As part of the events to mark Cross River State at 50, the governor, Prof Ben Ayade, former military administrators – Col. Umaru Ahmed and Navy Capt. Ibim Princewill, took turns to plant trees, at the Ayade industrial park in Calabar.
Also participating in the tree planting exercise were the Deputy Governor, Prof Ivara Esu, Speaker and members of the state House of Assembly, acting Chief Judge, Justice Michael Edem, members of the state executive council, Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tina Banku Agbor, Head of Service, Ekpenyong Henshaw, among others.
Flagging off the event, Ayade said: â€œThe new trend is greenery, the world has gone green and so, Cross River State being the leading state in Nigeria will definitely have to lead the trend,â€ adding that â€œwe are focusing on green environment as a cardinal message that Cross River state is again taking the lead.â€
The governor who expressed deep conviction about the importance of tree planting maintained: â€œI will like to be part of history as I do know that in 50 yearsâ€™ time when Cross River State will be turning 100 years, I will not be here but I pray God that the tree should live so that in my absence the tree will represent me, for as mortals, one day we shall return to our creator.â€
Ayade remarked that as the state turns 50, with its numerous potentials aimed at redefining Nigeria, the people must change their steps and strategies to sustain the pride of the state which is the envy of others.
Urging the citizenry to key into the state policy of maintaining an evergreen environment as witnessed in Singapore, the governor said: â€œI believe that beyond 50, everybody owes a duty to the state to plant a tree. You must go out today and plant a tree, if you have not gotten one to plant here, please as soon as you get to your abode, plant one tree.â€
Ayade used the opportunity created by the event to laud the efforts of the former governors who he intimated â€œmade it possible for us to have this pride to celebrate our 50th birthday.â€
Earlier, Cross River Commissioner for Climate Change, Dr. Alice Ekwu, disclosed that the governor chose the tree planting exercise to mark the 50th anniversary in a bid to green the land, adding that, he also delineated every street in Calabar to each appointee to plant a tree.