The Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, has announced that the state is fully prepared to accord President Muhammadu Buhari a grand reception as he visits the state on Tuesday to commission the multi-billion naira Rice Seedlings factory in Calabar.
Making the announcement while speaking to journalists, ahead of the president’s visit, the second in three years, Ayade said everything has been put in place for the president’s visit.
“We are perfectly in order. This is home coming for Mr. President, and as far as I am concerned, Cross River is ready to receive him. We are going to give him a perfect reception,” Ayade said.
The governor said the president’s visit, which is the second since assuming the Presidency, was an indication of the president’s love for the state and a stamp of approval for his administration’s investments in agriculture.
“The first visit of President Buhari was on infrastructure but this second visit will be agriculture related and it shows consistency and a pass mark on my government,” Ayade said.
During the visit, the president is expected to commission the multi-billion naira automated rice seeds and seedlings factory in Calabar reputed to be the first in Africa.
It is also a seed multiplication centre that produces high yielding, disease resistant and vitaminised rice seedlings.
The president will also inaugurate the ultra-modern Navy Hospital in Carlsbad.
The state governor projects that with the federal government’s support, the state will be generating at least, N50 billion annually from the factory.
At the moment, Calabar, the state capital, is looking spick and span in readiness for the visit, with a lot of roads rehabilitation ongoing.
But the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state has kicked against the proposed commissioning of the rice seedling factory, advising the federal government to retrace its steps.
A statement to that effect from the state Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Bassey Ita, in Calabar read: “The party recalls that more than two years ago, Mr. President was here to perform the official ground breaking of a superhighway. The implication of that speaks of massive support and endorsement of the president for such a project. But, the issue is, when the project fails by virtue of mis-governance, how then do we look away from the very succinct, but terrible public perception of that failure, especially with Mr. President’s involvement?”
Describing the project as a failure from conception, the APC said: “The proposed rice seedling factory is an agenda that is made in the Republic-of-Projects-Failure, and could have some laughable implications in the political landscape of the state.”
The APC said the federal government should “first, query the success or otherwise of the superhighway project Mr. President came to kick start, get the reactions of most Cross Riverians, and their views about the project, collate the feedback and do a dispassionate assessment and judgment of the situation we are referring viz-a-viz the proposed rice seedlings project and it will realise that it has to jump over the scandal the Ayade government is plotting for it”.
The party said that a lot of such projects have only remained in the imagination of the initiators.
“The CalVegas, the Deep Seaport, the mountains and the plains have in one way or the other only been mentioned, and in that realm there have been left. Even social security and overheads for which the federal government has made substantial input are a failure,” it said.
According to the statement, the party was merely advising President Buhari to stay off another round of embarrassment by Ayade’s administration.