By Dapo Akinrefon
The lawmaker representing Cross River Central Senatorial District, Senator Sandy Onor, on Monday, faulted claims by the Cross River state government to the effect that Governor Ben Ayade has turned the entire state to an industrial hub in the last six years.
The Senator expressed concerns over what he called the disappointing performance of the governor, six years after the people brought him to power.
However, the state government had faulted Onor for refusing to see what he termed the industrial revolution of the governor and other achievements in office.
But reacting to the state government’s remarks, Onor said what he merely did on his Democracy Day media statement was to respond to some mischievous publications credited to him by Ayade’s men, which were intended to resurrect the things he said some four years back, when he had urged the people not to give up on the governor, but that they should give him some benefit of the doubt, in the hope that he was going to give expression to promises of developing the state.
His words: “First, my assessment was predicated on two events. The first, one of Ayade’s media aides decided to embark on a mischievous journey of resurrecting comments I made about Ayade in 2017, about four years ago, to the effect that Cross Riverians should not be cynical about his intentions but should be optimistic and give him time in the hope and belief that he would actualise the things he set out to do.
“Four years down the line, as I said before, our dreams are far from actualisation and it was important that I set the records straight. I maintain that there is a big hiatus between our expectations based on the promises he made and the reality that we face today and I have no apologies on that matter.
“Second, it was Democracy Day and the sixth anniversary of the Ayade administration and it was important to remind him of where he stood as far as history was concerned and in doing that, I needed to give a proper assessment of the administration, in tandem with the way an overwhelming majority of Cross Riverians see it and in doing so, I must make the point, that even the closest people who hang around him hold this same assessment, except that they have no courage and are not good people enough to tell the governor the truth.
“They hold this same observation in the dark, they hold this same observation in their rooms and when they see the governor, they pretend.
“I think a man like me who speaks the truth to power and who tells him the truth, means better for him and for Cross River, than those grovelling sycophants who say exactly what I have said in his back, and pretend when they see him. I am not in their mould at all.”
In responding to the government’s claims claims on industries set up by Ayade in the last six years, the senator faulted the state government’s sincerity and challenged them to show how the industries were of benefit to the state’s economy.
Onor said: “I examined the list of industries that this aide put across as achievements of Ayade. I challenge him and his sponsors to show us any of these industries that is working to capacity, sustainably and profitably and adding value to the economy of Cross River State.
“The best he can say is that most of them are in the state of incompletion while others are completely comatose. None of these industries is adding any value to the economy of Cross River, whether it is the cocoa processing factory in Ikom, or the toothpick factory at Ekori, Yakurr LGA, or the rice factory in Ogoja, or the Calachika, or the garment factory, none of these industries is adding value to the economy of the state.
“I have it in good authority that there are processes in motion to privatise same to those who had them poorly thought out and badly executed in the first place. I wish them well. I have no apologies for what I said. Indeed, I stand by all that I said, knowing fully well that my assessment is objective, sincere and representative of the reality on ground.
“If they have their head on their shoulders and they fear God, they should go back to the last paragraph of what I said, to the effect that Ayade should use the remaining two years to make good his promises; and that is my prayer because if he does not, he would earn himself a very bad place in the history of the development of this state, because at the time when history would be capturing all these, there would be no emotions, there would be no propaganda and all those grovelling sycophants would have run away from him and the stark reality that would dawn on him would make him a very unhappy man.”