Senator Gershom Bassey have said that one of the bane of Economic and Social development in Cross River State is as a result of the lack of political will on the part of the Nigerian Federal Government.
He spoke at a colloquium organised by CRS Southern Senatorial District PDP Stakeholders tagged, “Resetting for Recovery and Growth through the State’s Economy, Leadership, Politics, Community Values and Security” – The forum created an ambient atmosphere for critical stakeholders of the PDP in the Southern Senatorial District to interface with all the gubernatorial aspirant of Southern extraction.
Sen. Gershom Bassey extolled the Tinapa Business Resort project as a laudable project of the Donald Duke administration which would have totally turned around the fortunes of our dear State. As a critical member of the economic team of that administration that conceptualised the Tinapa project, he said the State Government had done its part for the success of the project. It was now left for the Federal Government to do its part. However, the Federal Government failed to follow through because of the lack of political will.
According to Sen. Bassey the key success factors for Tinapa were the responsibility of the Federal Government, and if these factors are not put in place, Tinapa can never work. He enunciated these three factors as road, air and sea. Thus, he lamented, “How do you access Tinapa? There are three ways … One is by road and of course the road even from Uyo to Tinapa is very bad, so no road accessing Tinapa. Two is by air and the Margaret Ekpo airport has the shortest runway in the whole of Nigeria. The other one is by sea and we have an inland waterway that is not dredged.”
The Distinguished Senator revealed that these three critical factors were in the blueprint and planning of the Tinapa Business Resort project. In fact, “these things were guaranteed to Donald when he was building Tinapa … the Olusegun Obasanjo administration personally guaranteed the provision of good access to Tinapa by road, air and sea …” the Senator futher revealed. Hence, according to him the lack of political will was not at the state level but at the Federal level.
Therefore, Sen. Gershom Bassey said that in few sectors of our state is the need for political will more important than in the Tinapa Business Resort project. The Federal Government must show a sustained commitment towards developmental objectives of States under the Federation. He insisted that the Federal Government must rekindle its promise and commitment to undertake the provision of access to Tinapa by road, air and sea inorder to achieve the set objectives of the project and to sustain the costs and maintenance of those infrastructure over time. Indeed, the amount and zeal applied in the pursuit of the Calabar Deep Sea Port should have been used to concentrate on the dredging of the Cross River channel leading to the Calabar port. Even though previous governments pursued that course of action, however, one of current Governors in the South East who was then in charge of NPA has not given account of the completion of the dredging.
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In that vein, Distinguished Senator Gershom Bassey concluded that, “If we must solve our problems, we must go to the fundamental root and principles of the foundation to solve this problem. If sufficient political will exists on the part of the Federal Government to meet their public commitments to Cross River State, the Tinapa dream will be rekindled”.