Thursday, 29 July 2021

World Hepatitis Day: Edu flags off Campaign says, "We can't allow the virus ravage us"

Edu Officially Flags Off World Hepatitis Week "HEP CAN'T WAIT" free Testing and vaccination


"With Someone dying from Hepatitis Every 30 Seconds, It's Wise We Discontinue Community Use Of same Toothbrush, stop unprotected sex, get tested and vaccinated against Hepatitis". - Dr Betta Edu.

Cross Riverians joined well meaning citizens worldwide to celebrate the 10th edition World Hepatitis Day as it was  flagged off in Calabar by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu. 

Flagging off the campaign to sensitize the public on the causes, effect, prevention and curative measures of the various types of Hepatitis, the Honorable Commissioner for Health Dr Betta Edu assured Cross Riverians that the government of Sen. Prof Ben Ayade will do all within its capacity to prevent people from contacting or dying of Hepatitis virus.

Speaking during the flagging off exercise in PHC Ma-Effa Junction, Akamkpa LGA, the Health Commissioner sensitized Cross Riverians noted that every 30 seconds someone dies of Hepatitis globally which most times is due to ignorance.

"Today all over the World is marked as World Hepatitis Day. In Cross River State the prevalence of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C are 8.8% and 1.1% respectively. Over 16.2 million people in Nigeria are living with Hepatitis B Virus and 2.2million people living with Hepatitis C Virus. Majority of these infected people are unaware of their status. Together we will tackle this virus to complete elimination by getting the population screened for hepatitis, providing vaccines for those negative and supporting persons requiring treatment."

"Hepatitis can be spread through contact with body fluids, unprotected sex, sharing sharp objects and needles (the man who goes around to cut everybody's nails with same scissors and tools),and sometimes most easily by community sharing of toothbrush were family members or close friends share the same toothbrush, We must discourage this. We're here to sensitize and create awareness on the negative effects of this virus to educate you on the mode of transmission, prevention and possible treatment. I call on everyone to get tested and vaccinated so we all can stay safe." Betta informed. 

Dr Edu charged health workers, traditional rulers, youth leaders and even religious leaders to advocate and spread the information all over the State to reduce the high level of ignorance in the  society today. She thanked His Excellency Sen Ben Ayade for always supporting the health sector, the Chairman of Akamkpa for playing host, traditional rulers, health workers and everyone for making the event a success. We truly can't wait to end Hepatitis!

Also speaking during the event, the Director General of the CRSPHCDA Dr Janet Ekpenyong charged Cross Riverians to take responsibility for their safety by coming all out to get tested and vaccinated. "We decided to celebrate this year's World Hepatitis Day here in Akamkpa to enable us take this message to all the nocks and crannies of Akamkpa and beyond, we came here to sensitize and create awareness on Hepatitis and to send a strong message to our people to continue to stay safe and not die of this deadly disease which kills faster than HIV/AIDS; by getting tested and vaccinated. We can't allow this virus ravage us as such we must first prevent ourselves from it.

On his part the Chairman of Akamkpa LGA Hon. Linus Bassey Etim called on his people to embrace this opportunity and come get tested and vaccinated. He thanked the Honorable Commissioner for always having the Akamkpa people in mind as she has carefully spread health programs across the entire LGAs of the State putting into consideration the number of cases or risk of exposure facing such an LGA per health program. He applauded her for always taking part in every health event as her presence has only proven that she's got the Interest of Cross Riverians at heart.

The Akamkpa LGA Traditional Rulers Council represented by Ntufam Barr Paul Ogar the Clan Head of Akamkpa assured the Health Commissioner of maximum sensitization of their people on the signs/symptoms, mode of transmission, as well as prevention. He thanked the Honorable Commissioner for working round the clock to keep Cross Riverians safe stating that she remains the best the State has ever had.

Highpoint of the event was the official Flagging Off of the World Hepatitis Week by the Health Commissioner Dr Betta Edu, testing and vaccination of the Chairman of Akamkpa LGA by the Commissioner and free testing and vaccination of over 1000 people. 

Special dignitaries at the event was the Director of Public Health Dr Iwara Iwara, Vice Chairman of Akamkpa LGA Hon. Mary Ankpor, Wife of the Chairman Mrs Enobe Bassey, The entire Akamkpa LGA Executive Council, Traditional Rulers, CRSMOH Directors, PHC Directors, Youth Leaders, and Mrs Amah Mary the Ag. Coordinator SASCAP. 

Follow the link below for every needed information on Hepatitis from the office of the Honorable Commissioner for HealthUpdate on Hepatitis



Photo Gallery:



Edu reveals staggering figures on Hepatitis as C'River celebrates 2021 World Hepatitis Day



World Hepatitis Day; Every 30 Seconds Someone Dies Of Hepatitis


There are Five main strains of the Hepatitis Virus which are A, B, C, D and 
E. Together, Hepatitis B and C are the most common cause of deaths. This Article will be looking at the Viral Hepatitis B and C. Viral Hepatitis is a major global health problem with more than 400 million patients chronically infected, causing over 1.4 million deaths per Year globally. Its prevalence varies throughout the World, but is highest in the Tropical Regions. 

It is estimated that 5-15% of Adults in Sub-Saharan Africa are chronically infected with HBV. There is a 15-25% risk of dying prematurely in Adulthood from HBV-related Cirrhosis and Hepatocellular Carcinoma, while a small proportion of those with acute infections may also succumb to fulminant liver failure.

Nigeria contributes significantly to the global burden of chronic viral Hepatitis with the prevalence rate of 8.1% for Hepatitis B and 1.1% for Hepatitis C. This translates to an estimated 16.2 million people with HBV and 2.2% million people living with HCV. Despite the clinical impact associated with this disease, majority of infected people are unaware of their status, largely driven by the asymptomatic nature of the disease. Globally awareness on Hepatitis B and C is very low at about 10% and 19% as estimated by the W.H.O. In Nigeria alone there could be about 15million people who are unaware that they are infected. Hepatitis B and C account for 
about 90% death of all types of Hepatitis. The danger is that those who are unaware of their INFECTED status could go on and develop liver diseases including cancer, also infect family members and sexual partners or die out of ignorance.

In Cross River State the prevalence of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C are 8.8% 
and 10% respectively with Urban and Rural disparity. In a recent study conducted by Okoro etal in Cross River State, it was discovered that HBV/HCV positivity was higher among males than females. Age was significantly associated with being HBV negative and HCV negative. Communal use of toothbrush was significantly associated with HBV positivity. The first ever global Hepatitis strategy was adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2016, setting the World's first Hepatitis elimination targets. The strategy calls for the elimination of viral Hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030 reducing new infections by 90% and mortality by 65%, new drugs and expanded access to vaccines are making it possible. 


To support that goal, W.H.O is now supporting a global process for validating the elimination of Hepatitis, just as we do for other diseases. Also, there are other strategies like "find the missing million" by the World Hepatitis Alliance and the Yearly World Hepatitis Day (WHD) is commemorated each Year on the 28th of July bringing the World together under a single theme to enhance awareness of viral Hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver that causes a range of health problems, including liver cancer.

On July 28 2020, Individuals, Organizations and Governments around the World celebrated the Tenth Official World Hepatitis Day (WHD), which is one of the World Health Organization's (WHO) seven officially-mandated global public health days. WHD is a day for the World's's Hepatitis community to unite and make their voices heard. It's a day to celebrate the progress we have made and to meet the current challenges. It's also an opportunity for us to increase awareness and encourage a real political change to jointly facilitate prevention, diagnosis and treatment.


"HEP (Hepatitis) Can't't Wait" is the theme for 2021 World Hepatitis Day. 
With a person dying every 30 seconds from viral Hepatitis related illness even in the COVID-19 crisis, we can't wait to act on viral Hepatitis. HBV infection is a vaccine-preventable disease. Vaccination with the monovalent HBV vaccine was introduced in Nigeria in 2004 as part of the National Program on Immunization (NPI), to be given at 6, 10, and 14 weeks of age.


MODE OF TRANSMISSION:

Hepatitis B and C shares the same mode of transmission with HIV such as unprotected sexual intercourse, sharing of needles and sharps, transfusion with infected blood, semen and other body fluids and Mother to Child Transmission. Hepatitis can also be transmitted during organ transplant and through direct contact with sweat from an infected person.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEPATITIS B

 Abdominal pain.
 Dark-colored urine.
 Fever.
 Joint pain.
 Loss of appetite.
Nausea and vomiting.
 Weakness and fatigue.
 Yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes (jaundice)

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEPATITIS C:

In addition to the above, Hepatitis C patient will also present with the following signs and symptoms:
 
 Bleeding easily.
 Bruising easily.
 Itchy skin.
 Fluid buildup in the abdomen (ascites)

PATIENT EDUCATION:

 Blood-borne disease that can be transmitted during sexual intercourse or at the time of Childbirth. 
 Prophylaxis is strongly advised.
 Family members born by the same parents should also be checked for HBV 
infection.
 The best preventative measurement is vaccination.

WHO SHOULD BE SCREENED

All Cross Riverians are at risk- and deserve to be counseled and screened for HBV 
at any opportunity eg:
 Clinic/Hospital visits
 Pregnancy
 Pre –school children
 Blood/organ donation
 Contact with identified person

SPECIAL SUBJECTS REQUIRING SCREENING

 Recurrent blood transfusion patients 
 Post transfusion jaundice or Liver Function Test abnormality
 Hepatocellular Carcinoma
 1st degree relatives of Hepatitis +ve patients
 Patients with HIV
 Pre-commencement of chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy
 Prisoners
 Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) Female Sex Workers ( FSW) and
People Who Inject Drugs (PWID )
 History of STDs


PREVENTION OF Hepatitis B and C INFECTION

 Health /Education for Health Care Workers and the general public
 Universal Immunization (infants, children, adolescents) and implementation
of National Programme for Immunization (NPI) scheme for HBV 
vaccination.
 Immunoprophylaxis against HBV is of two types: Passive Immunization 
using HBIG- confers only immediate and short-lived protection and Active Immunization using inactive HBsAg- gives long-term immunity,
 Contact tracing and Immunization of non-immune persons
 Screening and vaccination of all special risk groups especially surgeons, 
dentists, Lab staff, Accident/Emergency staff, Key Populations and law enforcement agents
 Screening of pregnant women at ANC and Immunization of the non-immune.
 Immunization of all babies born to HBV +ve pregnant women immediately 
after birth.
 Screening of all blood/organ and blood products before transfusion/transplantation.
 Proper disposal of all sharp instruments (needles, lancets, blades).
 Harm reduction programs
 
MY TAKE HOME MESSAGES TO CROSS RIVERIANS

 HBV infection is a Worldwide problem. More in Nigeria
 100 times more infectious than HIV. Spreads is similar.
 All Nigerians are at risk. Screen at any available opportunity.
 TREATMENT to be initiated by SPECIALISTS ONLY!!!
 Prevention through Vaccination is the best.

SUMMARY

 Viral Hepatitis is common
 HBV & HCV are associated with Chronic liver Cirrhosis.
 Immunoprophylaxis is proving to be difficult – no effective neutralising immune response has been achieved.
 Diagnostic tool still a challenge
 Treatment is expensive 
 Prevention through vaccination is the key for HBV (NONE FOR HCV)


IN CONCLUSION:

Without finding the undiagnosed and linking them to care, 
millions will continue to suffer, and lives will be lost. On World Hepatitis Day, 28 July, we call on people from across the State to take action and raise awareness.
In the current COVID-19 crisis, we can't wait to act on Viral Hepatitis.
 People living with viral Hepatitis who are unaware can't wait for testing.
 People living with hepatitis can't wait for life saving treatments.
 Expectant mothers can't wait for Hepatitis screening and treatment.
 Newborn babies can't wait for birth dose vaccination.
 People affected by Hepatitis can't wait to end stigma and discrimination.
 Community organizations can't wait for greater investment.
 Decision makers can't wait and must act now to make hepatitis elimination 
a reality through political will and funding.

Dr Betta Edu
Honorable Commissioner For Health, CRS
Ayade’s Industrial Revolution, has opened up job opportunities for Young C'Riverians - Emmanuel Etim

 



The Senior Special Assistant Creative Economy and Chairman SSA Forum in Cross River State Mr. Emmanuel Etim has said that the Sen. Prof.  Ben Ayade Industrialization policy is creating jobs for young people in Calabar Municipality in particular and Cross River State in general. 

He made this statement while speaking at the Calabar Municipality Grand Unity Rally held recently in the Council Headquarters field in Calabar, the state capital. 

Mr. Etim who spoke on behalf of Senior Special Assistants said the Ayade Industrial Park located in Calabar Municipality Local Government Area has employed hundreds of youths and will employ even more when all the industries are commissioned and become operational. 

He added that other than employment,  there are many other economic benefits that will accrue to the Local Government from the operation of the industries in the industrial park.

He concluded that Indigenes and residents of Calabar Municipality must thus continue to support Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade and that the Local Government is one hundred percent All Progressives Congress.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

World Hepatitis Day: Experts advocate for adequate funding to eradicate disease by 2030


 Ukpa Ewa | July 28 2021



AWKA - Health Expert in Anambra are calling on the World Health Organization and other International bodies to look into proper funding to curb and possibly eradicate Hepatitis come 2030. Stating that Universal Health Insurance for persons living with viral hepatitis B and C will go along way if the 2030 target will be met. 

Speaking in an interview with TDN in  commemoration of this year's World Hepatitis Day celebration in Awka, the Executive Secretary of Anambra Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA), Dr. Simeon Onyemaechi said the attainment of Universal Health Coverage is critical for issues surrounding for chronic hepatitis attended to. 

Dr. Simeon Onyemeachi observed that medications commonly used by persons  affected by the viral disease was expensive and out of reach for poor individuals.


"If we are globally serious about it, this issues should be discussed in higher levels where funding commitment can be made and follow through. A lot of funding must go into research and development for cure for hepatitis B"

 Dr. Simeon Onyemaechi
Executive Secretary of Anambra Health Insurance Agency



He also informed that, "Individuals who take the drugs regularly are safe and hardly transmits the diseases But the prices for this drugs are quite high, making drugs accessibility is one of the ways of curbing the transmission." 


He noted that there was lot of funding control programmes for HIV Aids, Tuberculosis, malaria and different diseases but  regretted that hepatitis programmes were been submerged with no special attention given which was now a menace.

"There are prevention of mother to child  transmission of certain diseases but there was no real attempt of having a prevention from mother to child hepatitis B and C" .

The Executive Secretary maintained that hepatitis B and C were chronic and was of great public health importance because they have the propensity to cause chronic hepatitis as well as cancer of the liver Hepatocellular Carcinoma which was now the leading cause of cancer.

Also, hepatitis was a highly infectious disease which most people don't realize and can take people's lives when not treated early.

Its transmission root was similar to HIV transmission gotten via unprotected sex, unsafe blood transfusion, use of unsterilised sharp instruments among others.

"While we look forward to eliminating hepatitis, integrated care, access to vaccination for individuals, composite testing kits should be provided as the disease affects persons of all age group,  in all places" he said.

Meanwhile, the world is tackling eliminating hepatitis by 2030. It becomes apt to have this theme that we have for the year " Hepatitis Can't Wait".
  





Monday, 26 July 2021

Akpabio Failed as Governor - APC National Scribe

 

The Secretary of the APC National Caretaker Committee, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe has lampooned the tenure administration of Senator Godswill Akpabio as Governor of Akwa Ibom State.

In a live discussion on Passion FM 94.5, Uyo, Udoedehe said Akpabio failed during his tenure as Governor between 2007 and 2015.
 
I brought in Godswill Akpabio as Governor but his government failed Akwa Ibom people.

Refering to the insecurity, lack of any industry, Udoedehe, former Minister of State for FCT said the current Minister of Niger Delta Affairs performed woefully as Governor.

He said the state was so unsafe with wanton destruction human lives without restraint, causing Akwa Ibom people to live in total fear.

"I was the voice of the oppressed and I came out to condemn and challenge that adminstration. That is why I said that I can never support his government to continue in office," Udoedehe added.

Sunday, 25 July 2021

IPOB caution members as Nnamdi Kanu prepares to appear in court today


The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has called on her members world wide with special reference to those residents in Nigeria to put up their best behavior as they exercise their constitutional rights to witness the trial of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu in Court this morning. 

According to a social media post circulated in one of the groups pages on Facebook - IPOB YOUTH PARLIAMENT, members were asked to be civil in their engagements, dressing and conducts. 

The statement reads in part: 

"As we prepare for legal fireworks in court tomorrow, I wish to extend my best compliments to our teeming supporters who will endeavor to witness the commencement of the Hearing on Mazi Nnamdi Kanu's case tomorrow.

I further wish to urge restraint and civility in all quarters tomorrow. It is your constitutional rights to be in court to witness court's proceedings but your engagement, dressing and conducts should be civil..." 

The statement also reminded members of IPOB that the world is watching and notable media outfits all over the world will be on ground to cover their trial. 


Leaders the of IPOB demanded for justice and fair hearing as the trial of their leader - Nnamdi Kanu resumes this morning, they also reminded security agencies that the court environment is a public place, accessible to everybody, and not a battleground, they should be civil in their engagement, as no violence is envisaged and none will happen.

 
Recall that Kanu, who is facing an 11-count charge of treason, treasonable felony, terrorism and illegal possession of firearms, among others, jumped bail in 2017 and left the country, only to re-emerge in Israel and then in the United Kingdom.

He was reportedly rearrested in Kenya and extradited back to Nigeria on the 27th of June, 2021.

The secessionist was then arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako who ordered his remand in the custody of the DSS until his next trial date which is July 26 and 27. 

However, the hearing is hanging in the balance due to an annual vacation for federal judges which is expected to last till September 17, 2021.

Although, counsel to the IPOB leader, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, had said on Friday that his client would appear in court despite an annual vacation for judges.

Ejiofor added that he received a confirmation from the Federal High Court Abuja, that the hearing of Kanu's case will proceed as scheduled.

See Social Media Post here: IPOB caution members

Brokenness inspires Newness, Duke speaks as he calls for 24/7 celebration of his birthday

 


You said you will be with me 24/7, today is 24/7 (24th July and it my birthday, feel free to send all the love,gifts and good tidings.


Those were the words of Cross River former Deputy Speaker, and four times House of Assembly member, Chief Orok Otuekong Duke on his Facebook timeline as he announced his birthday while calling for lovely wishes, goodwill messages and gifts. 



Rt. Hon. Orok Duke who had been Chairman of Cross River State Sports Commission informed that brokenness inspires him to create something new from nothingness. According to him, "When the world feels like it's turned upside down and unable to fix; it helps to look at things from a different angle. Because, no matter how broken something is: whether it is a grumpy neighbour, a terrified best friend, an estranged girl friend or a shattered glass; that broken thing could inspire something new. Maybe something better than before."

Duke a great poet and literal luminary with a creative mind had been a source of inspiration and motivation to many young Cross Riverians. He has always believed in the transformation of street boys known as area boys. He opines that when these street boys from various cult factions fratanise together the bond created will help reduce cult clash, thus his introduction of the Tinkoriko play. 




As Duke adds another years to his age today, it is pertinent to note that he has strong affinity and love for his family. This caused him to cease celebrating his birthday after he lost his brofher to the cold hands of death in 1981. The late Edem Otu Duke was born on July 30 1958 but died tragically in February 1981 and in his honour, Chief Orok Duke delected to stop celebrating you birthday but religiously celebrate his late brother's posthumous birthday every July 30th.


To this end, the management and staff of TDNewsnigeria joins many Nigerians in wishing Rt. Hon. Orok Duke a happy birthday wishing him many more prosperous years ahead. 

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Obi Cubana finally speaks, says my boys are not ritualists





"I want to state this clearly, I am not the talking type or Social media interest free person"

"Many have questioned the type of boys and friends I have, to me, I hardly address anyone as my boy because we are all boys to God Almighty.

I don't have any boy who is into rituals, if you are my boy or my man because I like to address my boys as my men, it means you are working hard and you made your money in a clean way.
In 2013, I pushed 53 uneducated Oba boys into the market to learn trading. In 2017, I withdrew all of them from their Ogas and settled all of them with 3million Naira each and paid for their shops.

I linked 40 of them into importation and made them use my name and platform to import goods into the country. After two years, I checked on them how they were doing and find out some had issues and I supported them again to stand.

I am happy today that out of the 53 men, 38 are billionaires while the rest are in the level of a millionaire.
In 2018, I took 100 educated men out of streets and introduced them to the white men for business and today there are billionaires in dollars.
They also help me in their capacity when I require their help. All their friends both Nigeria and outside patronises me.

I am into hotel and club business and I have so many businesses I am brand ambassadors to.
I have alliance with spirit drinks and wines, I am brand to many businesses in the world.
It gives me joy to see my men do well, non of my hotel managers in Nigeria can small poverty, I encourage them to raise others from their local communities.

 I have never sacked a worker due to misconduct, I bring you in and speak to you the way you will understand.
I have this understanding that we should allow the stubborn people to exist and cool headed people to exist and we make use of them when their needs arises.

I don't believe in the supremacy of power rather I believe in the fare share of power and authority and allow everyone to feel belonged.
I have many uncountable people through my hotel business, I have encouraged many, I have made a lot of friends millionaires and billionaires because it gives me joy. Seeing them throw money around gives me happiness and they know, so anytime there are with me, they show such attitude of throwing money to please me.

Yes, I will gift 1 million to 300 Oba boys to start up business and link them up too to make it.
I have a lot of friends and associates and we are like brothers to each other. We love and encourage one another in good and bad as you have seen in my case that all of them came massively to support me.
Critics is normal and there are there to say what they want to say but when you are doing the right thing, you don't listen to what people say. If I have my way, I will also help those criticising me.

A lot of non Obas will still benefit from me because I am still in the business of making people great.
Cubana chief priest is my man and he is a jolly fellow. People mistake him for me, I am Obi Kubana and he is my Chief priest I hope you understand it now.

I am not into politics and I don't have interest in it till tomorrow. I respect those in politics because dey carry power. Lol hahaha.
My advice is they should identify talents and make them great, don't have any fear of who betrays you tomorrow, just make men and move, if they remember good if not be happy that they made it through you.

I didn't asked my boys/men for donations or help, I didn't also asked my friends for help or donations they did that on their own and I appreciated their efforts.

Gradually ala Igbo ga adinma"

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

C'River: Wife of council boss Empowers Women in Akpabuyo



 In a bit to emancipate women from abject poverty in Akpabuyo Local Government Area, wife of the chairman Mrs. Eyoawan Offiong Bassey, Recently in a popular market in the local government, ( Okon Oyom market) empowered some women numbering over Thirty with Ten Thousand Naira each to boost their petty businesses. The women mostly aged women got the gesture from Akpabuyo first lady when she went to visit the area.

One of the beneficiary, a fifty two year old woman (52) who gave her name as madam Iquoa Effiong said she was very happy with the chairman's wife gesture maintaining that she had been selling in that market for over thirty years, In her words, "I have been selling in this market as a young woman in my middle thirty, this is the first time I have seen this kind of gesture from any local government administration in Akpabuyo", she was also full of praises for the Ayade led administration who made it possible for them to be carried along. Another beneficiary who gave her name as Mrs. Nkoyo Bassey (42) said she was very happy for the chairman's wife and the administration of Governor Ben Ayade who had made this possible. In her words; "God will bless the wife of our chairman and our governor Ben Ayade for the gesture, I will use this money to improve my water leave business".

While making the donations, Mrs. Bassey urged the women to make judicious use of the money as this will help them to boost their businesses

She called on the women to continue to pray and support the administration of Ben Ayade from state to local government level, adding that in time, more things would come to them.

In a brief chat with our reporter Mrs. Bassey said the token was to help the market women boost their petty businesses, especially during this hard times, maintaining that women are the back bones of their husbands and families and they also contribute meaningfully in the growth of our economies hence the need to encourage them in any area. She explained.

 

 

 

 

C'River State can be an Entrepreneurship Hub in Nigeria - Ben Akak


Emeka Onyebuchi | 14th July 2021 


ENUGU - Cross River State is greatly endowed by nature and possesses all the basic requirements to drive entrepreneurial activities that will catalyze the economic growth of the State and Nigeria at large. This is the view expressed by Engr. Ben Akak, a businessman and politician from the State. He posits that all that is remaining is to fine tune other relevant aspects like basic utilities,  infrastructure and access to finance to support the natural endowments and opportunities for entrepreneurial growth and development.

Engr. Akak made this known during a courtesy visit on him by a group of aspiring entrepreneurs from the Southern Senatorial District of Cross River State in his office in Calabar. He highlighted that entrepreneurship is important for a number of reasons, from promoting social change to driving innovation. He further revealed that research has shown that entrepreneurs are frequently thought of as national assets to be cultivated, motivated, and remunerated to the greatest possible extent. In fact, some of the most developed nations such as the United States are world leaders due to their forward-thinking innovation, research, and entrepreneurial individuals.

Engr. Akak, himself a successful entrepreneur with his Bengies Group of companies, added that great entrepreneurs are change agents as their innovations tend to transform the way we live and work, improving the standards of living, while creating wealth with job opportunities for the teeming unemployed population thus contributing to growing the economy. According to him, the importance of entrepreneurship should not be understated.

For Ben Akak, the rich natural endowments of Cross River State ranging from the rich and vast landscape fertile for commercial agriculture to the mineral deposits that still remain largely untapped, even up to the regular tourism and ecotourism potential present huge opportunities for entrepreneurs to latch on to. He, however, noted the challenges that have so far discouraged the growth of entrepreneurship in Cross River State to include the significant infrastructure deficit (which include the poor state of our roads and highways plus insufficient and unstable power supply), difficulty in accessing capital, low level of technical know-how, social factors etc.

He acknowledged the industrialization drive of the current administration of Gov. Ben Ayade in the State and opined that a follow-up process of awakening and encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit of Cross Riverians will be necessary to achieve the desired results. This, according to him, can be done through a deliberate policy that seeks to improve on the state of infrastructure and access to finance. As an entrepreneur himself, Ben Akak is convinced that he knows just the right things to do to turn Cross River State into and entrepreneurship hub not just in Nigeria but the West African subregion.

Ben Akak aspires to be the next Governor of Cross River State come 2023. He comes across as a breathe of fresh air, brimming with ideas that bring far reaching solutions to contemporary challenges facing the State. From what I have seen and heard, it is clear to me that Cross River will certainly be in safe hands with Ben Akak as Governor.  

Emeka Onyebuchi is a freelance media practitioner based in Enugu.