…Says He has solution to Communal Crisis in C’River
By David Inameti
The governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Barr Eyo Ekpo has vowed to reposition critical infrastructure in the State including roads, electricity and water resources, saying public pipe borne water would run in every street again if given the mandate to lead the State.
Eyo, who made public his manifesto penultimate week said “Our physical infrastructure is the backbone of economic development in the State. Without sound design and proper maintenance, our infrastructure stock has been steadily crumbling and, with it, our economy and social cohesion. For that reason, we have in place a plan to redevelop Cross River State’s physical infrastructure along these lines:
“For the first time in a long while, people have gone without pipe borne water in the State after the incumbent administration completely disabled the effective running of the Cross River State Water Board. We have made it a priority to restore functionality in this agency, as it once was, bringing back to life the quality assets that were acquired, installed and operated via a public-private partnership that was highly regarded across the developing world.
“We will also work very hard to increase the number of connections across the State, re-establish a payment system and work to ensure that customer care and the incidence of collection of revenue is as high as it once was in the State.
“Certain strategic infrastructure on which the welfare and security of Cross River citizens are dependent will be given key priority status. The following initiatives will be prioritised: i. In close collaboration with the Transmission Company of Nigeria and the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, we will identify private developers of hydroelectricity generation plants in Etung and Obudu LGAs, along with ancillary transmission and distribution infrastructure to serve the Central and Northern Senatorial Districts.
“We will devote sufficient State resources to redevelop the key road arteries linking Calabar – Oban – Okoroba – Okuni and Mfom – Okpoma – Abuochiche – Ogoja – Obudu roads.
“It was recognised long ago that the State Government would not be able to, and indeed does not need to, fund the most, if not all of its economic infrastructure developments. We have taken care that all our plans are adequately provisioned to ensure they are executed. Some of our critical physical infrastructure development projects will require the input of the Federal Government and the private sector; and thus significant effort and time put into project development.
“The time necessary to be undertaken to ensure that these projects do take off and are commissioned in good time. These projects include: The Adiabo – Creek Town – Okoyong – Arochukwu Road and bridge which serve substantial numbers of the citizenry in the State and will enhance agribusiness (oil palm) and movement between Abia and Cross River States and the rest of the country.
“The Calabar – Ikom – Ogoja – Vandeikya Road; The Calabar – Ikot Ekpene – Aba Road; The Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board park at Odukpani, vital in leveraging the State’s competitive advantage in the energy space.
“A programme would be developed to improve electricity distribution capacity across the Southern Senatorial District, working with the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution (PHED) Company Plc and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to deploy 132kV/33kV transmission sub-stations and 33kV/11kV/415v injection substations and transformers in the Southern Senatorial District.”
…Says He has solution to Communal Crisis in C’River
Meanwhile, Barr Ekpo, who paid a visit to the warring communities of Ekpene and Ediong Idim, all in Odukpani Local Government of the State, has vowed to end incessant communal crisis in the State.
Addressing people of Obom Itiat community, affected by the crisis, Ekpo said he was there to console them in their period of grief and asked them to hang on a little while till when he takes over as he has the magic wand to end their sorrows.
He further decried inability of the State government to handle communal disputes and facilitate peaceful resolutions between warring communities across the state, and emphasized “should the SDP be elected into government, my administration will help stop the menace as I have in my team capable hands in tackling the issues.”
Also speaking at the visit, the SDP House of Assembly Candidate, Odukpani State Constituency, Mr. Bassey William, sympathized with the displaced communities and encouraged them to shun all forms of violence and embrace peace so as to foster economic growth.
Responding, an elder of the community, Chief Asuquo Okon Eyo said: “this is the very first time that a candidate, individual or party has visited our community after former Governor Donald Duke visited years ago.”
Chief Asuquo Eyo added that “even the current government would rather ask the chiefs, elders, and officials of the community to travel down to Calabar for a meeting without even sending government officials to see thinsg are with us here.”
The community commended the SDP team for the visit, believing that victory was sight for the SDP candidate and that his victory would end their sorrows.