Andy Esiet, Calabar
Cross River state governor, Sir Ben Ayade says the state government has shelved plans to privatize the over thirty industries built by his administration.
The governor who disclosed this during his end of year interaction with the media in the state on Wednesday, said he took this decision listening to the voices of some persons, including the fact that he does not want his name amongst those who sold government assets.
Some of the industries established by the Ayade-led administration include the state garment factory, the ultra modern rice mill, cocoa processing factory, the rice seeds and seedlings factory, noodles factory and CallyAir, a state-owned airline and few others.
Ayade said although most indigenes of the state were in favor of privatization of the industries, there were however, a few who gave negative connotations to the plan.
According to him, “these Industries are set, the beneficiation pathways have been articulated and addressed, it is now to get the the operators. Public sentiment is against privatization and my father says, ‘do not privatize’, even in his greater beyond because when you sell government asset to an individual in the African sense ‘you don carry government property give person.
“So we are trying to put a structure in place which is more like a management system. I did a referendum. For the first time government subjected its decision to a referendum. In spite of the fact that there is a provision in the privitiziation law of 2007, I decided to withhold my powers and allow five percent of the public opinion to prevail. Which is that we should not privitize any of these Industries.”
Recollecting a discussion he had with his father concerning public service, he stated, “my father said to me in his dying moment, ‘ son as I’m going to part from this world, if you cannot add to the quality and value of my name please don’t denigrate it.’ So Ayade is not going to be counted among those who sold government assets and that is why I am not going to privatize.
“So let whoever becomes the next governor decide what happens to them but my job has been completed. I have functional factories. I will only put in place a temporary management structure in place pending when the new government comes in.”
He said, “it is not the right decision but it is the correct decision. It is not right because for the prosperity of those factories we needed to send them into private sector for the people to invest more money but it is the correct decision because its politically the right thing to do otherwise you will say Ayade has sold them to his friend, brother, Uncle or sister.
“So let another governor come and do it where he will not be accused because he is innocent, he didn’t create the idea. But truly, the pathway to development of this State is for our people to rally round the government”.