Cross River and John Upan Odey’s guber ambition By Samuel Adie

Mr. John Upan Odey
By Samuel Adie
With 2019 governorship election in Cross River State fast approaching, the quest to elect a governor in February next year has now thrust upon Cross Riverians a real daunting task and challenge. At the very core of this challenge, is the need to rise up to the ocassion and rescue the state from the brink of collapse. This has become critical given the deterioration of governance in the last three years. It is therefore imperative to galvanise Cross River electorates on the need to chart a new course for the state.
Mr. John Upan Odey
Albeit the complete lost of hope in governance across Nigeria, Cross River in particular, the need for generational shift in leadership aptly fits into John Upan Odey’s gubernatorial ambition to lead Cross River State in 2019. His ambition to run for the position of governor of the state under the All Progressives Congress (APC) is borne out of courage of substance. At the moment, Cross River is caught in a quagmire that has reduced governance to frustration and a voyage of neglect and failure. Given the list of failure recorded under Gov. Ben Ayade such as complete lack of infrastructure, poor agricultural policies, rubbishing of the state’s tourism potentials and clear case of bizarre governance, the urgency to usher a fresh leadership that is people-oriented, therefore, becomes a sine qua non.
It is this near-lack of governance that have given rise to the clamour for change in Cross River State, come 2019. The need for leadership shift is not just restricted to the current occupant of the office of the governor, Ayade, it is anchored on the quest to change from the old, to new; selfish to the public interest. More so, it is premised on the demand to have a new crop of leaders that are atuned to modernity and the workings of the 21st century.
The new leadership that Cross River State desires should be one that is familiar with up to-date governance architecture that will cater for the basic needs of the citizens. And given the enormous natural resources the state have been blessed with, no leader worth his salt should have trouble in turning such resources to great fortune. From human resources, tourism, agriculture, sustainable ecosystem, Cross River provides an opportunity that genuine leaders are seeking for, to show the full meaning of good governance and quality leadership.
It is the absence of this ability and resolve to transfrom Cross River amid the abundant resources that readily compels a change of leadership in next year governorship election. No, doubt, John Odey has the cognate and requisite experience to chart that course if given the opportunity. As an investment banker, Odey fits into the mould of leaders needed to transform the agrobusiness opportunities in the state to a reliable revenue state. He comes with nearly fiften years in retail and investment banking that is capable of re-establishing Cross River as a destination for business tycoons across Africa.
Already, he has set out his agenda to focus squarely on infrastructure – that will fast track economic growth and development, including improving the value-chain in natural resources and agricultural products that Cross River State is enormously endowed with. The infrastructural development agenda of Odey will be different from the confused and gigantic projects of the current administration that thrived more on sleaze rather than practical developmental agenda.
Contrary to the elephant project in the name of 250km road network being canvassed by the state government, Odey thinks outside the box. For him, the best strategy is to pay more attention on the coastal rail championed by the federal government. He maintained that the coastal rail will be more economically viable, as it will promote industriliazation and assist local farmers in the transportation of their farm produce to other parts of the country. To him, supporting and facilitating the completion of the coastal rail which terminates in Calabar is far sustainable than the phantom project called 250km road which will rather depletes our ecosystem and Cross River cherished vegetation.
On tourism, Odey has also pledged to fix the popular Obudu Cattle Ranch within two months of his government. In his view, Obudu Cattle Ranch is not just a tourism attraction but has the potentials of becoming a business hub for the state if properly managed. Additionally, he has also made commitment to upgrade the Agbokim Waterfall and other tourism sites to international tourist centres that will attract not only visitors but also revenue for the state.
On education, Odey stressed that though the administrations of Donald Duke and Liyel Imoke made giant strides in education, in standardising primary and basic education facilities, including building the Institute of Technology in Ugep, he intends to build on those lofty achievements. In furtherance of his quest for better education in the state, Odey’s template for improving schooling and teaching in Cross River aligns with modern methods that give priority to teachers in training and improved welfare package. Science and technical education will also be given a face-lift in the state. In all, education promised to be one of his cardinal agenda in his administration.
That said, the 2019 governorship election in Cross River State offers the electorate a rare opportunity to disentangle themselves from slavery, prebendalism, cronic maladministration and poor governance. It is also a time to isolate ourselves from politicians whose stock in trade has been to promote their selfish agenda without the public interest. For the APC as a party, Odey’s candidature provides an enviable platform that is capable of dethroning Ayade from the Government House. The party cannot afford to miss this chance.
Again, Odey’s ambition affords Cross River a chance to take back the state to its glorious days of youthful, energetic and vision driven leadership. His economic plans for the state are adept and would lead to multiplier effects through the development of agrobusiness sector. The aim is to ensure that businesses, tourists, visitors and fun lovers return to Cross River after deserting her for three years now, following the rein of inept governance. The zeal to key into infrastural development also forms part of the re-engineering of the state governance system. Odey’s mandate will surely uplift Cross River to greater heights. It is therefore the road to greatness, if the state so desire. The 2019 choice is ours. Therefore, let us grab it, with Odey as the answer.
Adie writes from Obudu Cattle Ranch, Cross River State

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