As part of deliberate and concerted plans to diversify the state’s economy and decouple it from over-dependence on Federal allocation, the Governor of Cross River, Senator Ben Ayade said that the state has concluded plans to float its own shipping line.
Governor Ayade who disclosed this while receiving 21 Merchant Navy Cadets of Cross River origin he facilitated their movement and admission to study and obtain marine related degrees in Philippines who paid him a courtesy call at the Conference Room of his office, Yesterday, explained that it was in line of that thinking that the reversed 2016 Cross River Budget has provision for a vessel while the 2017 will also provide for wharf landing and where a lot of fabrications would be done here.
“There is also a massive provision for us to provide for wharf landing in 2017 budget that is coming, and we are going to do a lot of fabrications here. We will focus and broaden our horizon in the aspect of maritime industry. If you look at 2016 reversed budget, we were conscious of the fact that you are passing out this year and there is provision in the budget for a Merchant vessel to provide maritime services between Cross River State, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe and Cameroon”.
Ayade who welcome the 21 Cross Riverians of Northern Senatorial district origin whom he facilitated their inclusion to go and study maritime related courses leading to their graduating with degrees in various maritime areas as Merchant Naval officers, said that he did that while a senator representing the northern senatorial district of the state and promised that now that he is the governor, he will ensure that the same opportunity is extended to the other two senatorial districts.
The governor stated that he is proud of their achievements and the fact that while in the Philippines, they did not indulge in any act that would have undermined the rich culture, pride and heritage of the people of Cross River State, and thanked them for being worthy ambassadors of Cross river and Nigeria, disclosing that the young men and women are the product of his ingenious thinking at a time he was in the Senate representing the northern senatorial district of Cross River State.
“I want to particularly thank you for being worthy ambassadors of Cross River and indeed Nigeria for asserting yourselves work very hard and qualified with your relevant degrees in your various fields and you are back home. I also want to congratulate you because I have not receive report that any of you have gone out-of-the-way of the culture and heritage of cross River, I am very proud of you.
As a senator and also a member of the Maritime committee of senate I sort for ways and means to empower my people and these young men and women today are the product of that initiative. By virtue of my position in that committee and courtesy of NIMASA these people were sent to the Philippines for their degrees in Maritime. Then I only operate within the ambit of the north, so everybody here is from the north, but by your prayers today, I am Governor, so I’m going to extend it to the central and south. It is my duty to ensure that these two senatorial districts also benefit from the opportunity I have given to my people”.
Addressing the young Merchant Navy Cadet Officers, Governor Ayade charged them not to despair of the present economic situation caused by the recession but that they should have trust that Nigerian will overcome her present challenges and come out stronger, while admonishing them to make sure that they extend the same blessing they received to the younger generations in future and assured them that their demands to be assisted to obtain their certification and a vessel which they can practice their art is cogent and as such his administration will do something urgently about them.
“Let us not be despair by the challenges of our nation at this time. The challenges of the recession has deepened our capacity to think beyond our borders to find better ideas and ways which we can actually diversify our economy, focus on our technology and our research and bring out a better and stronger Nigeria. Nigeria will come out of this better and stronger.
Have hope, have confident. The only person who can fail you in life and you fail completely is yourself, so don’t lose confidence on yourself. Think of what you can contribute to mankind. If you must succeed you must raise above your present challenges and become great. Let us drive our own system courtesy of what you have gone to acquire abroad”.
Ayade who thanked the Federal Government for providing opportunity for the programme, as he disclosed that as a result of the return of the 21 Cross Riverians from the Philippines, a Special Adviser on Maritime to coordinate the activities in that sector and would be reporting direct to him.
Because of this, I am going to have a Special Adviser on Maritime services, and create one office in my office directly reporting to the Governor to provide up to date programme to ensure that all of you get to the peak of your chosen career as some of you study nautical sciences, marine engineering, marine architecture, so we have a broad spectrum of Cross Riverians who are ready to go into the state shipping line/business and take it to the next level, so we are decoupling from the FG and focusing on the state shipping line as a result of the expertise you have acquired today, as Cross River would not send you on training and leave you by. Put all the experience you have acquire into optimum use”, Ayade asserted.
Speaking earlier, the Desk Cadet, Gabriel Olom Odey, expressed appreciation to Governor Ayade for facilitating their admission and sponsorship of their training in the Philippines, and commended the pragmatic leader of Senator Ayade, stressing that Ayade commitment to service is unequal in the annals of Nigeria history.
“We are very proud of you for what you have done for us and your sterling leadership toward making Cross River a better place for all”.
Odey therefore appealed for the support of the Governor to enable them ensure their certification and a vessel to board that will facilitate quick issuance of their certificates. Ben Ayade receives maritime cadets, plans state-owned shipping line. Wednesday