The race for Cross River State government house assumed a competitive twist during the week following the declaration of an All Progressives Congress (APC) aspirant, Tony Ushie to give the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) a good run for the seat.
At a well-attended rally which held in Igoli, the headquarters of Ogoja local government council, Ushie said he is poised to re-engineer the fortunes of the state to entrench self-reliance by concentrating on the areas where the state has comparative advantages in human and material resources.
According to him “We need to re-engineer the state towards creating niches in sciences, technology, sports, agriculture, education, SMEs and those small things that will gradually make us function without depending on federal allocation.”
Giving an example of himself as a beneficiary of an SME, the former Obanliku council chairman on the platform of GDM stated that “My guardian and senior brother, Chief Francis Amoke is just an ordinary Welder. From his small workshop at 6, Ogon Street, Igoli Ogoja, he directly sponsored nine of us through the university and has provided support to many others. He now has two geoscientists, an ordained priest of the Catholic Church, a lawyer, teachers, many other professionals and attendant positive multiplier effects.
“I also have a friend whose mother (a single parent) managed a roadside restaurant from where she was able to train the son to become a lawyer, who in turn is proudly blessed with a lawyer daughter. And so do many of you here whose guardians are mechanics, carpenters, tailors, bricklayers, petty traders, transporters, peasant farmers and so on. This re-enforces the power of SMEs in our economy as service and family social welfare providers.”
Making a case for the retention of power in the northern senatorial zone, the geoscientist enjoined politicians in the state to embrace politics with morals and conscience, arguing that “it is only just and fair that the northern Senatorial district is supported to complete eight years as it has been accorded the central and the southern senatorial districts.
“I recognise the rights and freedom of those aspiring to the office of the governor from the central and southern senatorial districts but wish to call on them to be more mature and to honour the gentleman agreement on the rotation of the office of the governor among the senatorial zones in the state. There is no justification whatsoever for social justice, to do otherwise.
“Make no mistake. Northern Cross River do not suffer a dearth of quality materials for the governorship. Amongst us are some of the most credible candidates readily available for the office and I stand here today to ask for your support to make history.”
Speaking on his agenda for the state, Ushie promised to put in place a leadership of purpose and to promote sustainable development of the state, asserting that his “blueprint showcases the strategies and our sustainable development pathways. Together we hope to create actions that will inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more as contributors to the growth of our dear state; with our footprints touching everywhere and everyone.
“We believe in strong institutions (like the legislature, judiciary, civil service and security agencies), free education, affordable health care, robust infrastructures and social amenities, protection of life and property, job creation, science and technology, food and water security. We are geared to ensure that the taps flow water, there is balanced diet on every table, opportunities to provide clothing and self-esteem, electricity/energy from renewable sources, vaccines and drugs in medicine stores and essential skilled manpower development.
“We believe that climate change is real and so, we will contribute our quota to reducing the emission of greenhouse gases by cutting down on the use of fossil fuel, and lead a sustainable management of our forest resources. The youths of Cross River State represent an enormous reservoir of strategic resources waiting to be utilised. We will create a platform for them to achieve their potential,” he concluded.