Ben Ayade

Ayade: Nigeria’s undisputed champion of industrialisation

By Chidi Onyemaizu
According to Stephen Gardiner, “the industrial revolution was another one of those jumps forward in the story of civilisation”
In Cross River state, despite naysayers’ puerile struggle to deny the evidence of their eyes, stark results of the Governor, Professor Ben Ayade’s unparalleled industrialisation drive coldly stare at them.

Ayade has quietly brought to the fore and home too, Gardiner’s words by re- writting Cross River’s sordid economic story through industrialisation.

By so doing, he has attracted to himself and the state, critical validations and commendations, including those of the United Nations which last year proclaimed him Nigeria’s champion of industrialisation.

Notedly, impressed by Ayade’s strides in industrialisation, after a tour of the industries, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), country representative, Jean Bakole, had declared: “We cannot emphasise enough the good industrialisation works of Governor Ayade. We call him a captain of industrialisation in the country. I, therefore, on behalf of UNIDO, proclaim him the Champion of Industrialisation in Nigeria”

And in recognition of his performance in the area of industrialisation, the governor has won a plethora of awards including Vanguard, ThisDay, Blueprint, Leadership, Daily Independent among others awards on industrialisation.

Ayade’s private sector background underpins his choice of aggressive industrialisation of the state as the fulcrum of his administration.

Therefore, the establishment of the industries was a deliberate policy of his government to create an economy for a state that hitherto had non.

In doing that, the governor took into cognizance the availability of raw materials in locations the industries are cited. In other words, the industries are raw materials and location-specific.

For example, in Obubra where the Commercial Starch Processing factory is cited, cassava production is the mainstay of the local populace.

In Ekori, Yakurr local government, quantum availability of bamboo trees conditioned the citing of Cross River toothpick factory there.

The same goes for Akamkpa local government area where an abundance of Limestone brought about the establishment of the Piles and Pylon factory.

Bekwarra local government is the groundnut basket of Cross River and the Ayade administration thought it wise to establish a groundnut oil processing plant there.

Africa’s first-ever automated Cocoa processing plant is cited in Ikom because the Ikom/Etung axis is Cross River’s Cocoa belt.

In the same vein, the ultramodern rice mill in Ogoja was built there because the Yala/Obudu/ Ogoja axis is the state’s bastion of rice cultivation.

Similarly, the rice seeds and seedlings factory is cited in Calabar for the ease of movement through the airport and seaport.

The Calachika Chicken processing factory is also cited in the industrial park because the birds that feed it are farmed at the Cross River Integrated Poultry Farm Ltd, Palmo, Odukpani, about 10 minutes drive from Calabar.

The CalaNoodles factory, manufacturers of kisimi and Garment factory which are also in the industrial park are cited there for the ease of distribution of their products.

In any case, the products of some of the factories have already made a debut in the market. For example, some neighbouring states, groups and individuals placed orders running into millions of Naira for the supply of chickens from Calachika during the Yuletide period.

The Garment factory was also sometimes ago contracted by the NYSC to produce uniforms for corps members. This was in addition to producing nose masks for many states at the height of the Covid 19 pandemic.

The Toothpick factory has its product in the market too.

Ayade has done his best by building the industries. It is a fact that no governor in Nigeria’s history can hold a candle to what the Cross River state governor has achieved in the area of industrialisation.

The industries he has established, put together, are beyond the carrying capacity of the state, after all, everyone knows what accrues to the state from federal allocation every month.

However, imbued with the fecundity of ideas and as a governor that thinks outside the box, Ayade has been able to accomplish his administration’s industrialisation blitz through the application of innovative intellectual money.

However, building industries is one thing and getting them to work is another which is why the governor is seeking funding through concessions.

Besides, all the industries were built from the scratch, which means that funds are needed to run them for a gestation period.

Governor Ayade still has a year in office, it is, therefore, premature to pontificate about the workability or otherwise of the factories. But then, let’s x-ray some of the factories through the prism of the disruptive global Covid 19 pandemic.

For example, the pharmaceutical factory at the industrial park, Calabar was one of such industries that suffered the pangs of the pandemic because foreign experts hired for the installation of production machinery in the facility were held back in their respective countries by Covid 19 restrictions.

Indeed, Ayade’s industrialisation drive is a study in the audacity of man to dream big and the grit- determination to crystallise such dream irrespective of drawbacks.

As he would say, “I will rather aim high and miss than aim low and hit the target”

This finds amity with former Liberian President, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson’s admonition: “The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, then they are not big enough. If you start with a small dream you may not have much left when it is fulfilled because along the way life will test your dreams and makes demands on you”

Oh yes, it takes a man with uncanny academic brilliancy, managerial skill and incredible can-do spirit to dream big, achieve unprecedented feats and be recognised by the world as a champion of industrialisation. Ayade is an institution!

Chidi Onyemaizu is Senior Special Assistant on Print Media to Governor Ben Ayade

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Posted by on Apr 4 2022. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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