Chiemeka ADINDU, Calabar
Issues bothering on how to make Obubra Local Government Area experience swift developmental growth formed the main thrust of the keynote address presented by Cross River State Chapter Chairman of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, NYCN Comrade Dan Obo Jnr, at the 2020 Obubra interdenominational thanksgiving service and summit.
Speaking on the topic, “The New Obubra Of Our Dream; Challenges and Prospects”, the youth president said he chose the topic because it is the focal point wherein lies the hope for socioeconomic and infrastructural development of a people. He extensively spoke on the areas of Economy, Agriculture, Leadership and Infrastructural Development.
He said: “the global economy is being adversely threatened, more worrisome is the fact that our state and particularly our Local Government has little or no economic input. A Local Government where the mainstream economic activity is farming (subsistence and non- mechanized farming), available statistics shows that an average Obubra man lives below $1 daily. The poverty rate is outrageously alarming.
“To set Obubra on the path of renaissance is to first empower the Obubra man socioeconomically as we have a lot of young minds in Obubra with excellent ideas and raw talents in dire need of economic empowerment. It is high time the leadership of Obubra began setting modalities towards revamping our economic output through robust innovations and incentives to farmers, indigenous artisans, and local businesses”.
Speaking on from the agricultural perspective he averred that the place of Agriculture in the socioeconomic advancement of Obubra can never be overemphasized. “Agriculture remains our area of comparative advantage and so we must leverage on what we have to advance the course of a New Obubra. With rice cultivation and Garri processing as the major agricultural activity of an average Obubra man, available statistics shows that the consumption of rice and garri has outweighed that of every other common food in any locality. Hence, rice especially has become a global product with its demand increasing by the day.
He added that, “as a young man growing up in Obubra, I remember with a feeling of nostalgia that Obubra was once revered as the Political Mecca of Cross River State, where every politician troop in to solicit for political support courtesy of the sterling leadership dexterity exhibited by our illustrious son of blessed memory, Chief John Oyom Okpa. Obubra became the epicenter of politics in the state with everyone running to solicit for our votes and support.
“This is the only Local Government that was once referred to as the Local Government with the JUMBO VOTE. Every politician tremble at the mention of Obubra. Today, things has fallen apart and regrettably the story has never been the same afterwards. Today, I am tempted to ask, “Who has bewitched Obubra? Is Obubra cursed or are we the Cause” These are rhetorical questions but we must live to answer them solemnly in our heart.
“I had painstakingly dwelled on the aspect of leadership because it is the sum total of the problem we face as a people in Obubra. It is therefore noteworthy to remind us once more that Obubra was once a district and administrative headquarters under the colonial Masters just like Ogoja Province, but today we see other local Government Areas developing with the speed of light while our dear Obubra remain in the cesspool of obscurity.
“How many functional hospitals, good roads, schools, markets, electricity network, factories and companies do we have in Obubra? Can we even boast of good water to drink? Can we proudly point at one factory in Obubra? Can we proudly say that Obubra is urbanized? In terms of infrastructural development can we proudly compare Obubra to any of her offspring Local Government Area?”
He however suggested for ways to ensure that Obubra develops to an enviable height. He said, “As we continuously clamour for a new Obubra, we must begin to build capacity in all fields of endeavors. We must as a matter of urgency through our House of Assembly members draw the attention of the state government to the issues of urbanization in Obubra.
“We must adopt a holistic developmental blueprint and successive government must learn to follow this blueprint regardless of whoever is at the helm of affairs. We must stop the politics of bitterness, betrayal and wickedness as a people.”