The Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, on Monday described his Cross River State counterpart, Ben Ayade as a man of “courage and vision.”
Ikpeazu made the remark while urging the Federal Government to lend its support to the actualization of the 274km superhighway and the Bakassi Deep Seaport projects embarked on by the Ayade-led state government.
Speaking at the Cross River State Executive Council Chamber meeting in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, Ikpeazu maintained that the projects were of huge economic benefits not only to Cross River, but the entire country and South East in particular.
The Abia State Governor, who expressed excitement at the multi-billion dollars twin projects said: “It is only a man of courage and vision that can embark on such monumental projects. It is not about Cross River but about Nigeria.
“If we all support the governor to bring the projects to fruition, they will ramp up the economy of not only Cross River, but also that of the North East as it will allow access to the sea in a few hours and the potentials of that opportunity will add value to other states.”
Insisting that the Bakassi deep seaport and the superhighway have the capacity to diversify the nation’s economy, Ikpeazu noted that, “If we are serious about diversification and giving equal opportunities to all parts of Nigeria, serious about combating crime and all those things that have held us down economically, the best thing to do is to encourage the realisation of these signature projects. So we are appealing to the good reasons and logic of our leaders everywhere to lend their voice and support.”
Ikpeazu said it was ironic, “for a country that is so blessed with many opportunities from its geography through the sea, rivers, oceans to the people to stick to strict restrictions created by them, instead of placing their fingers on those things that God has given to them freely.”
He noted that his state which shares borders with Cross River will be privileged to benefit from the abundant natural endowment that God has blessed the state with.
According to Ikpeazu, “The time for us to tap the full potentials of the seaport in Cross River is now and so, it is not proper to restrict the entrepreneurial spirit and energy of our people to just one or two seaports in the midst of many opportunities around us.”
He advocated for the marketing of Nigeria through the perspective of Cross River.
Ayade said, “A peep into Nigeria through the Cross River perspective will present a country of peace, great cultural heritage, a people who are hospitable and prepared to accept the world.
“If we market our foreign direct investment efforts through the perspective of Cross River, I think we will achieve greater strides than we are doing now.”
He stressed the need for leaders to move away from what he termed, “election politicians” to visionary leaders of tomorrow who will peep into the future to see what the people need.
The governor urged people of Cross River to hold fast to Ayade whom God has placed in their hands to position the state where it rightly belongs in the scheme and map of things going forward.