Bassey Inyang in Calabar
The industrialisation effort of Cross River State governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, has started yielding fruits as the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has placed a N3 billion order for the state to supply rice seedlings to all the states in the southern part of the country.
Governor Ayade disclosed this to news men recently at the Rice Seedling and Seed Multiplication Factory located along Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Bypass in Calabar.
The governor who upon taking oath of office for a second term turned his office to that of a project manager said: “Today I can tell you proudly that we have received a N3 billion order from the Federal Government through its Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)/Rice Framers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) rice value chain programme to produce and supply seedlings to all the states in the southern part of our country.”
Beaming with excitement, Ayade said: “So, I have N3 billion in my pocket as we speak and I can say it loudly that I have almost recovered my investment here in this factory. That’s smart thinking and that’s the way I’m going.”
According to the governor, “You can imagine the same rice seedling factory that the social media reported that immediately after its commissioning by Mr. President, the vendors came in and packed their equipment, but today that same factory is the one giving Cross River this huge amount through a contract with the Federal Government.
“The Rice Seeds and Seedlings Factory was my first term project. What we are doing here is to produce high quality and disease resistant seedlings to farmers and we have started reaping from our labour.”
On his new position as a Projects Manager of the state the governor disclosed that “Immediately I took the oath of office for my second term, I downgraded my position to that of a project manager while my deputy will be acting as governor.
“So, indeed, I have also given him approval limit up to N1 billion. He will do that without recourse to me.
“He is a professor and more experienced than me and I strongly believe that he’s got the capacity to run government to allow me bring my energy to bear in the various industries we have set up.”
Continuing, he said: “As you can see, I started so many projects, most of which are at 80 to 90 percent completion level. So, I’m just struggling to ensure that all the factories and our industrial clusters start rolling out products into the market.”
Offering details of his role as projects manager, Governor Ayade further hinted: “As a project manager, I will be spending most of my time in Ikom Local Government Area to allow me properly monitor all my developmental projects in the central senatorial district including the cocoa processing plant and the superhighway projects as well as the ultra modern vitaminized rice processing plant in Ogoja, amongst others.
“So, I will be shuttling between Ogoja and Ikom. For this reason, I am taking delivery of a mobile house soon to allow me a working space any where I will be going across the state.”
He said he will dedicate the next four years to “projects management to get all projects into finalization. You will not see me again in the office except during executive council meetings, or I’m receiving investors or federal government delegations. I want to ensure that we deliver on all our projects and in good time.
I want to prove a point to the world that it is not all black men that think from their stomach. I use my brian and I want to say that money is not everything, otherwise, Cross River State would have collapsed.”
But painstakingly, Ayade said “Cross River State is trying to take a lead but with almost zero allocation relative to our overhead costs, but that is where the joy lies because if the governor’s job is to sit down and receive allocations, award contracts and approve payment then, any Tom, Dick and Harry can be a governor.
“The beauty of a governor comes when there is creativity, where the intellect comes to play and you take decisions that will affect the populace positively. I see the prosperity ahead and I feel a sense of pride that today, we are industrializing with visible factories and companies already employing our teeming youths. So, I can’t achieve these by sitting down in an air-conditioned office, I must move to the field.”
Challenging Cross Riverians to judge him after eight years, the governor said: “After eight years, when you look back at the income of the state and where I would have taken the state to, even if you are the son of a devil, you will say Ayade has done well. At that time, even my most ardent critic will say he was wrong.”