By Magnus Effiong
A frontline governorship hopeful of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River, Engr Ben Akak, has promised to ensure that all income generating industries built by the Governor Ben Ayade-led administration operate at full capacity when he wins the governorship election next year.
Engr Akak said this in Calabar, Wednesday, during the media tour of the State independent power plant, pharmaceutical company known as Calapharm, Kisimie Instant Noodles factory, Chicken Processing factory christened Calachika, Garment Factory and Rice Seedling factory.
At the 10 megawatt power plant located at the Parliamentary Road Extension Calabar, Akak maintained that due to the necessity of power to the growth and economic development of any society, he would not hesitate to liaise with other governors to cause the National Assembly to legislate on empowering States to generate electricity according to their capacity.
While lauding Gov Ben Ayade for his foresight in industrializing the State, especially with the building of the power plant, Akak said, “The state independent power plant is working as you can see it. As we speak it’s currently powering the street lights.
“The only stop gap we have as we speak is the legislation from the federal and the state that has stopped it from being linked to the national grid. The state power plant established by governor Ben Ayade is working.”
On how he would tackle the challenge hindering the state from evaluating and using the power from the plant if elected governor, Akak said “We know that it’s in the exclusive list, that’s why I said we are going to do a lot. Number one, within the Governors Forum, which is very powerful, we will do a lot to lobby members of the National Assembly to change that legislation, to take it to the concurrent list for the state to begin to generate power. That’s the only way we can achieve development and progress faster.
“Look at the vandalization of power infrastructure at which has brought suffering to all of us, if this plant was operational at its full capacity, we would not care about the challenge at Itu. We must look at ourselves and say the truth. And I’m saying that Cross River State, through the effort of Ben Ayade, has been able to start a process and we, taking over from him, will make sure that that process doesn’t die. This project will not die.
“Any state that is capable to generate power should do it, even individuals, if you have the capacity you do it. But again, we do not want a situation whereby it’s going to be abused. So there’s going to be a process and legislation put in place – there’s going to be strict adherence to due process and to ensure that the standard is maintained.
“Again, the environment is very important and you know power generation is very sensitive. All that put together is what is going to give us the best in this country. And you know power is very important in development – if you get it right you get every other aspect right.”
The governorship hopeful also spoke on moving the plant from diesel to gas, adding, “We have discussed it. We also talked about the hydro. All these are ways of making sure that we liberalized the process and have more power in circulation for our people.”
Also speaking while addressing workers at the State Garment Factory Akak described the factory as the first of its kind in the entire West Africa, explain that the Governor built the factory out of the love he has for the people saying the factory was helping in putting food on the table of Cross River people.
He assured workers that if he emerged as governor, he would sustain the garment factory and therefore urged workers to put in their best.
Engr Akak also took time to inspect facilities at the CalaPharm, Kisimie Instant Noodles Plant, Rice seedling factory as well the Calachika whose equipment he said were fantastic.
“None of the efforts of our governor would be in vain, we shall source for raw materials to ensure all the factories work at their maximum best thereby creating massive employment for young Cross Riverians,” Engr Akak submitted.