Cross River Governorship: Imoke Seeks Second Term
CALABAR, Sept 25, (THEWILL) - Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State has sought the support of Cross Riverians again to run for the office of Governor of the state, together with his Deputy, Mr. Efiok Cobham for another four-year-term.
Imoke, who made this known in a broadcast on Friday in Calabar, disclosed that three and half years ago, he offered himself to serve with all his heart and strength, adding that by the special grace of God, "you entrusted me with the sacred responsibility of stewarding our dear state."
According to Imoke, "over the years we have forged stronger ties between our people and built a truly united state where each individual is given the same opportunities to realize their dreams and visions without fear of intimidation", stressing that "through our efforts, we have transformed Cross Riverians from often being an apologetic people, to being a self-assured people taking pride in their rich culture and heritage."
The Governor remarked that never before has an administration empowered Cross Riverians than his administration, as today there are more Cross Riverians participating in the economy of the state than ever before, emphasizing that the state has toiled and has laid the foundation for expanded opportunities for all its citizens, a foundation for a more secure, united, healthier, and more prosperous Cross River.
This according to him, is a foundation for a brighter future for the children as he has enjoyed the peoples trust, confidence and unprecedented supported.
He said should the people trust them with their mandate again, they will be consolidating on these gains, complete laudable programmes, embark on more programmes and projects that will impact positively on the lives of the people and that though they have laid a solid foundation, the best is yet to come, adding that." My guiding principle will remain only the best is good enough for Cross River State."
Going memory lane, Imoke reminded Cross Riverians that when he took the oath office as Governor of Cross River State a little over three years ago, he pledged to transform the state into a peaceful, industrialized, secure, economically viable, political stable and culturally diverse society, where social harmony and the rule of law are strongly established.
According to him, he promised to serve the people of Cross River by improving and sustaining a vibrant economy as well as take government to those who needed government the most while building upon the past and actualize a collective dream of taking the state to higher levels of progression.
The governor stated that today, because of collective efforts, the administration is on course to achieve all its promises and even more, adding that despite the challenges it has faced as an administration, it has taken steps that have placed Cross River as one of the lead states in Nigeria because it started its journeys then by articulating a Seven-Point Agenda aimed at creating wealth and prosperity for the people, as entrenched in the State Economic Blueprint (2007 – 2011).
He pointed out that the result of this today is that the state has become a haven for investors as evident in the number of new businesses being registered in the state as the number grew remarkably from 187 in 2007, to 868 in 2009, adding that government has set up a Microfinance and Enterprise Development Agency (MEDA) to provide support to the micro, small and medium enterprise sector, and help grow local enterprise.
Imoke listed the achievements of his administration to include the upgrading of 130 Primary Health Centres and building of 66 new ones, renovation of 16 General Hospitals which are fully being equipped, and conceptionalization of Project Hope and Project Comfort designed to provide free healthcare to pregnant women and children under the age of five which about 190,000 people are currently registered and enjoying its benefits.
On education he disclosed that, 60 secondary schools and 125 primary schools are undergoing renovation in the first phase to meet the "Cross River State standard, "establishment of a College of Education to train middle level manpower for schools, implemented the 27% increase in remuneration of teachers as well as shown zero tolerance towards cultism and other social vices that impact negatively on the lives of some of the young people.
He explained that the administration has prioritized the agriculture sector which is complimented by the Cross River Agricultural and Rural Empowerment Scheme (CARES), which is presently economically empowering farmers across the state through provision of incentives including low interest loans, farm plots, fertilizers, implements, training, and high yielding diseases resistant crops.
Imoke further added that in the past three years, the administration has broadened the tourism spectrum and experience across the state with significant value addition, thus consolidating its position as the leading tourism destination in Nigeria as seen in the Calabar Festival, Carnival Calabar, Obudu Mountain Race and Leboku Festival which have been rebranded and reorganized and now attract greater patronage from tourists and significantly, corporate sponsors while the flagship tourism facilities; the Obudu Mountain Resort and the Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort are gradually beginning to fulfill their potentials as efforts are at hand to promote the development of a Themed Amusement Park, a Water Front Resort and a convention Centre which would house a visitor’s centre.
On roads, he disclosed that 29 rural access roads, including the Mbube- Ogoja road, were constructed across the state in the first phase while the second phase will cover 500 kilometres to boost economic activities in those areas and give farmers a better deal while 44 roads have been constructed in the urban areas of Calabar, Ugep, Ikom, Ogoja and Obudu, adding that street lights in Calabar cover 47 kilometers as 19,000 house holds in Calabar have been connected to regular uninterrupted public water supply and additional 25,000 are to be soon connected.
Others include organized public transport, building of an ultra-modern metropolitan market for Calabar, development of an energy city and as the public and civil service has been revitalized and reengineered through training and capacity building programmes, implementation of an annual percentage increment on salaries and wages, vehicle ownership scheme for senior level officers and staff housing scheme.
On challenges, Imoke disclosed that the state grappled with the challenge of a huge debt profile, loss of the 76 oil wells with it’s a attendant loss of revenue, but however, emphasized that "Cross River State is a land of possibilities. The State is endowed with enormous potential. And the journey towards turning potentials to reality is on course. Together we will make Cross River State the envy of all in Nigeria. We will make Cross River State the ultimate destination for business and leisure."
He added, "we will make Cross River State the citadel of education. We will build a Cross River State of prosperous, healthy people living in harmony with nature. My mission is to consolidate on the gains of today for a better tomorrow, with God on our side, we shall succeed."