EVER—SINCE he took office as governor of Cross-River State in 2007 through his departure in 2015, Liyel Imoke has maintained a somewhat dignified silence on his predecessor, Donald Duke’s tenure in office from 1999 to 2007.
Yesterday,Imoke. however, fired back at Duke, who has been openly critical of Imoke over the years. In an interview granted www.calitown.com, and published by TheWill, Imoke described Duke as egoistic, a serial failure and someone who wouldn’t appreciate efforts that were not his.
He said, “Let me begin by saying that the reason I have not spoken all this while is three-fold. Number one is my respect for the office of governor, which we both occupied, and what it represents; number two is the commitment to the success of the Cross River State project, irrespective of our differences; and, number three – and more importantly – the fact that telling it as it is about Tinapa, for instance, would have made it near-impossible for any investor to take a second look at the project, which has cost the government and people of Cross River State over N100 billion in contingent and other liabilities. I didn’t want to put the death knell on this white elephant.
“Contrary to what Donald would have everyone believe, Tinapa failed before he left office. It was poorly conceptualised and became a burden on the state in the course of its execution. There were several policy and regulatory issues that should have been addressed either before or in the course of project implementation, as Cross River State did not have the capacity and resources to carry the burden of
of sustaining a growing concern of that magnitude.
“The project was financed with loans of billions of Naira guaranteed by the state and the Federal Government. The project was supposed to pay for itself, it never did, because there were no investors. Private money only goes where it makes business sense. And the fact that no one other than the bankers to the state government, who were coerced and threatened with loss of patronage, invested in Tinapa, is clear indication of its failure ab initio in both conceptualisation and execution.