in December for carnival, Tinapa was supposed to increase that number all year round. If these three million people spend an average of a N100,000, we will be looking at N300bn and with the multiplier effect it could be almost a N1tn. That was the vision.”

On the importance of consuming homegrown goods and services, the Chief Executive Officer, Interior Woodwork Limited, Mr. Odunayo Emasealu said, “It is important for us to be entrepreneurs at this time. Once we are not producing, then we are not developing as a country.”

According to Emasealu “The time has come for Nigeria to be made but we must accept some level of quality until the process evolves. The country is gradually moving towards where it should be and Nigerians should move towards this direction too.”
Welcoming guests and participants the Chief Executive Officer, Greenspring Group, Mr. Peter Nwaochei lauded the Federal Government’s Executive Order on local content development, saying it was the right elixir for manufacturers and indigenous firms.