Two key assets in Cross River State, the Obudu Cattle Ranch and the Tinapa Business Resort could spring back to life to meet the aspirations of the stateâ€™s immediate past two governors, Mr. Donald Duke and Senator Lyel Imoke, if former national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Hon. Emmanuel Ibeshi is elected governor of the state in the next election.
Ibeshi who is set to declare his intention to run for governor in Cross River State presently has said that these two projects, which have since been lying comatose in the last three years since Imoke left government, are at the core of a 12-prong economic, social and entrepreneurial transformation and rescue mission which are the pillars of his action plan as governor of Cross River State.
Interestingly, it was learnt that Duke and Imoke, along with Ibeshi, together fashioned the new Cross River State vision with Duke picked to begin the stateâ€™s revival mission in May 1999, an assignment he discharged and handed over to Imoke in 2007.
â€œTruth be told, Donald Duke used eight years to put Cross River in the face of the world as the destination of choice for commercial travellers and a haven for tourism seeking foreigners as well as Nigerians,â€ Ibeshi was quoted as saying.
He further said: â€œDuke revamped the Obudu Cattle Ranch and created the Tinapa project, a N200 billion annual economy aimed at creating thousands of jobs. These giant strides had set the pace for the economic and socio-political development of Cross River State as a destination of choice for investors,â€ Ibeshi was reported to have added.
He regretted however that the pace of activities in the state in the last three years has reduced these enviable projects to mere historical monuments with nothing to show, a situation that has turned the state into a sleepy environment compared to the vibrancy with which it was known from 1999 to 2015.
â€œSenator Imoke succeeded Duke and added value to the foundation laid by Duke. Imoke made access to rural communities his first target to enable rural dwellers to commute through asphalted roads instead of earth roads that collapsed during heaven rains.
â€œHe partnered with the African Development Bank in the Rural Access Mobilisation Project (RAMP) and reached almost all rural neighbourhoods in Cross River State with RAMP Phase 1.
â€œImoke created the Rural Development Agency (RUDA) that became the main fulcrum of his administration tending towards rural development and infrastructure.
â€œImoke established the Institute of Technology and Management Ugep and the Shonghai Farms. These two key projects of Imokeâ€™s were aimed at tapping into the agricultural potentials of Cross River State using Shonghai model. The Institute of Management and Technology was established to build capacity for the value chains realised from the Shonghai model.
â€œImoke established Micro Finance and Enterprise Development Agency (MEDA) to encourage young entrepreneurs by giving them soft loans in their various fields of endeavour in line with identified value chains â€œThese are but a few amongst many other agencies Imokeâ€™s administration created to give verve To making Cross River State sustain the enviable status that Donald Duke had placed her nationally and globally,â€ Ibeshi reminisced.
He, however, regretted that all these projects have become comatose, thereby taking Cross River State almost back to the pre-1999 era, a situation he promised to address as a matter of urgency, to resuscitate and re-launch the state back to its position of glory, and position it immediately to reclaim its once leading place as the destination of choice for tourism and commerce.