By: Kenneth Ere
It is common knowledge that Governor Ayade’s first term in office was largely characterized by an unprecedented expansion of government with the sole aim to douse social tension and unrest.
this deliberate and well fashioned out policy direction was also intended to ensure that a peaceful and enabling environment was/is created for foreign investors to further stimulate the state’s economy. It is Ayade’s assertion that crime and social unrest is usually a result of unemployment, poverty and suffering; believing that with “food on the table” one’s propensity for crime is reduced to its barest minimum.
With the Governor’s first term “Food on the table” mantra, Prof Ayade was able to reconcile Keynes and Adam Smith theories, with the mathematical theorem that places the constant “K” representing the people; A theory known today as the Ayadesian theory. It is a form of social capitalism that places the people at the apex of the food chain, where everything is channeled towards improving their welfare and catering for the vulnerable in society including tax waivers for low income earners, regular and prompt payment of salaries, appointments for large number of people not necessarily with capacity, but potentials.
Alongside Government mediated private sector intervention in the form of SPVs, to create a market/corresponding balance. A case where one man’s spending improves another’s business or his earnings. A notable example is the increased patronage by salary earners and appointees for local businesses and government private sector mediation projects like the garment factory, cocoa processing plant and the ultra modern rice seed and seedlings factory SPVs
The large number of appointees and state government assisted SPVs was able to reconcile Keynes and Adam Smith’s theory by keeping the money in circulation, sustaining a high level of economic activities and ultimately fostering prosperity.
It is this well thought out and implemented policy of governor Ayade that led to the recent Global multi-dimensional poverty index (MPI) that saw the state’s poverty index reduced drastically from its previous 30.1% in 2014 to 10% in 2018.
In his second term in office, Ayade has expanded on the mantra to “food on the table, hands on the plough”. A progression of his first time mantra of just “food on the table” where people without the necessary capacity and required skills were given jobs just to keep the peace.
His second term goal is largely geared toward full utilization of the SPVs created by government, and projects undertaken by investors who’s inducement to invest was encouraged by the peace, cleanliness and ambience that Cross River State is now known for. A direct benefit of the lack of social tension and unrest.
Primary and secondary school students have directly benefitted from the garment factory, with half a million uniforms donated to schools across the state. An ultra modern rice mill has been set up in ogoja, rice farmers have been retrained, and given high yielding rice seedlings with improved resistance to diseases from the ultra modern rice seed and seedlings factory.
Cocoa farmers have been boosted with the ultra modern and sophisticated cocoa processing plant in Ikom. The Governor, due to his sheer diligence and keen eye for details has been able to identify most of his previous appointees areas of strength/expertise and plans to utilize them where they ultimately thrive the most.
The calabar noodles factory is 100% ready, with an estimated production rate of 50,000 metric tons annually. An initiative set to tap into the federal government’s school feeding program is also expected to get patronage locally and internationally, especially from neighboring countries like Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, and has already sent out circulars for employment for qualified candidates of Cross River State descent.
Also ready to commence full operation is the cocoa processing plant, maize farm, banana plantation, the ultra modern rice seed and seedlings factory, calachika, toothpick factory, piles,pylons and poles factory, calabar pharmaceutical company (CALAPHARM) to mention but a few. The progression is so rapid and extensive, it doesn’t matter what category of work and skill set you possess; white, blue, pink or gold collar. There is ultimately something for everyone who is willing to be an active member of the Ayade’s Cross River State industrialization drive.
It is indeed truly remarkable, yet not surprising, that Cross River State, with one of the lowest federal allocation, even after paying down in excess of N85billion to service pre-existing loans was able to reduce its poverty index by over 20% in four years, even without the Spvs and industries operating at full capacity.
It can only take a genius like Sen.Prof Ben Ayade at the helm of affairs, a leadership that radiates honesty, integrity, accountability, creativity, innovation, tenacity, empathy, decision-making capabilities, as well as commitment and passion.
It is also an exciting prospect to imagine what we can achieve in another four years, with the industries and numerous SPVs operating at full capacity and our “hands on the plough”.
It is indeed clear that Cross River State, via its rapid industrialization drive is headed for ultimate self-sufficiency as it equally turns into an industrial hub of Nigeria and Africa.