He heralded the scene in 2023 with profound sublimity and aplomb. In a messianic-like blaze of hope, he graced the political landscape devoid of airs and graces, without huffing and puffing. His visage epitomised an archetyical servant leader.
Interestingly, one year later, he has proved the skeptics wrong, while changing the minds of cynics.

Reflecting on his journey so far, in his State of the State address to mark the one year anniversary, a few days ago, His Excellency Senator Prince Bassey Edet Otu offered a sneak peak into his journey so far- challenges and his quest to restore the lost glory and hope of Cross River State.

Otu who anchored his campaign on the principles of “People First” and “Season of Sweetness,” emphasizes in his speech, the importance of prioritizing the needs and aspirations of the people.

From the outset, Otu took a unique approach to governance, by emphasizing the continuity of projects and programs initiated by previous administrations.

By recognising the potential benefits of properly executed projects, such as the Obudu Ranch Resort, the Teachers Retraining Institute in Biase, and the state College of Education’s transformation into a University of Education and Entrepreneurship, the governor has demonstrated a commitment to utilizing past investments for the benefit of the people.

Additionally, it should be appreciated that Otu’s efforts to complete the Obudu Cargo Airport and strengthen the CallyAir fleet indicate a dedication to alleviating air traffic problems and improving transportation in the state. Furthermore, the governor’s actions to regain lost assets, such as Tinapa, Oban Plantation, and Akamkpa Rubber Plantation, show a determination to rectify past mistakes and enhance the state’s economic prospects.

Recognizing the importance of technology in enhancing governance and economic growth, Otu has focused on strengthening the state’s digital infrastructure.
In this regard, Cross River State’s recognition as the best state in digital innovation and its achievements in the field of science and technology reflect the administration’s commitment to harnessing technological advancements for the benefit of the people.

Cumulatively, Governor Otu’s emphasis on digitalization has yielded positive results, with the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) increasing from N20.5 billion in 2022 to N30.8 billion in 2023, representing a significant growth rate of 50.24%. The state’s improved financial transparency, as evidenced by its rise in the accountability index rankings, has further boosted its credibility and attracted funding from multilateral agencies such as AFREXIM Bank for major projects.

One of the notable achievements of Governor Otu’s administration is the transformation of Calabar, the state capital. Through massive renovations and improvements in infrastructure, the city has regained its pride and glory. The ongoing road construction projects and rehabilitation of public facilities across the state demonstrate the administration’s commitment to bringing development and improvements to all regions.

On education and agricultural revitalization, his focus is evident through the payment of 2024 WAEC registration fees for over 16,000 SS3 students and the construction and rehabilitation of classroom blocks. Efforts to revitalize the Institute of Technology and Management (ITM) in Ugep, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education, emphasizes the commitment to providing quality education and ensuring the institution’s success.

Recognizing agriculture as the backbone of the state’s economy, Governor Otu has implemented several agricultural initiatives. Such initiatives include the comprehensive soil fertility survey, distribution of farm inputs, rehabilitation of farm access roads, and the establishment of income-earning agriculture enterprises. The launch of the Project Grow commercial agric development fund further demonstrates the commitment to revolutionizing the agriculture sector, creating jobs, and generating revenue.

On health, the administration has prioritized healthcare by revitalizing primary health centers and undertaking the construction and establishment of medical facilities. Efforts to improve healthcare access and service delivery include the completion of medical oxygen plants, renovation of vandalized healthcare facilities, and the establishment of a modern fistula facility. These initiatives aim to address the healthcare needs and well-being of the people of Cross River State.

Conclusively, Governor Otu’s first year in office has been marked by a steadfast commitment to the development and progress of Cross River State. By promoting continuity in governance, embracing technological advancements, and prioritizing key sectors such as education, agriculture, and healthcare, Otu has laid the foundation for sustainable growth and prosperity.

The achievements and initiatives implemented during this period demonstrate a promising future for Cross River State under his leadership. As the administration moves forward, the expectation is that the dividends of democracy will multiply, and the state will achieve the greatness it aspires for.

OBOGO is Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Governor Bassey Otu

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