BY IKE UCHECHUKWU – CALABAR
Immediate past Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, has declared his intention to run for the governorship of Cross River State in 2019 on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Duke who declared his intention in his hometown in Ikot Edem Odo Ward in Akpabuyo local government area of the state on Monday regretted that the state has lost its status as “a jewel in the crown of Nigeria” under the present administration.
He said that before now, the state was a reference point which former President Olusegun Obasanjo used to show other governors how a state should look like, but unfortunately is no longer the case.
His words : “It is therefore important for us to put in place and agenda for the restoration of our paradise. We must restore this paradise. Cross River used to be the tourism destination of Nigeria.
“That is why it is important for men and women of good will to stand together when we have seen that unless we salvage our today, there is no guarantee of a tomorrow for us.
“I have pledged myself to be a steward for the people of Cross River State. And I want to assure Cross Riverians that this is a major assignment that we must achieve. If the state progresses, that progress trickles down to everyone.
“The most important thing is to restore the love, the bonding and the unity and harmony that used to be the hallmark of Cross River State.
“The agenda for me as an aspirant is the restoration of what the world used to know as the paradise of Nigeria. It is the restoration of what used to be the jewel in the crown of Nigeria.
” It is to restore what God has endowed us with, our tourism sites and natural endowments. When you talk of Cross River State, the first thing that resonates in your mind is the beauty and blessing of God that nature has endowed us with. It is our hills, it is our riverside, it is our vegetation, it is our people, it is our history, it is our culture, it is our heritage.
” It is the love that binds us together. It is the critical dynamism of our youths who commit themselves in the search for livelihood. It is our elders who often times are never given attention in political calculations.
“As a foremost business leader in the state, I have been a participant and a pioneer in orchestrating what used to be the Cross River tourism that the world spoke about. There is so much to do in the state.
“I have a wand. It is not a magical wand because you can only be a leader if you are a team player. No leader can arrogate to himself the monopoly of wisdom and knowledge. But I would like to build a team across every socio-political strata.
“I would like to promote a Cross River United agenda for the promotion of the peace, security and goodwill and fortune. We need to restore our common health in order for us to regain our common wealth,” he said.
The former minister also commended other governorship aspirants on the platform of the APC, who he said have enriched the field of aspirants so that the people will have the opportunity of choice.
He said if a party does not provide the opportunity for choice, such is not a democratic political party.