The Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, has commissioned a 30-year Growth and Development Strategy (GDS) for the state.
At the official launching, which took place at the on-going International Collaboration and Investors Summit, holding at the Calabar International Convention Centre (CICC), Calabar, the governor said GDS is a fulfillment of his administration’s promise of inclusive development programmes, consistent with the ideals of the Universal Declaration on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Governor Ayade, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Barrister Tina Banku Agbor, also stated that the GDS plan is in keeping faith with the collective vision of “making Cross River a prosperous Nigerian State with healthy and well educated citizens,
living in harmony with people and nature, pursuing inclusive and sustainable growth, moderated by good governance.”
The Governor further pointed out that his administration’s goals and prosperity aspiration of deepening the state economy from the current 2.7 trillion Naira level to 9.6 trillion Naira (GDP) by the close of his term in 2023, is captured in the sector-based GDS in a manner that no-one-is-left-behind.
He commended the State Planning Commission, the State Economic Management Team, Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the State, Civil Society Organizations, Non-Governmental Organization, the organized private sector, and specially, the Calabar Chamber of Commerce, professional groups and members of the public for supporting the process.
Ayode particularly thanked CUSO International for sponsoring the State-wide consultation and the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta for not only sponsoring the GDS from roots to branch, but creating demonstration effects that are catalytic to the achievement of the vision.
The Governor recalled the development strides of his administration and promised to do more in creating a conducive business environment for investors.
He said his admin-istration’s friendly collaboration with the Federal Government has fast-tracked the development processes for such signature projects as the Bakassi Deep Seaport and the 275km Super Highway, while expressing delight in the achievement of the Outline Business Case for the Seaport.
Governor Ayade reiterated his commitment to the GAS and its review every five years to adequately capture the spirit of the times, over the medium and long haul of the plan period.
He expressed hope for the respective break-out sessions with value champions at the Summit and do justice to the integrity of the respective opportunity lines, adding that, he looks forward to receiving regular updates on the footfalls of the Summit,
implementation of the GDS and results including legislative protection of the Strategy.
In separate congratulatory messages, the Ambassador of the Republic of South Korea to Nigeria, Major-General Lee In-Tae and his Norwegian counterpart, H.E. Jens-Petter Kjemprud, spoke in glowing terms of Governor Ayade’s deep vision for the State and the rippling effect of his industrialization drive towards economic prosperity of the people.
Presenting the Growth and Development Strategy, the Chief Economic Adviser to the Governor, Dr. Francis Ntamu said the State Government has deliberately articulated and implemented investor-friendly policies and measures designed to attract investors into the state.
One of such policies, Dr. Ntamu stated that “if one is to do due diligence and sets up a factory in a matter of weeks, showing capacity to employ between 20-30 Cross Riverians, will be automatically granted a certificate of occupancy at the Ayade Industrial Park.
Friday Nwagbara, Calabar
Political Space Is Only For Parties Ready To Take Power – Okoye
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC’s), Festus Okoye, national Commissioner on Information and Voter Education has reminded Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) that political space is meant for political parties that are ready to take power, maintaining that political associations can exist, mobilise, build structures before seeking registration, as soon as they get registered they must be ready to take power.
Okoye said this while speaking on a local media station after the High Court adjourned hearing in the case filed by 33 political parties under the auspices of IPAC, challenging their deregistration by INEC.
The national commissioner reminded IPAC that as registered political parties, they should be ready to take power, because the space was not for learning, as the electoral body would be prepared to de-register any political partyand relegate it to an association if it found out that the party failed to meet the threshold of its registration, in accordance with the 1999 Constitution.
“The political parties contesting did not meet the terms of their registration, neither did they win elections in their various states, nor met the projections. Two of the parties that went to court, Labour Party and African Democratic Party, were not deregistered. They claimed they had court injunctions and I don’t know what they are doing in court.”
“The spirit and intent of the constitution, is that political associations can exist, mobilize people, build up structures. The moment they come for registration means they are ready to take power. If you are not due for political power, you should not apply for registration, because the political space is not for learning or testing the ground”, he said.
Okoye said that 74 political parties had been deregistered and the deregistion had already taken place.
He maintained that because the 33 political parties that went to court were aware that deregistration had taken place, that was why on 14 February they filed an application in court, asking the court to reverse it.
The INEC official stated that the act had already been completed, that was why the court adjourned till 27 February for accelerated hearing.
IPAC Hails Court Order Restraining INEC From De-Registering 31 Parties
The Inter-Party Adversary Council (IPAC) has described the judgment stopping the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from deregistering political parties as victory for democracy and future generations.
National chairman of the council, Peter Ameh, who made the comment while addressing newsmen shortly after the ruling, said the late Gani Fawehinmi gave the 33 political parties that went to court the courage.
Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in her ruling, said, having failed to counter the application by the applicants, the affected political parties had the legal right, which must be protected.
In an interlocutory motion with suit number FHC/ABJ/ CS/444/19 between Advanced Congress of Democratis (ACD) and two others vs. Attorney-General of the Federation and another (INEC), the applicants had on October 30, 2019, approached the court.
The IPAC chairman insisted that there was no way the commission would have succeeded in the illegality it perpetrated against the parties and the fundamental rights of Nigerians.
“We have every reason to thank everybody who stood against this illegality, especially Okey Raph Nwosu, who, despite his party scaling the deregistration hurdle, still joined in the suit because he believed in democracy.
“We believe in the spirit of the Constitution as stated in Section 40, which gave Nigerians the right to freely belong to any political association, and the Constitution stipulated that no agency of government can restrict that right.
“We started this case since last year when we saw that there was plan to put Nigeria upside down. It is our right to defend the constitution through section 225 to challenge the commission to stop it from taking this illegal action.
“INEC should know that if the interest of a political party is to talk about free education, the party should be allowed. If the interest is to talk about tree planting in the North-East, it should be allowed to continue with it.
Group Advises Women On Increased Participation In Politics
Enugu State chapter of the Nigeria League of Women Voters, has urged women to be very active in politics to avoid marginalisation.
The state chairperson of the league, Mrs Nnenna Anozie made the call in an interview with our source in Enugu yesterday.
was a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) that aims at empowering women both politically and economically.
She said that the league encouraged women to participate in election; adding that they discovered that in the last elections, many women did not participate either as voters or contestants in the elections.
Anozie said that the organisation aimed creating more awareness on the girl child and for every woman to be aware of her civil rights in the state and the country at large.
The chairperson said the group recently visited one of the girls schools in Enugu where they shared sanitary pads, carried out sensitisation awareness on dangers of drug abuse, rape and others.
”This is one way of giving back to the society as well as empowering our women because knowledge is power. Most of them are not knowledgeable about their rights and how to keep hygiene.
”Many of them are rape victims and they are not opening up because of stigmatisation.
”We want to embark on the sensitisation drive in all the states in the country; hoping that come 2023 most of our women will be equipped to run for political offices both at the local, state and national levels,” she said.
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