Otu Has Done Well In Ten Months; Cross Rriveriaans Should Give Him Time, Says Information Boss, Ekpang

Apr 11, 2024 - 10:27
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Otu Has Done Well In Ten Months; Cross Rriveriaans Should Give Him Time, Says Information Boss, Ekpang

In this interview, the Coss River Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Erasmus Ekpng, told THE BEAGLE NEWS team of Victor UDU and Missang AKPET that Governor Bassey Edet Otu has done exceedingly well in the last ten months, especially in the area of infrastructural development, and therefore should be given time to do even more.

According to the environmentalist and former state publicity secretary of APC, the government is totally committed to transforming the information organs of the state to enable them drive government policies and programme to all nooks and crannies of the communities.

Excerpts... 

On Governor Bassey Otu 10 months so far in office

So far I will say the governor, His Excellency Prince Bassey Edet Out, has done very well, I'm not just saying he has done very well because I am the honorable commissioner for information but I want to let us know that they are signs and practical things that we can see by ourselves. When he came on board, he made some very few key appointments to start off. We all know that if you come in newly to govern a state it's not quite easy, you have to really understand how government has been running on his own, what is left to be given out and all that. After that, he started civil service reforms to right a lot of wrongs, especially in the area of ghost workers. If you look at Cross River state, you will notice that Cross River state does not produce, but always receive.

So, the Governor felt he should look at the gains of the previous administration to see where he can actually complement where necessary to ensure that most of the things done by the previous administration like the factories he can easily complete some of them so that we can start producing. He didn't really look at what he was going to achieve, he just summed it up as the People's First agenda, an agenda which would touch both the poor, the old, the young, the students and and of course you can see all his projects that they are projects that actually have to do with all this categories. He inspected the Cargo Airport where he eventually gave some approval for the completion of that project because he met it 80% complete and he knows the economic importance of the cargo airport will do for us.

After looking at it the CICC was fixed. The CICC was actually destroyed by the ENDSARS protest and it is only the hall we have been using for events where we hosted Miss Africa at some point. It was totally vandalised and it has been fixed. He then arranged for an economic summit. We have about 1.8 million hectares of land in the state where out of the 50% forest cover that Nigeria holds in Africa, Cross River state holds about 48% forest cover for the entire Nigeria. So, we have to eventually invest in our agricultural sector. So, we held an economic summit where INEDO and other international firms bought into it and are ready to do business with us. Other than that, we looked at Cross River state as the Paris of France.

There are some projects going on now. I took a tour round with some journalist to see practically and physically what is on ground. The library is almost wearing a new look, Government House, the Governors office is under construction as His Excellency is still using the make-shift office at Dan Archibong Lodge. We are working on failed culverts at Chamley Road and yellow Duke. Constructed Nyong Edem in Calabar South and Umoh Okon roads with concrete cement not asphalt roads because of our terrain which is mostly water logged. We also have Asim Okon by Effio Ette Roundabout where we still used the concrete to test if it is possible that it would actually divert traffic.

And then the big one, Esuk Utan NNPC Tank Farm road just by the zone 6. If you know the road very well, you will know it was very bad and we are taking it up from the highway to MOPOL Barracks. We are also working on Clark Alley Street that has been abandoned. And then you look at the metropolis, they are street lights everywhere even at night, now we are even using solar light. In other words, when the NEPA light is not available the traffic lights are always on. By the State Housing Police station before now it was very very terrible, they were pot holes everywhere but now the pot holes have been fixed, the street lights have been fixed, traffic lights fixed. The traffic lights within the Metropolis were destroyed by the ENDSARS and I think before now we could hardly see traffic lights within the city center.

The House of Assembly led by Rt. Honorable Elvert Anyambem is doing very well too. They've all been given cars. Well, we as commissioners our cars are on the way and by the grace of God anytime soon we will have our cars. I'm very very sure. This is not even up to first face of his excellency's people's first agenda plan.So far so good, I think the Excellency has done well. I think Cross Riverians should give him more time and they would see wonders.

On security

In terms of security you can attest that even robbery and kidnapping have really reduced drastically except some pockets of it. Security issues are not issues you just talk anyhow because they bad guys may just look at that secret and work on the secret. But I can assure you that the secret we used is still being carried out and is still in the pipeline. We are trying our best to ensure that in as much as we cannot get 0% of criminal issues. We know that the economy is tough, everywhere is hard, people have developed some strong minds to do some terrible things. Well, we would try to combat them to the minimal level. In few months ahead. we have been able to stamp out crime in Calabar metropolis.

On plans for the information machinery in the state like CRBC and Chronicle 

First of all I will definitely say thank you to governor Bassey Otu for actually giving me good heads in the various parastatal. The CRISSA is doing very well and it has actually increased its IGR. They General Manager, Ubong Sam, is doing very well and I want to commend him. It is a system we all put everything through the IRS so he has been complying and he is doing very well.

Then for CRBC, just of late I toured round the premises, I discovered the equipment were very obsolete. So, I put up a memo to His Excellency to try and see how we can get some equipment to actually boost its transmission. If you check, when you go a little bit above federal housing you lose signals. Meanwhile, even the private ones in the state are doing very well. If you go to other nearby states, you get their signals so we are working on that. The EXCO has approved some amount of money for equipment to be purchased so that is a good one for CRBC.

For Chronicle, this is a department that I am so passionate about and even His Excellency has actually taken very strong measures on Chronicle. We are all aware that Chronicle was badly hit by the ENDSARS protesters because the food stuff Warehouse was situated in the same premises. His excellency has spoken with me personally to bring up brilliant ideas that will bring back the Chronicle. Initially, they were actually producing at the NUJ building for a long time but they area back.

I'm very passionate about my parastatals and I really want to see them move forward. Even in this ministry, there was not commissioner for about two years before i came in. But I have been able to put this place together. I came here when there was no director of administration, no permanent secretary and no accountant. We were borrowing cashiers from state fire service. As I speak to you, we have brought back NEPA here. There was no light here for about four years and I met a bill of about N3million. I had to source for cash to clear that bill. That will show you how passionate I am here because there are some things we do here that we may need light 24 hours. So, I'm really really passionate in trying to move the information ministry forward.