Says, Ayade a visioner
Abia State governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has called on the federal government to lend its support for the actualisation of the 274km superhighway and the Bakassi Deep Seaport projects embarked upon by the Cross River Government.
Ikpeazu who was speaking at the Cross River State Executive Council Chamber, Calabar, yesterday, when he paid a visit on his Cross River counterpart, Professor Ben Ayade, maintained that the projects were of huge economic benefits not only to Cross River, but the entire country, particularly, the South-east.
The Abia State governor, who expressed excitement at the multi-billion dollars twin projects said: â€œIt is only a man of courage and vision that can embark on such monumental projects. It is not about Cross River but about Nigeria.â€
While urging the federal governmentâ€™s support for Ayadeâ€™s signature project, Ikpeazu said: â€œIf we all support the governor to bring the projects to fruition, they will ramp up the economy of not only Cross River, but also that of the North-east as it will allow access to the sea in a few hours and the potential of that opportunity will add value to other states.â€
Insisting that the Bakassi deep seaport and the superhighway have the capacity to diversify the nationâ€™s economy, Governor Ikpeazu also maintained: â€œIf we are serious about diversification and giving equal opportunities to all parts of Nigeria, serious about combating crime and all those things that have held us down economically, the best thing to do is to encourage the realisation of these signature projects. So we are appealing to the good reasons and logic of our leaders everywhere to lend their voice and support.â€
Ikpeazu said it is ironic â€œfor a country that is so blessed with many opportunities from its geography through the sea, rivers, and oceans to the people to stick to strict restrictions created by them, instead of placing their fingers on those things that God has given to them freely.â€
Ikpeazu said his state which shares borders with Cross River will be privileged to benefit from the abundant natural endowment that God has blessed the state with, adding that â€œthe time for us to tap the full potential of the seaport in Cross River is now and so, it is not proper to restrict the entrepreneurial spirit and energy of our people to just one or two seaports in the midst of many opportunities around us.â€
The Abia governor who described Governor Ayade as a visionary leader who is opening vistas of economic growth through the natural endowments, advocated for the marketing of Nigeria through the perspective of Cross River.
â€œA peep into Nigeria through the Cross River perspective will present a country of peace, great cultural heritage, a people who are hospitable and prepared to accept the world.
â€œIf we market our foreign direct investment efforts through the perspective of Cross River, I think we will achieve greater strides than we are doing now.â€
He stressed the need for leaders to move away from what he termed â€˜election politiciansâ€™ to visionary leaders of tomorrow who will peep into the future to see what the people need, while urging Cross Riverians to hold fast to Ayade whom God has placed in their hands to position the state where it rightly belongs in the scheme and map of things going forward.
Responding, Governor Ayade thanked his guest for urging the federal government to give all institutional support for the realisation of the superhighway and deep seaport so that every region of the country has a feel of self -worth and value.
While admitting that marketing Nigeria from the Cross River perspective remained the best way to go, Ayade quipped: â€œBut how can you market a state without opening the maritime corridor for huge commercial trade?â€
He maintained that as a state that still feels the pains of the loss of its land and the 76 oil wells, which has exposed its people to communal clashes every day because of hunger, poverty and struggle for land and survival, Governor Ayade said it behooved on the federal government to wipe the tears of the people of the state and one of the ways to do that is by giving institutional support for the realisation of the deep seaport and superhighway, he stated.