Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Two years after, C'River Multi-million Naira toothpick factory and sundry industries lie fallow

Paradise toothpick ready for export 

The recent appointment of Bukie Okangbe as SSA New Media to Governor Ayade of Cross River State may have been orchestrated by the divinity as it has not just thrown open some waste embarked upon by the Ayade's led administration but made the conversation of this wasteful form of governance become a trending discuss amongst residents and indigenes of Cross River State. 

Bukie Okangbe, former media aide to Sen. John Owan Enoh, after receiving her appointment letter as SSA New Media, weeks after the governor joined her Party out of enthusiasm to carryout her new assignment with the hope of pleasing her paymaster got her fingers burnt. 

Her first Media post for the government of Cross River State was to design a catalogue of Governor Ayade's much talked about numerous industries said to be littered across the state with every of the 18 Local Government Areas of the state housing at least one of these industries. 

Little did Bukie know that her good works for her paymaster will attract such a backlash as Cross Riverians didn't take it lightly with her but rather bounced on her. 

Abandoned building and properties of Paradise Toothpick 

Her said industrial catalogue threw up several questions as to the state of the various industries listed in her catalogue. 
Cross Riverians started throwing up images and  their thoughts on the various industries as enumerated in her catalogue where tax payers monies running into millions of dollars has been sung.

This also raised dust with many Cross Riverians expressing diverse views concerning governance in Cross River State. 
One of such grave revelations the whole saga threw up is the Toothpick Industry located at Ekori, Yakurr Local Government Area of the state. 

Governor Ben Ayade at the Commissioning ceremony of Paradise Toothpick 

It was a thing of  joy and excitement when Governor Ayade informed Cross Riverians that using bamboo trees that lie in waste in our farmlands, Cross River State can become one of the producers of Toothpick and rake in so much money from almost nothing. 

In less than no time, the factory was set up, with the various machines and equipments mounted. Fast forward to two years down the road, the factory lies in waste, while its product are not found anywhere around the market. 

Precisely on the 4th of March, 2019, the Toothpick Factory, was commissioned by Governor Ben Ayade, with capacity to produce 31 million Toothpicks daily, surprisingly, the Factory has been under lock and key for over a year with its products nowhere to be found in the market. 

According to a social media post, made by a public affairs analyst and journalists from Yakurr LGA, the same LGA where the facility is located, Iwara Iwara said, "

"...the Cross River State Toothpick Manufacturing Company Ltd. The factory is located in Ekori, Yakurr LGA, CRS is WIDELY touted, even serially flaunted as a HUGELY SUCCESSFUL investment of the present administration in my state.  But from the firmly locked factory building, empty security post, the torn Nigeria and Cross River State flags as well as the over grown grasses in the premises, this is not a SUCCESSFUL story."

"Sincerely, this factory is not WORKING; those who claim otherwise are ENEMIES of Cross River State. The CRS funds invested in this enterprise have painfully gone down the drain. Clearly, government has no business running business; she should rather create the enabling environment for private investment to thrive...THINK THROUGH THIS!"

Reacting also to the long list of supposed industries built by the Governor Ayade's Administration, Senator Sandy Onor of Cross River State Central Senatorial District said: "I examined the list of industries that this aide put across as achievements of Ayade. I challenge him and his sponsors to show us any of these industries that is working to capacity, sustainably and profitably and adding value to the economy of Cross River State.

"The best he can say is that most of them are in the state of incompletion while others are completely comatose. None of these industries is adding any value to the economy of Cross River, whether it is the cocoa processing factory in Ikom, or the toothpick factory at Ekori, Yakurr LGA, or the rice factory in Ogoja, or the Calachika, or the garment factory, none of these industries is adding value to the economy of the state.

"I have it in good authority that there are processes in motion to privatise same to those who had them poorly thought out and badly executed in the first place. I wish them well. I have no apologies for what I said. Indeed, I stand by all that I said, knowing fully well that my assessment is objective, sincere and representative of the reality on ground. 

Governor Ayade Commissioning Paradise Toothpick two years ago at Ekori, Yakurr LGA 

For Agba Jalingo, publisher of Cross River Watch, in a Social Media Post titled, "Why we must Hold Ayade Accountable", He said. "With only 699 days to go, I make bold to say that none of all these projects listed above has taken off efficiently. I mean NONE OF THEM. We only keep hearing that they are at different stages of completion nearing commissioning. The Garment Factory and Rice City, touted to be working are hanging on the balance; gulping money from government instead of adding a dime to our revenue. Aside that, none of all those factories or projects have added a dime to our IGR. Even some of them that were opened, like the Toothpick Factory in Ekori, Yakurr have long shut down."

Cross River State Banana farm in Odukpani lying fallow 

Recall Gov. Ben Ayade had while commissioning the factory urged Cross Riverians to go into commercial cultivation of bamboo which is the major raw material required for the production of Toothpick. One begins to wonder what happens to those bamboo farms cultivated by indigenes in obedience to the governor.

If nothing is done, then billions of Naira, Cross River State taxpayers monies have just gone down the drain, with nothing to show for it. 

The Toothpick Factory is one of many industries being created by the Cross River State government, but many have yet to be commissioned, and those that have been commissioned have failed to benefit the state economically.

See video of Governor Ayade Inspecting the Paradise Toothpick factory immediately after its commissioning two years ago at Ekori, Yakurr LGA 


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