Ayade: Why I’m Building Industries All Over Cross River
Cross River governor, Prof Ben Ayade, has rationalized his focus on the establishment of industries all over the stat rather than embarking on other ventures that have less value to the development of the citizenry. Ayade who was speaking at the Cross River Rice city situated at the Ayade Industrial Park in Calabar, venue for the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN)/ CBN/Cross River inauguration program said, the idea was to create jobs.
“I know what I am doing when I made a choice to go into industrialization. I can build a road from here to Ouagadougou, it would not create jobs, but when you build a factory it creates jobs,” he said, asking rhetorically, “why are you a governor when your people go to bed hungry?” Ayade listed some of the industries undertaken by his administration to include a cosmetic factory, the Cross River Garment Factory, the Calendar Pharmaceutical Factory, the rice seed and seedlings factory, a 30,000 tonnes per annum cocoa processing plant, and the ultramodern rice milk in Ogoja.
According to him, “these factories have been built in just under three years in a state where we get near zero allocation from the federation account, a state that is the first to pay salaries ever since I came into office in spite of the fact that I have brought thousands of people into the pay roll through appointments.” The governor maintained that he had to do all these not because he has so much as the state has the lowest allocation in the country, but because he cares enough, intimating that, his spirit and commitment to the citizenry stands above every other consideration. Continuing, the governor reasoned that “when you put smiles on human beings, when you see somebody come to you in pain and you take away that pain or burden, that is when you are truly serving God.
The Bible is clear on this as you cannot fail to give because you don’t have enough.” Ayade who spoke amidst cheers from the farmers gathered at the event remarked that, “anybody who has never believed in farming, this is the time to believe. It is the future, it takes the federal government N460 billion and additional N60 billion in the month of December to import rice. Cross River is ready to harvest a whole chunk of that money as we are producing seedlings in this big factory and from our N1.3 trillion budget, we know for sure that the minimum of N100 billion of that money will come from this factory.” On the federal government’s decision to support about 25 thousand rice farmers in the state with N10.8 billion, the governor said: “We appreciate the gesture but what we will appreciate more is when our farmers don’t have to till or toil under the sun.
Let them have the opportunity to use the latest technology in farming and not put them through the mercy of rainfall to be able to have their yield and harvest. Let them not toil in vain because by the time they harvest, there will be nobody to buy o the crops from them.” In a clarion call to Cross Riverians, Ayade charged, “rise above the physical reality of the cash but focus more on what will bring value and sense of progress. Let us be committed to the fact that you cannot go back to the farm as our parents did as I will like to see our young men go to farm in their cars, drive their tilling machines and tractors and get a harvester to harvest the products.” Speaking earlier, the National Deputy President of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Segun Atoh applauded Ayade for embarking on agricultural ventures that would boost food sufficiency for self- reliance.
He said Cross River was blessed with “a good governor in Ayade. He is truly a leader because a leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. Rice farming in Nigeria is the largest employer of labour in the country,” and urged the people of the state to avail themselves of the “opportunity created by the governor to key into the program.