Governor Ben Ayande of Cross River has urged youths to take advantage of government’s industrialisation initiative for self development and socio-economic growth of the state.
Ayade made the call during the grand finale of the 2019 Leboku International Festival held into the late hours of Saturday in Ugep, Yakurr Local Government Area.
He said the youths needed to return to agriculture and participate actively in both food and cash crop production.
Ayade who was represented by his Deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu expressed concerns pockets of crisis in some part of the state describing it as “unwholesome and impeding the socioeconomic growth of the affected communities and the state.’’
He urged the traditional rulers as the custodians of traditional norms to rise to the challenge of nipping the negative development in the bud.
“At the inter-state level, we are taking proactive measures to stem the tide of boundary clashes between our state and the neighbouring states through appropriate synergy with critical federal agencies for appropriate boundary delineation.
“I call for calm and restraint from our people as this unwholesome development impedes socioeconomic growth; no investor will be willing to set up a business in a troubled or insecure area,” he said.
He however commended the communities in Yakurr LGA, adding that in the past there used to be pockets of violence in the area but the LGA was gradually returning to sustainable peace.
According to Ayade, as an `added spice’ to the 2019 celebration of Leboku, the state government had introduced tree planting to reclaim and regenerate the forest stock after trees were felled in the course of land preparation for the 275 kilometers super highway project.
He added that the Leboku Festival held a great future for Yakurr indigenes, the state and the nation at large.
“Through the festival, we hope to re-engineer a focus on the need for our youths to return to agriculture and participate actively in both food and cash crop production.
“As we strive to transform Cross River from a civil service state to a prosperous entity anchored on agriculture and industrial development, I urge the youths across the state to key into this initiative and contribute to the development of our economy,” he said.
Eteng thanked the state government for its intervention in the historical sites in the LGA through the office of the former commissioner for culture and tourism.
He however appealed to the governor to look into the resettlement process of the Ebijakara people who had been living as refugees in Ugep and other communities in the state for 14 years.
He also asked for a booster station to be built in Yakurr so that the people could view government programmes through the Cross River Broadcasting Corporation (CRBC).
He further appealed to the governor to resuscitate Ugep Ayade Quick Win electricity project that had not been functional for the past five months due to non-supply of diesel.
The Paramount Ruler thanked MTN Nigeria, a major sponsor of the festival for their continuous support since the festival started in 2007.
The Leboku International Festival, initiated in 2007, celebrates the `arrival’ of new yam known as the “king of crops.”