I visited Calabar, Cross River state, yesterday as an emissary of our President, President Muhammadu Buhari.
I bring you his warm and heartfelt greetings. He asked me to conduct these visits to oil producing communities and has a keen interest in all that we have been doing on the visits to the Niger Delta and he took particular note of my visit to Cross Rivers State.
Calabar is a great State, world famous as Nigeria’s first capital, home of the first international carnival in sub- Saharan Africa, home of Tinapa and the first monorail in Nigeria, and now the first solar-powered Industrial park in Nigeria.
Besides, this State is Nigeria’s green state, perhaps the most climate friendly state in Nigeria. The governor’s tree planting effort, planting millions of trees in the state is unprecedented in the Federation.
At our MSME clinic, I also saw the great entrepreneurs of this State, especially young people doing Agro- allied food processing, to those involved arts, crafts and technology.
In addition, great sons and daughters of this State are doing excellently in the Federal Government. The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita is performing very well, and Pastor Usani Ughuru Usani has also done well. I am sure you have heard of the giantt strides of Gen. Moses Bisong Obi (Rtd), as the UN advisor on the Northeast Humanitarian initiative.
This is no ordinary state; you are rich in history and richer in promise. The young and vibrant Cross Riverians are doing great things at home and abroad. Who has not heard of the exploits Ekpo Mbang in the National football team and many others.
You are no ordinary people and it is impossible to ignore you.
The ceding of Bakkasi as a result of the judgement of the ICJ is a development that we all consider a loss. But the President strongly believes that while we ruminate over the legal issues we just not allow Nigerian citizens in Ikang and elsewhere to suffer.
The Federal Government will certainly do more and engage more with the displaced in Bakassi. This is our duty and our commitment. We will also thoroughly investigate the issues you have raised on the relationship between the military, the militants and the people of Bakassi.
The Federal Government is certainly interested in Cross Rivers; the President himself re-negotiated the China-Exim loan for the Lagos-Calabar rail.
In our budget this year, we have provided for the Udokpani/Ikot-Ekpene road and I also know that the Hon. Minister of Niger Delta Affiars, Usani Ughuru has been negotiating for the Calabar/Ogoja road.
There are other environmental projects that this government is working on, am sure you must have heard of the work we are doing in Adiabo-Okurikang Erosion Control, Eastern Naval Command Erosion Control Project Phase 1 and New Map Erosion Control Project at Ikot Nkebre mass slide Erosion site.
We are also excited about what Governor Ayade is doing here, the solar powered Industrial park, pharmaceutical manufacturing factory, Garment factory and others. We will support the Super-highway and deep sea port. A lot of progress has been made on the EIA issue, and I believe that will be resolved very soon.
The vision of our President for our Nation is one where the Federal Government partners with the States to create industrial, commercial and professional opportunities for all our citizens.
The business of government is to ensure that we facilitate trade, facilitate commerce, facilitate the professions and that is exactly what we are going to do and what we are doing in the next few months and in the next few years to ensure that we are able to provide all of the opportunities that are necessary.
And that is why I commend the state government on the garment factory; that factory is an outstanding example of how to provide jobs very quickly to a large number of people and I hope that will be replicated in different states of the federation.
Ultimately, we know this country can do so much better and we are determined to ensure that we maximize the potential of this country, we have the smartest people; there is no question at all that Nigerians are the best educated you find anywhere in the world. They are the best educated professionals, they are the best educated businessmen, commercial people, we have the acumen; we have everything that it takes.
Everything that we require as a nation, we have it, we have the land, we have the resources, and that is why we believe that in this country we can grow what we eat and produce what we use.
There is no reason at all why we cannot be self-sufficient in practically everything. I want to just say that it is the determination of this government to ensure that anybody who is willing to push their potentials to whatever extent, the government of Nigeria will be behind him/her to do so.
That is why I was so excited today to see so much that young people are doing all over the State .
I want to congratulate you all for the great strides that you are making as a people and as a State and also to wish you a very happy 50th anniversary.