Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State says life in Cross River should not always be about Christmas carnivals and aesthetics like lawns, bright lights, and decorations.
Calabar, the Cross River State capital, was famous for street carnivals at Christmas time, complete with an array of costumes and colors worn by the competing bands.
The city was the number one destination for Nigerians looking for a good time at Christmas.
The city was also a picture in serenity and tourist attractions, thanks to its boulevards, smooth roads, museums, lush green gardens, and regularly painted curbs or road markings.
On Ayade’s watch, however, Calabar has lost most of its shine and sheen; and the annual Christmas carnival lost a lot of its glow and draw before it was packed up for the second year running, for reasons the governor adduced to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quotes Governor Ayade as saying.
He adds that: “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.”
Governor Ayade adds that if Cross River must grow, it must go beyond being a civil service state with a salary mentality.
The governor has been widely criticized in Cross River for embarking on white elephant projects like “Spaghetti Highway,” “Calas-Vegas” etc, and for naming his annual budgets in grandiloquent fashion.