President Goodluck Jonathan was on Friday advised by former governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke to start developing his South-south region in demonstration of the truism that charity begins at home.
Duke stated this at the UJ.Esuene Stadium, during the PDP Presidential rally in Cross River State where he insisted that giving amentities to his people did not qualify as selfishness.
Duke who apparently spoke against the excuse advanced by Jonathan in Port Harcourt that the non-implementation of projects in the South-South region by his administration was an indication that he was not selfish.
Speaking at the rally, Duke said,”Mr. President, I join all others in welcoming your delegation to Cross River State. Today we come here to celebrate your victory, not to campaign.
“Now, when you return Mr. President, alongside all the wonderful things you have done for us, we will ask you for three things. Those things are within your ambits to do for us in Cross River State. Mr. President you promised me and you will fulfil this; all the lingering issues regarding our oil wells, we ask you for this. We deserve it; you must find the political solution to this thing for us Mr. President.
“The two others; I know they are in the works. The federal roads in Cross River State require your attention. The first road between us here and Akwa Ibom requires your attention. The road between here and Ogoja requires your attention. It takes five hours to get from one end of Cross River to the other. Now Mr. President, now that you have done terribly (well) abroad, you should come home. Thank you and I congratulate you”, he said.
Addressing the crowd at the stadium, Jonathan made no response to any of the demand but promised that if re-elected, his administration would ensure the construction of a railway line from Lagos to Obudu Ranch so as to attract traffic to the tourism facility. He also promised to extend the East-West Road to Calabar.
“God willing, when you send us back, we will sit down with you and look at the priorities of the state and how we would go about it,” Jonathan said.
In his remarks, Governor Lyel Imoke stated that the President didn’t need to campaign in Calabar because the state belonged to him as long as support for 2015 elections was concerned.
Imoke said the president did not need to come to the state to campaign as they were already completely behind him.
Before going to the venue of the rally, Jonathan inaugurated the Margaret Ekpo Airport by-pass, a 6.8km road with an interchange bridge, named after him, designed to ease vehicular traffic within and outside Calabar.
Speaking before inaugurating the road, the President said: “I am glad to be in Cross River State, a state that is entertaining Nigerians. That was why I selected your own, Chief Edem Duke to come and handle tourism at the centre because we saw what he was doing in Cross River.
“This is a great story which symbolises the vision of PDP, to create environment that will stimulate and help people in commerce and industry and social integration
“For the government and people of Cross River to notice that they need a bypass from the airport to divert traffic and decongest the city is indeed a visionary leadership”, he said.
He expressed gratitude to Imoke for the gesture done to him, saying, “I want to thank you very sincerely for immortalising me with the naming of this all important road after me.
“I pray that the day I will leave office, I will leave enough foot print that people will use in remembering me.”
In his remarks, Imoke said: “You have come back to where we believe is your strongest stronghold. You are a Cross Riverian. Today we have the privilege of you commissioning one of our very many projects by the grace of God in the state".
“It is an airport bypass road designed to bring out traffic out of the city. It is constructed through swamp and started 2011 and we are glad to complete this 6.8 kilometres road with an interchange bridge.
“This road will amongst others led to the creation of a new development area for house which we are complementing with the needed infrastructure
“This road has been named Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Bypass out of everything that you represent to us in Nigeria, but more particularly what you represent to Cross River State.”