TWO key assets in Cross River State, the Obudu Cattle Ranch and the Tinapa Business Resort could spring back to live to meet the aspirations of the state’s immediate past two governors, Mr. Donald Duke and Senator Lyel Imoke, if Mr Emmanuel Ibeshi is elected governor of the state in the next election.
Although he has not formally declared his intention, persons familiar with Ibeshi said the two projects, which had since been comatose in the last three years since Imoke left government, are at the core of a 12-pronged economic, social and entrepreneurial transformation and rescue mission which are the pillars of Ibeshi’s action plan as governor of Cross River State if elected.
Interestingly, it was learned that Duke and Imoke, along with Ibeshi, together fashioned the new Cross River State vision with Duke picked to begin the state’s revival mission in May 1999, an assignment he discharged and handed over to Imoke in 2007.
“Truth be told, Donald Duke used eight years to put Cross River on the face of the world as the destination of choice for commercial travellers and a haven for tourism seeking foreigners as well as Nigerians,” Ibeshi said.
“Duke revamped the Obudu Cattle Ranch and created the Tinapa project, a N200 billion annual economy aimed at creating thousands of jobs. These giant strides had set the pace for the economic and socio-political development of Cross River State as a destination of choice for investors,” he added.
He regretted that the pace of activities in the state in the last three years had reduced these enviable projects to mere historical monuments with nothing to show, a situation that has turned the state into a sleepy environment compared to the vibrancy with which it was known from 1999 to 2015.
“Senator Imoke succeeded Duke and added value to the foundation laid by Duke. Imoke made access to rural communities his first target to enable rural dwellers commute through asphalted roads instead of earth roads that collapsed during heaven rains.
“He partnered the African Development Bank in the Rural Access Mobilisation Project, RAMP and reached almost all rural neighbourhoods in Cross River State with RAMP Phase 1.
“Imoke created the Rural Development Agency, RUDA, that became the main fulcrum of his administration tending towards rural development and infrastructure.
“Imoke established the Institute of Technology and Management, Ugep and the Shonghai Farms. These two key projects of Imoke’s were aimed at tapping into the agricultural potentials of Cross River State using the Shonghai model. The Institute of Management and Technology was established to build capacity for the value chains realised from the Shonghai model.
“Imoke established Micro Finance and Enterprise Development Agency, MEDA, to encourage young entrepreneurs by giving them soft loans in their various fields of endeavour in line with identified value chains
“These are but a few amongst many other agencies Imoke’s administration created to give verve to making Cross River State sustain her enviable status that Donald Duke had placed her nationally and globally,” Ibeshi added.