Cross River indigenes prefer planting grasses, dancing on streets to development: Gov. Ayade

Governor Ben Ayade has described Cross River indigenes as being content with “dancing on the streets during Christmas in the name of carnivals,” more than they yearn for development. 

Mr Ayade on Thursday in Calabar was reacting to the state residents rejection of his government plan to privatise the 34 Cross River-owned companies.

He told journalists that while privatising the companies was the right thing to do, unfortunately, it was difficult for the people to key into his dreams “as they prefer the filling of potholes, planting grasses, hosting carnivals and paying salaries.”

The governor added, “Experience has shown that the money we spend on hosting the carnival is far more than whatever comes into the state after it.”

He said if the state was to grow, it must go beyond being a civil service state with salary mentality.

Few weeks back, the state government conducted a referendum on the governor’s plan to privatise the companies, but majority of Cross River people antagonised the plan.

According to Mr Ayade, his desire to privatise the companies was borne of an understanding that “the government has no business running a business.”

He said he was conceding to the wishes of the people not because it is right but because it is politically correct.

“There is a Privatisation Act of 2007 that empowers the state to carry out such action but it was necessary to seek the opinion of the people.

“This is so that it would not be said that I have sold the companies to myself or to my friends.

“In the interim, a management team will oversee the companies while ensuring that they are not just functional but viable for the state,’’ he said.

Mr Ayade also called on the people of Cross River to take advantage of the companies to create wealth for themselves by partnering with them. 

He noted that as a littoral state with so much natural resources and good climate, Cross River had no business being poor.


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