Ayade bows to pressure, halts plan to sell state-owned companies
Gov. Ben Ayade declared on Thursday in Calabar that he would not privatise any of the 34 Cross River-owned companies in recognition of the choice of the people.
Ayade told newsmen that while privatising the companies was the right thing to do, it was not politically correct.
Few weeks back, Cross River conducted a referendum on the governor’s plan to privatise the companies, but majority of Cross River people antagonised the plan.
According to Ayade, his desire to privatise the companies was borne of a positive intention though the decision became unpopular.
“The government has no business running a business, but I have to concede to the wishes of the people not because it is right but because it is politically correct.
“There is a Privatisation Act of 2007 that empowers the state to carry out such action but it was necessary to seek the opinion of the people.
“This is so that it would not be said that I have sold the companies to myself or to my friends.
“In the interim, a management team will oversee the companies while ensuring that they are not just functional but viable for the state,’’ he said.
Ayade also called on the people of Cross River to take advantage of the companies to create wealth for themselves by partnering.
He noted that as a littoral state with so much natural resources and good climate, Cross River had no business being poor.
“I took over a state that is basically a civil service state happy with dancing on the streets during Christmas in the name of carnivals which does not really yield much to the state.
“Experience has shown that the money we spend on hosting the carnival is far more than whatever comes into the state after it.
“Unfortunately, it is difficult for many people to see the big dreams of the governor as they prefer the filling of potholes, planting grasses, hosting carnivals and paying salaries,’’ he noted.
Ayade added that if the state was to grow, it must go beyond just being a civil service state with the salary mentality.