THE INAUGURAL SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, SEN. (PRINCE) BASSEY E. OTU, GOVERNOR, CROSS RIVER STATE ON MAY 29, 2023
Fellow Cross Riverians, with great humility, I stand before you today to accept the enormous responsibility you have given to me and my brother, Peter Odey, to serve. In the same breath, let me welcome all of you to this moment of history.
We give God all the glory and adoration for leading us successfully from the primaries through the campaigns and the elections to this inauguration. May His name be praised.
I recognize and register our profound appreciation to their Excellences, our former governors, administrators, other leaders and their families for their services to our dear State.
Permit me at this juncture to salute a man worthy of mention, our amiable and the immediate past Digital Governor of our State, Senator Professor Sir Ben Ayade CON, for standing firmly to uphold the principle of fairness, equity and justice by doing all within his powers to ensure that we do not jettison our rotation policy as this would have eroded the bonds of our trust and love for one another.
Let me also mention the unique roles played by his Deputy, Professor Ivara Esu, the State Party Chairman, Barr. Alphonsus Eba, the Party Executive Committee, Support Groups, the State Elders, Fathers of Faith, Professional Organisations, Our Royal fathers and other stakeholders from the depth of my heart, I thank you all.
My gratitude also goes to all the committed men and great women of our party, the All Progressive Congress, who have worked assiduously to make today a reality.
I am personally grateful to my dear wife, who supported my decision to take up the electoral challenge. She has stood by me throughout the journey and will continue to support the governance to a glorious end.
Most importantly, I thank all Cross Riverians including my brothers and sisters with whom we shared the ring of the contest. The flag of partisanship is now lowered and the beautiful blue and white colours of our beloved State are hoisted.
This is the Government of Cross Riverians by Cross Riverians for all Cross Riverians and non-Cross Riverians in our land. This government will bear no insignia of discrimination in belief, origin or gender. Women and men, young and old, educated and non-educated will be carried along and treated as equal before the law.
I reiterate that I joined politics to provide service to humanity and nothing more.
I have spent my gifting opportunities in the legislative and my creative convictions in advancing the course of humanity and I intend to leverage on those templates in providing the best governance to the people of Cross River State.
Fellow Cross Riverians, it is not lost on us the enormous work that must be done and the weight of built up-expectations. Therefore we shall manage time effectively to rewriting the trajectory of our corporate aspirations in line with our collective dreams in divine destiny.
We are ready to heat the ground running from today. Already we have designed and reviewed our strategic road map to guide our actions as we kickoff.
However, owing to the premium we attach to planning and fiscal discipline we have collaborated with credible international development institutions in formulating a medium term sustainable development plan in line with the Cross River State 30 years development strategy in order to set the path for desire outcomes for our State.
We are excited to be here at a time like this; for champions are made in trying moments. We are confident and determined to restructure our huge debt stock while strengthening our fiscal pasture.
We hope to engage with the Labour Union dispassionately on the feasible and sustainable paths for dealing with our depleting civil service, given that over 75% of our manpower will be retiring before December, 2024. The same worrisome narrative applies to backlog of staff promotion with corresponding severance burden in excess of 54 billion.
Within our People-First agenda; Safety, peaceful co-existence and security of lives and properties are major pillars for my administration. For the few who take pride in criminality, there shall be no hiding place and only two options are on the table: turn a new leaf within our upcoming amnesty window or vacate Cross River State without delay. Our administration shall have zero tolerance for criminality in whatever form or shade.
We shall expand our footprint on total Healthcare and Education Spending per Capita. We will curb gender based violence and institutionalize Cross River as the clearest, greenest and safest in our country.
The State will be given an immediate facelift through critical infrastructural repairs, clearing of waterways, trimming of overgrown trees, repainting and refuse evacuation.
Security confidence will be strengthened by greater illumination of the Streets, Monitoring crime flashpoints and creating welfare synergies with Security operatives, community leaders and hidden security watches for maximum impact.
Immediate attention will be given to the reward and operational systems in our Civil/Public Services and Local Government to ensure that morale are significantly boosted.
On your behalf, we commit ourselves to a rewarding relationship for the next 4 years. We trust in the capacity of the incoming President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu to support our efforts of making our State a paradise from Marine, Aviation and Defence angles.
We shall further engage the Federal Government and international community to review obnoxious judgments against us with the aim of creating relief in the pains accruing to the loss of Bakassi and the ceding of our 76 Oil wells as well as streamline our boundaries to minimize communal crisis.
At the international plane, our administration will place Cross River State firmly within the league of global players in the development orbit and business community.
Enabling reforms and relevant legislations will be engaged to rekindle confidence and scale up the morale of international agencies. Friendly tax policies, fair weather investment atmosphere, realistic State budget and commitment to good governance will constitute the official architecture to attract donor funds and grow the organized private sector in our State.
Efficient legal framework for due process, commitment to counterpart funding and comprehensive anti-corruption drive will raise the tripod for mutual confidence in doing business in our land.
We will recalibrate our legacy assets at various stages of completion. Our decision on the future State of our respective brownfield assets shall be drawn from an interrogated, unbiased public sector value comparative analysis. Our economic management team shall be professional in adopting non-traditional, non-recourse hybrid financing products working with the private sector.
We will escalate the agro industrial revolution with the foundation already put in place by my predecessor with the goal of converting the extant “food on the table and sells funds in the pocket” to a workable and productive economy.
Leveraging on our 3E policy direction which is, Emancipation, Education, and Empowerment as encapsulated in our People-First manifesto, we will pay special attention to our young men, children and women by ensuring that government’s programs, policies and laws are framed in such a way that will break all forms of gender biases.
I am determined to change the fortunes of Cross River State by implementing a vibrant Agricultural ecosystem supported by various trade consolidation centers.
For instance, In Calabar, palm oil and fisheries shall be reactivated, while the trade consolation centers for cocoa in Ikom and rice in Ogoja shall be developed and promptly established. We will also explore all trade and legal openings for Tinapa to properly take off
Dear Cross Riverians, I commit to you and my God, to, at all times put you first in all consideration as we begin a journey of a prosperous and glorious future.
Finally, let me urge all of you who believe in this future of greatness, not to relent in praying for our success.
I thank you and welcome to a new and greater Cross River State.
Senator Prince Bassey Edet Otu
Governor, Cross River State
29th May, 2023