Fellow Cross Riverians, friends of our dear State and well wishers, when I took the oath of office as Governor of Cross River State a little over 3-years ago, I pledged to transform the State into a peaceful, industrialized, secure, economically viable, politically stable and culturally diverse society, where social harmony and the rule of law are strongly established.

I promised then to serve the people of Cross River State by improving and sustaining a vibrant economy.

I promised to take government to those who need government the most.

I promised to build upon the past and actualize our collective dream of taking Cross River State to the next level of its progression, for our common goal.

Today, because of our collective efforts, we are on course to achieve all our promises and even more. Despite the challenges we have faced as an administration, we have taken steps that have placed our dear State as one of the lead States in Nigeria.

We started our journey then by articulating a Seven-Point Agenda aimed at creating wealth and prosperity for our people, as entrenched in the State Economic Blueprint (2007 – 2011).

To ensure a full implementation and actualization of the blueprint, we embarked on massive reforms in the Public Service, Local Government, Social Welfare, Tax System and Public Procurement, and ensured legal backing through legislation. Our public procurement reforms ensured that we institutionalized Due Process in all our procurement processes. I insisted that things be done the proper way because I knew it will instill discipline, transparency, and accountability in governance and in the use of public funds, which will in turn engender confidence from both the private sector, and the citizenry.

The result of this today is that the investment climate in Cross River State ranks about the best in the country. This is evident in the number of new businesses being registered in our State. This number grew remarkably from 187 in 2007, to 868 in 2009. We’ve 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.

Knowing that only a healthy citizenry can be positioned to take full advantage of the Government’s wealth engineering initiatives, we have within the past 3-years embarked on a massive Healthcare delivery programme that is aimed at delivering effective, efficient, qualitative, affordable and accessible health services round the clock.

We have upgraded 130 Primary Healthcare Centres and are building 66 new ones, to ensure that every ward in our State has at least one decent health facility. At the secondary level, we have also renovated 16 General Hospitals which are being equipped and provided with drugs. Apart from these, a state-of-the-art referral hospital, which will pioneer Medical Tourism in Nigeria is to come on stream soon.

Our social security programme is second to none in Sub-Saharan Africa. Conceptionalized as "Project Hope" and "Project Comfort", the programme is designed to provide free healthcare to pregnant women and children under the age of five, and a Conditional Cash transfer for the very poor. About 190,000 people are currently registered, and enjoying the benefits of the scheme.

Our efforts to arrest the sharp decline of educational standards in our State inspired the definition of the "Cross River State Standard". This is a minimum benchmark for facilities and intellectual attainment in all schools in the State. 60 Secondary Schools and 125 Primary Schools are undergoing renovation in the first phase to meet the prescribed standard, with the intent being to cover all schools in the State over the next four years. A College of Education has been established to train middle level manpower for our schools.

We were the first State in the country to implement the 27% increase in remuneration of Teachers. This action, despite lean resources was borne out of our believe that a well motivated teaching force was critical to the success of the education programme. Today, these efforts have witnessed significant improvement in standards, and the pass rate of our children in different examinations.

My administration has prioritized the Agriculture sector, realizing its potential for wealth creation and economic development. The policy thrust has been the engagement of a commercial, market-driven, and competitive agriculture strategy that empowers farmers in a real sense. This 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 like credit, farm plots, fertilizers, implements, training, and high-yielding disease resistant crops.

In the past 3-years, we have broadened the tourism spectrum and experience across the State, with significant value addition, thus consolidating our position as the leading tourism destination in Nigeria. The Calabar Festival, Carnival Calabar, Obudu Mountain Race and Leboku Festival have all been re-branded and re-organized, and now attract greater interest from tourists and significantly, corporate sponsors. The phenomenal increase in attendance at the Festival and Carnival have ultimately led to an increase in the number of hotels and hotel rooms in the State. An indication that our people are beginning to derive direct benefit.

Our flagship tourism facilities: the Obudu Mountain Resort and the Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort are gradually beginning to fulfill their potential. We have made additional investments, to improve the value chain by facilitating and promoting the development of a Themed Amusement Park, a Water Front Resort, (The Riviera Club) and a Convention Centre, which would house a visitor’s centre.

My administration has worked tirelessly to preserve our environment. We organized an Environmental Summit which resulted in the development of a State policy on environment that stipulates the conservation of our rainforest. We banned logging activities and designated the State’s mangrove swamp a reserve area. These have all scaled up the value of our carbon stock, which we shall be earning revenue from in the not too distant future. Apart from these, we have put in place an efficient waste management programme, which has ensured that our dear State remains the cleanest in the country.

Perhaps the programme that has endeared us the most to our people is our massive rural development programme. Through this programme, we have opened access to our hitherto forgotten rural areas, provided electricity and boreholes in hundreds of communities for our rural folks.

Only recently, I commissioned the Mbube Road in Ogoja as the first of the 29 rural access roads being constructed across the State.

The excitement on the faces of the people on that day was palpable, and it gave us joy that we were touching the lives of the people who need government the most. These roads are boosting economic activities in those areas and giving our farmers opportunities for better deals. We are in the process of embarking on the Second Phase of another 500 kilometres across the State.

We have ensured that our urban centres remain the most livable in the country by sustaining our urban renewal programme in Calabar, Ugep, Ikom, Ogoja and Obudu. Calabar South is now easily accessible, thanks to this programme, over 44 roads have been reconstructed. Obudu and Ogoja have also enjoyed massive urban road construction. The streets of Calabar are a beauty to behold at night, with over 47 kilometres of Street Lights, which we are extending to Calabar South and other urban centres to enhance their value as commercial hubs in the State. Today, over 19,000 households have been connected to regular uninterrupted public water supply. This scheme is currently being extended to cover some other key urban cities including Ogoja, Ikom, and Obudu.

We introduced a well organized public transportation system, structured to match the tourism prospects of our State with the banning of the use of motorcycles as a mean of public transportation.

In addition to all these we are partnering with private sector in building, an Ultra-Modern Metropolitan Market for Calabar, to match our capital city’s Destination Cross River Status, and meet the demands of a growing commercial city.

We are also developing an Energy City, an oil and gas logistics base, designed to take advantage of the Nigerian Local Content law, providing international standard infrastructure to meet the needs of the Oil and Gas Industry.

Our Public and Civil Service has also been revitalized and re-engineered through training and capacity building programmes. In order to ensure a well motivated workforce, we are implementing an annual percentage increment on salaries and allowances, vehicle ownership scheme for senior level officers and a staff housing scheme.

It is not accidental that Cross River State remains the safest and most peaceful State in the country. This administration has taken proactive and pragmatic steps to ensure the protection of the lives and property of our citizens.

Fellow Cross Riverians, there have been challenges. First, we grappled with the challenge of a huge debt profile. Then came the loss of the 76 Oil Wells with its attendant loss of revenue. Inspite of this, we give God the glory: we have not failed to deliver service to our people.

Three and half years ago, I offered myself to serve you with all my heart and strength. By the special grace of God, you entrusted me with the sacred responsibility of stewarding our dear State.

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.

Through our efforts, we have transformed Cross Riverians from being an apologetic people, to being a self-assured people taking pride in their culture and heritage.

Never before has an administration empowered Cross Riverians like this administration. Today we have more Cross Riverians participating in the economy of the State than ever before.

We have toiled and have laid the foundation for expanded opportunities for all our citizens, a foundation for a more secure, united, healthier and more prosperous Cross River State. I have enjoyed your trust, confidence and unprecedented political support.

Today I humbly seek that support again to run for the Office of Governor of Cross River State, together with my Deputy, Barr, Efiok Cobham for another 4-year term.

Should you trust us with the mandate again, we will be consolidating on these gains. We will be completing our laudable projects. We will be embarking on more programmes and projects that will impact positively on the lives of our people. My Guiding principle will remain; only the best is good enough for Cross River State.

Cross River State is a land of possibilities. The State is endowed with enormous potential. And the journey towards turning potential to reality is on course. Together we will fight, despite all odds, to make Cross River State the envy of all in Nigeria. We will make Cross River State the haven for investment.

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.

I thank you sincerely for your support.

God Bless you.

God bless Cross River State.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Liyel Imoke


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