Posted on Thu 20 Sep 2018, 06:35 PM

Jude Ngaji, Chief of Staff to former C’R governor, Liyel Imoke and immediate past State Security Adviser to incumbent CRS governor, Ben Ayade, in this unedited article, reacts to the Donald Duke exclusive interview on www.calitown.com.

I read with utter shock and dismay the recent interview on www.calitown.com granted Iwara Iwara, where the former Cross River State governor, His Excellency, Donald Duke exclusively said that the death of Cross River State began on May 29th, 2007.
Ordinarily in my characteristic manner as usual I wouldn’t have been bothered to respond but doing so will give credence to certain aspects of the interview which the gullible public may not know. My decision to immediately respond is also predicated on the fact that I was a prominent figure in Senator Liyel Imoke administration, hence can attest to the fact that the backlash by Donald Duke on Liyel Imoke government was misplaced and unnecessary.

As someone who diligently and actively served the government first as Deputy Chief of Staff and later Chief of Staff to Governor Liyel Imoke, an appointment many were against; the issues raised are of no consequences, lacks merit and is completely defective in content and context.

I can say unequivocally and without hesitation that Governor Liyel Imoke was a divine blessing to Cross River State. My reasons are not far fetched because it is a known fact God listened to the cries and yearnings of Cross Riverians when Imoke held sway as governor between 2007—-2015. This is a statement of fact which is incontestable.

An excerpt from the interview which I consider fallacious is where Duke said and i quote, “But I tell you Iwara, the decline you see today didn’t start now, it started on May 29, 2007”. This is a gross misrepresentation of facts and an attempt to twist history and records. The death of Cross River State never began in 2007 as alledged because Governor Imoke took the baton of leadership from Duke and immediately hit the ground running with massive industrialization, infrastructural development, educational revolution, agricultural expansion, ICT incubation and improvement, civil service restructuring, regulatory framework for several government agencies etc etc which turned around the fortunes of the state.

It is a known fact that under Governor Imoke over 1000 kilometer of roads within the city centres and rural areas where constructed across the length and breath of the state. Before Imoke our rural roads were all in a despicable and deteriorating situation but in a jiffy there were transformed between 2007—2015. Does people oriented projects amounts to failure?

In education, a cursory look or drive round the schools in the state during that great transformational era of Imoke will leave you amazed and overwhelmed with the level of high quality renovation and building of primary, post-primary schools and tertiary institutions. These schools were not just built but also furnished with state of the art equipments befitting of a 21st century learning environment. The educational enhancement didn’t just end with infrastructures alone as teachers were massively recruited with teaching aids shore up inherited deficits. Is this failure?

Still on education, the Imoke administration took note of the fact educational technology and management should be given a boost for the good of the state. This singular decision by Imoke led to the construction of the Institute of Technology and Management (ITM) at UGEP . ITM with state of the art infrastructure and facilities is the first of its kind in the history of the state. Is this a manifestation of failure?

Senator Imoke government giant strides in agricultural reengineering was a major landmark in the historical annals of the state. Knowing too well the importance of agro-allied economy and farm mechanisation, the Imoke administration brought in Songhai Farms to the state with the sole aim and purpose to make Cross Riverians especially the younger ones to become self sufficient and reliant. Over 500 people were sent abroad to undertake professional studies in the operations of Songhai farming technology. This later generated massive agricultural expansion with the employment of over 2000 youths in the state.

The issue of Sixteen Billion dollars ($16B) power project under Imoke as power minister under the Obasanjo administration is laughable as Nigerians can attest to the unprecedented achievements recorded then. Apart from the numerous National Independent Power Projects (NIPP) projects spread across Nigeria, Cross River State alone have over twelve (12) power stations built by Imoke. It is an incontrovertible fact that the one of the largest power stations in Nigeria is located at Odukpani government area of Cross River State.

The issue of $16B, if there was at all has provided over 300 power stations across the country, and let’s not forget that 1000 villages in Nigeria have benefited from the rural electrification project under Imoke as power minister. This is noteworthy and should be taken note of.

The Obudu Cattle Ranch electricity was connected to the National Grid during Liyel Imoke. Before then power supply to the prestigious ranch resort was highly epileptic but under Imoke, power supply was supplied hence making life enjoyable, suitable and fantastic for visitors and tourists to ranch. Going up the 11km road up the hill before Imoke was an uphill task. Tourists and visitors needed fasting and prayers driving to the ranch but now, because of Liyel Imoke you can only drive up with eyes closed. So where lies the failure as alluded in the interview.

His Excellency, Donald Duke celebrated only two carnivals. Liyel Imoke did eight and the positive effects of the carnival can be seen in the inflow of cash to the state which can best be described by the business community and indeed the entire Cross Riverians.

As a result of the yearly hardships of people occasioned by traffic congestion during the carnival, Governor Imoke constructed the Jonathan bypass in Calabar. The road has become an evacuation corridor of goods services, especially the lafarge cement factory and other trucks conveying petroleum products. Is this a function of failure?

We all benefited from Governor Imoke as minister and governor but H.E Donald Duke benefited the most. It may interest us to note that Imoke openly campaign vigorously, sensitized and canvassed for Donald Duke during his presidential race in 2007. Is this also failure? If anyone wish to know or ask how H. E benefited the most, please ask Liyel and his best friend Donald Duke.
I am heartily congratulating Donald Duke for showing up again for presidency, but i keep wondering if Nigeria begins and ends with Cross River State. His penchant for always attacking incumbent Governor Ben Ayade and Senator Imoke just seems as in governance begins and ends with him.

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