By Ike Uchechukwu
Cross River State Governor ,Prof. Ben Ayade, has called on igbos to invest in the state in a bid boost the industrialization drive when their privatisation bid Kick-starts.
Gov. Ayade made the call when Igbo Community under the aegis of Igbo Congress in Cross River paid him a courtesy visit at the Executive Council Chambers ,governor’s office, Calabar .
He assured the Igbo’s living in the state that his administration would continue to provide the enabling environment for every resident of the state to excel irrespective of ethnic affiliations while urging them to bid for the various industries his administration has established when their privatisation process starts.
The delegation led by the President of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo in Cross River state, Barrister Ugorji Nwabueze disclosed that visit to the governor was to thank him for appointing a number of their sons and daughters into his government.
His words : “We don’t see you as Igbo’s, we see you as Nigerians, we don’t see you as Igbos, we see you as CrossRiverians. Some of you have lived for over 20 years here, you had your kids here, and so, what stops those kids from enjoying the full rights and privilege of CrossRiverians?
“I am completely against a structure where because you are not from a particular state you cannot run an election in that state even if you were born and bred there and have your investments there. That has to change”
“And that is what is obtainable in the US, you don’t run an election because you are native to a particular place, you run an election because you are resident of the place.
“None of us chooses our tribes. We are from a particular ethnic group just because we were born into such a group. You didn’t wish to be born Igbo you were born into an Igbo family. I didn’t wish to be from Obudu I was born into an Obudu family, that’s why I am from Obudu,” Ayade said.
He maintained that Igbo’s in Cross River have huge investment in the state adding that they should further participate in the economy of the state by keying into the industries his administration has established.
“Just note that the factories we have built so far are open to you, we will be advertising very soon for privatization, for long term operations and maintenance, please feel free to come and indicate your interest”, he said.
Earlier, Ugorji Nwabueze Esq. who doubles as Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Non-Indigene Affairs( Igbo) assured Prof Ayade of Igbo unflinching support .
“We want to assure you, Your Excellency, that wherever you go the Igbos will follow you, we will swim with you, we will come out victorious with you.
“Be rest assured, Your Excellency, that we are here on a solidarity visit. The Igbos in Cross River State are with you. We have come to see Cross River State not just as a state to eke out a living but a home.
“This is because with our population of about 800,000 people and with an investment of over 450m Naira, we contribute to driving the economy of this state. We thank you for finding some of our sons and daughters worthy of appointment into your government, the first of such move in Cross River.
“We assure you Your Excellency that the Igbos will continue to be loyal to our host communities and we will continue to promote peace and do all we can to engender peace”