The Obong of Calabar, Edidem Expo Okon Abasi, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to restore the historical significance of the city
This was even the President, who received in audience today, October 17, the royal father at the presidential Villa, Abuja , acknowledged that the City had lost its preeminent status as the first capital city of Southern Nigeria to Lagos.
The Obong of Calabar expressed worry over what he called “disregard and neglect of the Calabar Kingdom in spite of its national historical significance.”
He appealed for the reversal of the “demotion” of the Kingdom with the government executing projects such as roads, power, maritime access, security and border issues.
He also wanted the government to address the plights of displaced persons from the Bakassi Islands.
The royal father congratulated President Buhari on what he described his “overwhelming victory” in the February election and at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
Obong emphasized the need for the Buhari’s government to restore Calabar to what it lost to Lagos and Abuja.
Responding, President promised to look into the request for the restoration of Calabar to its glorious historic point, assuring that his government will not lessen ongoing efforts to open the City to the rest of Nigeria.
He said that his government will increase the efforts to ensure happiness and betterment of the people of the City in particular and Cross River State in general.
“We will open up that part of Nigeria to the rest of the country,” President Buhari assured, adding that a number of projects are being executed by the Federal Government in the State.
According to him, “three road projects –Calabar-Ugep-Ikom-Ogoja; Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene and Sapele-Ewu – are at various stages of completion.”
The President noted that in order to speed up work on the Calabar-Ugep-Ikom-Ogoja road, plans are underway to incorporate it in the Sukuk Bond to increase the level of funding of the construction work.
He assured that dredging of the Calabar harbour will be undertaken as soon as some legal issues are settled by the Ministry of Transportation and the Nigerian Ports Authority with the contractor.
President Buhari pledged full support to the Calabar Deep Sea Port project of the State, adding that a number of electricity projects would soon follow after a visit to the State by the Ministers of Power in the upcoming two weeks.
The President enumerated other projects in the State being undertaken by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs such as the Industrial Park which is one of the three set up through the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board.
Buhari noted the construction of roads and water projects by the Niger Delta Development Commission; the development of a Skills Acquisition Centre for youths; and the construction of houses among others.