By; VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
Cross River State Government has dismissed as a product of dementia, allegation by the state chapter of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) that Governor Ben Ayade repackaged smuggled rice as Ayade Rice which was recently unveiled in the state.
Describing the party as blackmailers, the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Media and Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Christian Ita, said the party, like its national headquarters, is one intractably steeped in the art of mendacity.
While also dismissing claims of a rice village purportedly acquired by Ayade, Ita said “the allegation by the APC in the state was sheer buffoonery aimed at deflecting attention from the gross failings of the party at the centre”.
According to him, “it is galling that the state chapter of the APC, along with its leadership, is so disoriented to a scale that it can no longer differentiate between a rice mill which is currently under construction in Ogoja and a rice city located in Calabar as a seedling bed. The two are completely different projects which are at various stages of construction”.
“Mr. Mens Ikpeme’s claim is nothing but outright concoction and an act of dementia directed at misinforming the public. Ayade, had at inception made it abundantly clear that no longer shall rice produced in the state be processed and labeled as rice from elsewhere other than Cross River. He is working hard to achieve this goal. And before long, Ogoja rice processing plant will come on stream”.
On alleged repackaging of imported rice and seizure by the Nigeria Customs, Ita said: “it is most unfortunate how people could go to such a deprecatory length to fabricate and malign another person all in the name of playing opposition. It is not only mendacious but equally malicious to impute what is not true. What was unveiled recently was rice produced from the governor’s farm, Ayade Farms in Obanliku Local Government Area pending the completion of the Ogoja automated rice mill.
The Ayade Rice Farm had had to be milled at a plant in Makurdi, MIKAP Nigeria Limited, producers of MIVA Rice, owned by former Attorney general and Minister for Justice Michael, Michael Andoakaa“.
Continuing, Ita offered, “Ayade’s species of rice is Faro 44. It would be recalled that Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele came with his team on a sight inspection and expressed satisfaction with the governor’s commitment to go into rice farming. The fact is out there to cross check. But the desperation to play petty politics has blinded our armchair critics.”
On the garment factory, Ita who said “the APC is plagued by pathological jaundice, insisted that Ayade would not be distracted from his cardinal goal of industrializing the state, clarifying, however, that “the garment factory which the state APC conveniently calls a warehouse, has engaged thousands of hitherto unemployed youths and women of Cross River State”.
He accused the state APC of failing to come to terms with the monumental fraud its national body has become personified, with its colossal failure to deliver on any of its campaign promises to Nigerians, as well as plunging the citizenry into an untold hardship, never experienced in history.
He sounded out that “while it is convenient for the state chapter of APC to point fingers, choosing to ignore the massive timber of wood in its own eyes, Governor Ayade, however, remains focused and committed to industrializing the state as well as delivering the goods for the good people of Cross River”.
He urged the party to concern itself with its internal strife threatening its survival in the state.