By Ifere Paul
The Cross River State Garment Factory was never conceived as a State project. It was a constituency assisted project under the NDDC.
As far back as 2014, Senator Ben Ayade dreamt to build a Garment Factory as a constituency project. The project was budgeted for and funds were released to Senator Ben Ayade. The project which was to be located in Ogoja, never came to light throughout Senator Ben Ayade’s tenure in the Senate.
During the 2015 campaign, Senator Ben Ayade then promised the Obudu people that he will build a garment factory in Obudu. As Governor-elect, Senator Ben Ayade brought materials for the garment factory and dropped at a certain primary school in Obudu. Information has it that the primary school that the garment factory building materials were dropped at was dilapidated and pupil’s of that school moved into a nearby school… St Joseph Primary School Obudu.
According to people from Obudu, the Chiefs has asked Senator Ben Ayade to renovate and rehabilitate the primary school but to no avail. In 2014, an insider informed me that because the primary school was close to Obudu Mega Hilton, Senator Ben Ayade was looking at taking down the dilapidated structures of the school and establishing a garment factory there. He wanted the garment factory closer to his hotel for God knows why.
Indigenes of the town woke up one Saturday morning and found out that Senator Ben Ayade was tearing down the dilapidated school for his garment factory. The people then revolted.
As a Governor-elect, Ben Ayade was reportedly told the villagers at the site that, “he will never do anything for the Obudu people.” Til today, Governor Ayade has not initiated any project in Obudu.
So, he whisked the garment factory to Calabar, where land was made available to him by Agbor Asibong Community at the Jonathan Bypass. Agbor Asibong communities are subjects of Ikpai Clan of Calabar. This is how the garment factory came to be a State sponsored signature project under Governor Ben Ayade.
However, a constituency project that was funded with 150 Million Naira in 2014 became 2.7 Billion Naira because it was now transferred from Ogoja to Obudu, then to Calabar.
This was why late last year, I smelt that something was wrong. I sat down and calculated inflation from 2011 to 2016, and I then discovered that it was not possible that a garment factory of 150 Million Naira in 2011 can cost 2.7 Billion 2.7 Billion Naira in 2016.
It was with this feeling that I went to CAC to make inquiries. At the CAC, I found out that even at 2.7 Billion Naira of Cross River State money, the project was privately constituted.
How a constituency project under NDDC assisted projects became a private project is something which Governor Ben Ayade has to explain to Cross Riverians.
View alleged documents below. . .