C/River, Akwa Ibom seek economic integration —GHC

Government House Calabar|9 May 2017 
Concerned about the current economic realities in the country, Cross River and Akwa Ibom State governments have resolved to collaborate to galvanize economic potentials in their areas for the good of their citizens.
Some identified areas of possible collaboration between the two states according to the governors are agriculture, solid minerals, oil and gas as well as manufacturing sub-sector.
The two governors made the disclosure during a private visit by Udom Emmanuel to his Cross River counterpart,  Governor Ben Ayade.
During a closed door meeting which had in attendance the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Ayade stated that “We have raised concerns about frontier explorations because very little is being done in the direction of trying to expand the oil reserves and production in the direction of Cross River State and other parts of the Niger Delta.”
According to Ayade, “I must say also that our discussions and emphasis was on how to deepen the unity between us and how to strengthen the South-South love in relationship to the Nigerian Question and we have also agreed that very soon that we would call a meeting with the South-South leaders.
He noted that “We have come a long way and we are a very good example of what unity should be. We must demonstrate it and that is why through this unity and this bond you are all seeing today we are telling the world that Cross River and Akwa Ibom are one.”
Continuing, Ayade said: “We must have a South-South forum where the Governors of the South-South and the National Assembly members as well as other leaders must sit and discuss the National Question.
“Let me use this medium to commend the President for the Ikot Ekpene and Odukpani road contract that has been awarded. It is one special point that we agreed that we from Akwa-Ibom Cross River will go as a team to pay a visit to Mr. President to thank him for the project that we have been waiting for in a long time,” Ayade acknowledged.
He thanked Udom for commiserating with the state over the football viewing center tragedy that claimed nine lives with scores severely wounded.
On his part,  Governor Udom Emmanuel affirmed: “We are looking at possible economic frontiers between Akwa Ibom and Cross River States to develop the two states. Rather than engage in war, we want to channel the vast energies into useful ventures to better the lots of our people because we can’t continue to pay lip service to poverty alleviation.
While warning those who have been fermenting trouble along our borders that has resulted in wanton destruction of lives and property to desist from such act.”
According to Udom, “Nothing will divide us or separate us, we remain one, very accommodative and peaceful people.”
Also speaking, the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio expressed his pleasure at the meeting which he described as the beginning of greater unity in the South-South geo political zone starting with states that have common heritage. He was optimistic that it will bring about the desired economic development of the area.
Akpabio said: “Cross River has a vast land mass that if properly harnessed is capable of employing a large army of unemployed youths and take them off the streets.”
He added that “If we are able to engage in commercial farming, apart from employing our people, we can also become the food belt of this great nation and it will go a long way to deepen the unity of these two great states.”
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