Akpan Etukudoh Aware
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has said that even if his critics do not applaud his efforts elsewhere, that he can list his achievements, at least, in the area of creating jobs and engaging his people gainfully.
The governor who said he has so far given appointments to 4000 persons, said when he sees that civil and public servants in the state regularly receive their monthly salaries he is profoundly happy.
The governor stated this in Calabar when he spoke with some journalists and visitors to his newly built Ayade Industrial Park where some factories are concentrated in Calabar.
He listed that in three years he has been able to build many industries: “My government has built the Rice City, Agro industrial park, the seedling factory, the organic fertilizer production plant, the cosmetic factory the garment factory, the pharmaceutical factory, the cotton farm, the 21MW power plant, the tooth pick factory. We have the banana plantation. I am not telling you what we are planning to do. I am telling you what is existing. Today, being the third year, cocoa processing plant, rice mill are about to be completed. These are not things that I am planning. They are things already done”.
He said that these industries have provided many skilled, unskilled and indirect employment to very good number of Nigerians who are regularly being paid handsomely.
“Do you think we have the money? I have expanded government. Everybody who was due to be permanent secretary that was stagnated for the last 15 years, I have promoted all of them. In one fell swoop, 33 permanent secretaries and others, I have paid them.
” I have taken all the excess contract staff that were at the Ministry of Water Resources, Water Board and have converted them to regular staff. I have also taken workers from CRGIA who were non-regular staff and converted them to permanent staff. I can say emphatically that many unemployed young people have been taken away from the streets.
“This means that I have created direct and indirect opportunities for additional 9,000 jobs. Lest I forget, I have authorized SUBEB to employ additional 1,000 teachers. But where is the money to pay them all? Yet I am paying them all every month! Now people should keep their mouths shut. Cross River State is the number one state in salary payment. I am a child of a civil servant. I come from a humble background…I have seen the contrast between wealth and poverty. My father worked in Water Board and retired in Water Board. So, I know what this small salary is, and I shall keep to this.”