Former national publicity secretary of the Peoples’ Democratic Party and governorship aspirant on the party’s platform, Emmanuel Ibeshi has said he is not only in the race to rescue the state from misrule but has concrete plans to reposition Cross River State as an entrepreneur state to empower the youths.
Speaking with journalists in Lagos recently, Ibeshi said his vision is to utilise areas like agriculture and tourism where the state has comparative advantages to restore the state to its past glory.
“My greatest vision for cross river is to turn it into an entrepreneurial state. Look at all the resources we have, both solid agriculture and otherwise. Emphasise on the value chains of these products. Three quarters of state governments in Nigeria have not tapped into one per cent of monies available from donor agencies.
“And that is why you have a proliferation of NGOs turning back their money. If you look at what is going on, it is pathetic. We have played politics for too long in this country, when are we going to have leadership, when we will begin to tap into resources and utilise them?
Justifying his decision to challenge the incumbent who is an ally, the former national publicity secretary said he was on a rescue mission to salvage the state from misrule and Cross River North from disgrace.
“The governor on seat at the moment is from my own local government and he was actually my campaign manager in 1992 when I contested for the House of Representatives, he was a student. I would not naturally want to go against him, I should be there to nurture him, give him ideas and support and all that to succeed. But it is unfortunate that that has not been possible because the more you try to advise him, the more he is on his own tangent.
“And this is the first time Cross River North is having a shot at the governorship of Cross River. It has become an embarrassment to us. This is more of a rescue situation that I find myself trying to do. And again, PDP has never lost elections in Cross River.”
The governorship aspirant who lamented how the state rating has dipped under the incumbent said “Cross River is a laughing stock. I saw your analysis, features, editorials of the N1.3 trillion budget of Cross river, that even Lagos state as rich as it is has only had N1 trillion budget just this year. We have become a laughing stock. Take projects that are ongoing in the state, for instance, the deep seaport, super highway and what have you, and then, we from northern cross river have always been the bone of cross river politics.
“When Akwa Ibom and Cross River were together, we used to have Calabar and Ogoja, which is where we come from. This is the first time we are having an elected Governor from northern cross river, compared with Duke and Imoke, who are from central and south. Then, when we talk about this administration, absolutely nothing, it’s just colours and you see him signing MoUs on paper with nothing deliverable. You need to go to cross river and just spend a weekend, just sit and drink with local people, they won’t know you and do your forensic analysis and tell me why we should sit down.
“It is like why the south-south is blaming Jonathan, they had the opportunity of being the president and look at how he used the opportunity. Even the east-west road, nothing was done. So, it is exactly the same scenario that we have in cross river. Those of us in Obudu, Obanliku, Ogoja, Yala and Bekwara should hide our faces in shame”, he added.