-Teacher Mike Udam Speaks to Governor Ayade on University Matters-
Mike Udam, an indigene of Ogoja Local Government Area in Cross River State who describes himself as a “newly promoted teacher”, has used the opportunity of the recently concluded North Fest 2017 to give homework to Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State.
He did this last Saturday, in an online address of welcome posted on social media platforms, including Facebook. It would be recalled that North Fest 2017 is an agricultural festival that was celebrated by local government areas in the Northern Senatorial District of Cross River State. That district comprises Ogoja, Yala, Bekwarra, Obudu and Obanliku Local Government Areas. The festival took place in Ogoja from 28th to 30th September 2017. It attracted dignitaries, including Governor Ben Ayade, former Governor Liyel Imoke, members of the National Assembly and State House of Assembly, members of the state executive council, and others.
Mike Udam shared his address of welcome with LinCornellah’s blog, via WhatsApp. We invite our readers to read the address below.
AN ONLINE ADDRESS OF WELCOME PRESENTED TO HIS EXCELLENCY,
SENATOR BENEDICT AYADE, EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF CROSS RIVER STATE
ON THE OCCASION OF NORTH FEST 2017, SEPTEMBER 30 2017.
Dear Senator Ben Ayade,
Today is indeed a very remarkable day in the life of Northern Senatorial District as we welcome you, our own representative in Government House since the inception of democracy in 1999. Today your people are delighted that you are here to witness them display their cultural heritage and perhaps relax with them and by extension give them a listening ear.
I recall with nostalgia how you thrilled the people of northern Cross River in Ogoja council hall about your vision and dream of an industrialized state, during your consultation in your quest to become our Governor. I still see that burning zeal in you to transform the state.
Welcome to Ogoja. Welcome home.
Permit me your Excellency, as you relax with us, to draw your attention to some critical issues that affect the common dreams and aspirations of the people of the north. I will touch three critical areas of human development.
Your Excellency, as a professor of international repute, you are aware of the importance of ease of access of education to the overall development of a region. Just under 20 years, Rwanda that was devastated by the worst genocide in Africa is today a solid educational hub in East and Central Africa. They now have the best universities close to the people. For a people to build capacity to face the challenges of this technologically driven century, there is need for the location of a full fledged university in this senatorial zone. Your Excellency, it takes young people from this senatorial district 219km to access the University of Nigeria Nsukka, 245km to University of Agriculture Markurdi, 324km to University of Calabar and 190km to the newly established federal University in Wukari in Taraba state.
Your Excellency, if you use your solid relationship with the presidency, you can make things happen and a federal university will be located right here in Ogoja. It will not cost you any money except your time and interest to turn things around for your people. Don’t be discouraged with the argument that each state is allowed to only have one federal university. That is not true. Delta state currently has two functional universities and the third is in the offing. Anambra is at the verge of getting a second federal university.
Statistics clearly show that your senatorial district is the only district in Nigeria with very far access to a federal university. It might interest you to know that Hon Jarigbe Agom is working on a draft bill to be sponsored on the floor of the House of Representatives in this regard. That Bill will need a push and heavy support from your office to actualize this dream. If you can do this for your people, your legacy will last for a very long time.
As an addendum, Cross River state is amongst the remaining four states that do not have a Federal Polytechnic. It is not too much to ask for it to compensate us for the Loss of Bakassi.
While I am so much in support of the superhighway because of its multiplier effect on the economy of the state, I will like you not to joke with the Ken Aklah’s led fact finding team that visited all the wards in the state to see what is urgently needed to drive home rural transformation. From Busi ward in Obanliku to Wanokom in North Ukelle, there are over 34 bridges that need urgent attention. Some are completely damaged and some of your people have been cut off from the new world. The Ukpagada Bridge for instance, was destroyed during the civil war and till this moment, despite being the community with the biggest yams in your senatorial district, your people in this community are forced to make a 21 km journey to Ogoja town instead of a 9km walk.
My appeal therefore, is that you invoke community partnership and commence work on those identified critical infrastructure in those communities. A constructed road through a neglected community will secure more genuine votes than social media advocacy of some people who are very far from home. If you can complete the abandoned Ibil -Abakpa road, Yahe -Wanokom road, Okuku -Alifokpa road and the Mfom- Obudu dual carriage way, your name will be written in gold. All these roads are food supply routes in Northern Cross River state. I know it can be done.
Your Excellency, the current power arrangement in your senatorial district is worrisome. As I write today, the injection sub-station built by the federal government located some meters away from this venue cannot function because no towers are built to feed it with electricity. This entire zone is at the mercy of one operator at Abakaliki who decides when we have electricity. To make the situation very bad, your people geographically are under Port Harcourt Electricity Company while Abakaliki is under Enugu Electricity Distribution Company.
The request therefore, our beloved professor, is that you pressure the federal government to discontinue the original plan of evacuating power from Odukpani which is not feasible considering the present economic reality. Instead, evacuating power from Otukpo in Benue state which is just 88km away from Ogoja will be cheaper and easy to execute. Setting up solar in Ogoja will not meet the power need of your people. We have been in darkness for too long. Not now that we have you in Government House. Do something, your Excellency.
Your Excellency, these are my heavy concerns. I know so many things are on your table. I pray God will guide you to lead us well and impact a purpose driven leadership that will leave great impact for the generations unborn.
I know nothing about politics, but if you ask my opinion, I will say one good turn deserves another. The south took eight years, the central took eight and it will make sense for the north to take her eight years too. Your work will place the second tenure on your table with little stress. Keep working and don’t be distracted.
God bless you.
Newly promoted class room teacher.
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