* Godswill Akpabio
Former Akwa Ibom State Governor and Senate Minority Leader, Mr. Godswill Akpabio, last week, said he was shocked and completely blown away by the massive industrialisation going on in Cross River State.
Akpabio who was amazed at the sheer technological sophistication of the state’s rice seedlings plant under construction, during an inspection of the industrial complex, described Governor Ayade as a digital transformer.
The Senate Minority Leader said for Ayade who became governor at a time of recession and receiving meagre federal allocations to have achieved such accomplishments was pure intellect at work.
In his words: “To come to Cross River and witness these giant strides being made in the area of industrialisation for food sufficiency and employment creation, I strongly believe that if I talk, Nigerians will not take it as mere political talk because I have seen it with my two eyes and I am equally inviting other Nigerians to come and bear witness to what is happening in this state.”
Continuing, Akpabio stated: “I’m a bit shocked as I arrived this site. I knew that Governor Ayade was doing well but I didn’t know the extent to which he has gone. I’m shocked because this is the period of recession when even payment of salaries is a difficult thing for many states.
“And again, this is a period of insecurity were people are dying almost on a daily basis in Bornu, Benue, Plateau, Yobe, Adamawa and Zamora, either from herdsmen attack or Boko Haram. So, sincerely Nigeria is not a very attractive destination for investors. Yet Ayade has achieved these much,” he added.
He explained that “This seeds multiplication plant is the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa and with a very high yield producing rice seedlings, fully vitaminised that when cultivated, will not only feed the people of Cross River and Akwa Ibom States but the whole of Nigeria. I’m really amazed and I say bravo to the Ayade.”
At the Calabar Garment Factory, Akpabio intoned: “This is the biggest garment factory I have ever seen in my life. It provides employment and skills for thousands of youths. Kudos Governor Ayade.”
The former Akwa Ibom State governor further said: “Don’t forget also that this is a state that pays salaries before the 15th day of every month and even pays on May Day yearly which the civil servants protested that it was coming too early. As we speak, I’m told civil servants have been paid already for the month of May.
“I was a governor and I know how difficult to start a project and end it successfully and payment of salaries is itself a major project. And if the goveror is doing this effortlessly with lean resources and in the period of recession, the people should be appreciative of this gesture and I pray that God will give him the enablement.
“I am highly impressed and I commend Ayade for his many initiatives geared towards transforming the socio-economic landscape of this state. Let me also commend the good people of Cross River State who have been praying for him to enable these to come because there are places that these kinds of developments will come and the people themselves out of ignorant will drive them away either by harassing the investors or workers on sites.
“I believe Cross Riverians are good Christians who pray for Ayade daily because just as the Bible says, I have opened for thee the door of prosperity which no man can close. What this means is that the door of progress for Crop River, whether in a recession or poor allocation from federal government is now opened and God will continue to multiply for the state as evident in what is on ground already. “
On 2019, Akpabio maintained that “The issue of re-election is not an issue because if you have a winning team, you don’t need to change it. So, for me I’m delighted to be the first Akwa Ibom person to stand on the soil of Cross River to endorse governor Ayade for his second term in office.”
Responding, Governor Ayade said: “You know Akpabio does not mince his words, when he speaks, his comments carry weight and for the testimonials that he has given here are classical elucidation of his truth and dialectical dissection of what he has seen on ground.
“I believe that the people of Cross River State will listen to this man of quality whose foot prints in Akwa Ibom, Nigeria and indeed Africa remain indelible long after his tenure as governor. And so, for him to endorse me is very ceremonial and calls for true celebration.”