The Cross River State Governor, Prof Ben Ayade has condemned the tenure of the former Minister of Niger Delta, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, saying nobody in the state celebrated him while he was in the office as Minister.
Speaking while receiving the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio in the State Executive Council Chamber, Ayade regretted that throughout the period, he was not aware of what was happening in NDDC in the State.
Ayade said he does not have information on ongoing projects in the state and as a governor, he could deny the NDDC access to his state but urged the Minister Akpabio to block off everything that separates the NDDC from the states.
“Cross River State is the only state in the Niger Delta whose people have dropped guns, the Bakassi Strike Force is not yet admitted into the amnesty and NDDC spends billions on the amnesty programme and there is no Cross Riverian benefited.
“I am shocked when I hear you reel out all the programmes, activities and projects ongoing in Cross River State and as a governor, I don’t know about them, I am not aware of these projects. It’s to tell you how isolated the NDDC is from the state governments.
“These projects are not known to us and in other words, I as governor under the provisions of the constitution can deny the ministry access to my state, but because you understand the sociology of power, so you must create a new lacuna that will block off every single thing that isolates the ministry from the states”, Professor Ayade said.
Governor Ayade called on the Ministry to partner with the state to drive the rice revolution which is ongoing in the state so as to improve a lot of youths in the region.
“We have our own son as a Minister of Niger Delta, I can tell you it is a sorry story, I don’t know any Cross Riverian who will celebrate his period as Minister, you have come and you are a God sent, do justice.
“Hardship and pains are too much in the Niger Delta States, you must rise beyond politics, you must rise beyond party lines, you must rise beyond State boundary, you must rise beyond geography, class and status and focus on why God endowed oil in our region.
“Cross River State is the least in consideration in NDDC program, please reverse it, We suffer too much, we earned N2.7billion in Federal Allocation and paid out N1.7billion every month in servicing debt, you can imagine what will be left, other states earned N17-N20 billion every month but Cross River earned N2.7b
“We are the 3rd most indebted state in the federation yet we are the 35 in terms of revenue allocation. There is a limit for intellectual money can go, we have moved to G-Money, we cannot progress further without the help of your ministry, you are almost the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Niger Delta Affairs, you can’t have this power and your sister state is suffering and watching you” he stated.
Responding, the Minister, Akpabio said, “We reassure the good people of Cross River that you will definitely not be left out in the scheme of things in the Niger Delta, we cannot work alone, I came to assure you of the possibility of creating wealth, alleviating suffering and putting food on the table of Nigerians
“Hunger has no political party, it does not have any boundary, food is food anywhere. If you are fighting corruption without fighting poverty then you are not addressing the issue because poverty leads to corruption and corruption deepens poverty and also leads to crimes.
“We have focus seriously in Cross River State, 40 units of housing estates in Akpabuyo, it is about 98% completed with water, electricity, good network of roads, construction of the State office of NDDC Ministry, we are coming to stay, we are constructing a community hall even in the University of Calabar.
“We are assisting you in the delivering of Justice, we are constructing beautiful customary court in Ogoja and it is already completed and ready for commissioning, we are doing youth development centre, a very big one in Ogoja because of the distance, they cannot come to Calabar or Akpabuyo.
“We must show love to our people, on the areas where we experience oil spills, like Ogoni, we have sunk in billions of Dollars already, we have met with European Unions, America Embassy including United Kingdom donor’s partner, they have agreed to bring in one billion Euro in 2020 to develop the Niger Delta” he also stated.
When we called on the former Minister, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani for his reaction via phone on Saturday, his line was not connecting but answering a text message sent to him by our reporter, he said that he cannot comment on Gov Ayade’s confessed lack of knowledge.
Hear him, “You cannot comment on his confessed lack of knowledge. He says he doesn’t know who….what can anyone say? That he knows? I have never sought celebrations. I do what I consider expedient. Quote me right” he stated.
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