The ambitious 260 kilometres of high-tech road project of Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, Southern Nigeria, is currently being stalled as the governor and the state public functionaries are focusing more on gaining massive support for their re-election bid in 2019.
In a seeming bid to connect more with the electorate, Governor Ayade says it makes no sense to pursue an ambitious development projects when the citizens are going to bed hungry.
The $3.5 billion road project which translates to around N1.2 trillion at the current foreign exchange regime, is complete with anti-slip features, speed cameras and internet connectivity all the way from Calabar, the state capital, to Benue State will open up new markets for all goods that come through the Calabar deep sea port.
Ayade said he has a total of 3,843 appointees, pointing out that statistics have clearly showed that his decision was a good one which, according to him, was evident in the voluntary payments of utility and medical bills amongst others, adding, ”when you look at Section 14, sub section 2 of our Constitution, the welfare and security of citizens is the primary purpose of government. Of what essence is the superhighway, the deep seaport or whatever when my people cannot feed?”
The governor was speaking in Calabar while addressing a crowd of political supporters drawn from the seven local government areas that make up the state’s Southern Senatorial District who gatheredon Wednesday to endorse him to seek a second term in the office.
He said, ”that is why I expanded government not because I have, but because ultimately, God sees my heart. As difficult as it appears, everything looks so cheap and easy for me because I care. Ordinarily, under the circumstance of our times, what we should have been doing is oligaramizing the economy; we should have done a helical constriction, to focus on the core needs of governance.
”But, I have chosen to serve my people because I come from your own history; I come from your heritage and your origin; I understand you, I feel you; there is a tympanic relationship. Today, look at the statistics, voluntary payment of school fees, house rent payment, medical bills payment, Cross River has noticed a significant improvement, you will notice that more flights are coming into Calabar today.
”You are realizing that Skolombo boys are over, you are realizing that we are having a finer class of society. We may not have eliminated crime in totality, but there is progress. There is homeland security taking care of that. I will be appointing 3000 more appointees to take the number above 6,000 and maintained that his ideology about human existence and not politics as well as the commendations from the people is what inspired his decision to focus more on the people.
”It is against that strength that I am here before you. But, I know very very well that normally in traditional societies where there is always focus on the bottom line which is money, governments don’t focus on people; they focus on projects and things that will get them reelected. I have focused on the stomach, I have focused on the intellect and the future that you have got that I know that it is bigger than even mine; that I feel that this intercourse that we are having will bring a better tomorrow for you.”
Moving a motion for the endorsement of the governor, the Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Joseph Bassey, seconded by Ogban Ogban said their action was borne out of a careful evaluation of Governor Ayade’s performance and other factors.
”On behalf of the people of southern senatorial district, seven alive; after carefully evaluating, crystallizing all the activities and projects of our governor, we the people of southern senatorial district hereby move and be moved that Senator Professor Ben Ayade should be adopted as a consensus candidate in the 2019 elections”, he said.