Why I created Ministry of foreign affairs, others- Ayade

Recently, Cross River State Governor, Sir Ben Ayade spoke live on a private radio station in Calabar during which he shared his thoughts on a number of issues, including the creation of new ministries amongst which is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  We bring you excerpts of that interview.


Your Excellency, what does Christmas mean to you and how are you celebrating?

Ayade: Christmas is a time for family reunion, it is a time for peace and enjoyment and I use this opportunity to send a strong clear message to the entire residents and citizens of Cross River State that I love you all and I ask that in the spirit and merriment of Christmas, you show the same warmness to your neighbour by providing a shoulder for your weaker neighbour to lean on and that our state be blessed as we enter the year 2020.


Does this mean that 2020 is going to be a year of bumpy package for the state?

AYADE: Yes. In Cross River, 2020 will mark a classical departure from our history where Cross River State will be fully industrialized and a proper and real economy will start to exist. Cross River State will be the torchlight for Nigeria and indeed Africa starting from the second quarter of that year. So indeed bumper package awaits the people of Cross River State.


You have just inaugurated your Cabinet with about ten new ministries created, what informed this?

AYADE: Let me begin with a good example of one of the ministries, the Ministry of Aviation. This has never been conceived by any state in Nigeria. Why would a passenger pay over N70,000 to fly to Calabar? The route to Calabar either from Lagos or Abuja is the most expensive in Nigeria. This is occasioned by the fact that there is no corresponding surplus of airlines coming into Calabar. So it is a responsibility of government to respond to the challenge of our people, recognizing that they are being extorted as a result of monopoly. I need to create the ministry of aviation that can bring into realisation Cally Airline, we need to create an airport in Obudu to support the patronage of international tourists coming to Obudu cattle ranch, we need to take advantage of the massive climatic condition suitable for the growth of ornamental plants for export in Obudu cattle ranch. So, if you don’t create an independent ministry specifically focused on delivery of proper air traffic and cargo movement, there will be a big problem in your hands.

Take Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for instance. The whole world is moving to Africa. Africa is the last frontier. So we need to have a Ministry that is focused on the globalization perspective, taking a look at each continent, each nation and its direct relationship with Nigeria with a view to taking advantage of it to advance our economy. The Americans have huge resources and they are coming to Africa. China has set aside billions of dollars for Africa. We need an aggressive person who can catch on all of those international resources, we need a ministry focused on all of these international connectivity to distill all of that for the benefit of Cross River State. If you leave it in a big umbrella, it will get scuttled, but once you put a specific specialized ministry, taking it with a direct instruction you are going to get value. If every of the 39 ministries achieve only one thing, I would have at the close of 2020 achieved 39 different projects that I would have delivered. It is a systematic division of labour to allow for specialization. That way you get indicators that you can use for budget monitoring and full evaluation of commissioners. Don’t forget that the appointment of commissioners is for an initial period of one year.


What are your thoughts about the new ministries and what are your expectations from them?

AYADE: The Ministry of Infrastructure has a responsibility to deal with my signature projects. Remember that seaport is infrastructure, superhighway is infrastructure, the dualization of Odukpani to Calabar is infrastructure. So that ministry has the sole problem of doing the connectivity between local governments and also creating a modern evacuation architecture that can support industrialization.

When it comes to issues of patching potholes, doing streets within Calabar, it is the job of the Ministry of Urban Renewal because infrastructure is for the bigger projects but the ministry that deals with urban renewal has the responsibility of keeping the town clean and neat with landscaping and planting of trees and grasses, keeping the lawns clean and putting the irrigation lines and all that.

For new cities, local governments that are not urban centres yet, we have the ministry of new cities development to deal with these. Anyhow you see, I took my time here to explain the difference between each ministry to ensure that there is no point of conflict.

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