July 19, 2024

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The new face of Calabar: A transformation story

4 min read

By Nsa Gill

Welcome to Calabar, the capital city of Cross River State in the South-South geo-political zone and crude oil and gas-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria, Known for its rich history and cultural heritage, a reputation that faced the challenge of neglect and near abandonment in the recent past.

The current administration, under the leadership of Senator Bassey Edet Otu as Governor, within one year in office, has remedied the situation, and the city is regaining its long-cherished and enviable reputation.

There are remarkable transformations.

In the last year, the current administration fixed and rehabilitated many intra and inter-city roads. Commitment to urban renewal has been evident.

Government has taken up the rehabilitation, remodeling and redesigning of infrastructure.

The city’s roundabouts have received attention. The popular eleven-eleven roundabout now has a new stature. It is the Holy Bible. Artistically displayed with hand depicting the Bible opened to the particular verse that tells the reader, that God watches over the city. The design is modernised and allows the Bible to rotate geographically, according to wind movement and sunsets.

Calabar-Calabar rounabout is also receiving a facelift. Work is still ongoing.

The remodelling of the zone six roundabout divided interests, but the government went ahead, and replaced the monolith sculpture that was there, for about twenty years, with a sculpture of a good shepherd and the sheep, equally designed in modern technology that sees the shepherd turns at intervals to watch his sheep that cluster round him. The government has not made official statement about the  divided interests that greeted the change in the design option, but it is obvious that the government prefers the monoliths in the natural habitat scattered around the central senatorial districts of the state.

The Cross River state tourism bureau is still empowered to promote same, as one of the state tourism attractions, which the state is richly endowed.

Other public infrastructure like the governor’s office and government lodges, as well as offices, are also wearing a new look or work is ongoing.

The public water supplies have also been brought back, and the public taps are flowing, once again.

The present administration also inherited a situation where  Calabar was struggling with issues of cleanliness and  security concerns, but concerted efforts are being made by the state government and residents to revitalize and rejuvenate the beloved city.

Commissioner for Information in the state, Erasmus Ekpang, stated that the current administration recognised the need to address the challenges facing Calabar, and embarked on a comprehensive plan to transform the city.

He said: “Our focus Is on improving cleanliness, upgrading infrastructure, and enhancing security, in order to create a more livable and sustainable urban environment.”

Ekpang also noted that one of the most noticeable changes in Calabar is its newfound cleanliness.

He said: “The city’s streets are now free of litter and debris? Thanks to regular cleaning and waste management efforts. Beautification projects have also been implemented. Green spaces and public art installations that enhance the city’s aesthetic appeal are there for all to see.”

The Commissioner of Police, Cross River State Command, CP Gyogon Grimah, said “residents of the state, who have been here for some years, can testify of the level of improvement in security since the inception of the present administration.”

The police commissioner also hailed Governor Otu for the attention and support he has given to the security commands of the state.

He stated: “If we are sincere to ourselves, we should boldly say that we have a better Cross River State today.”

Grimah equally assured investors already in the state and intending ones, as well as all residents of Cross River state, that the entire security agencies in the state were collaboratively working round the clock to ensure that its pride of place as ‘the people’s paradise’ and most peaceful sub-national in the country remained intact.

A religious leader, Bishop Emmah Isong, who is the General Overseer of Christian Central Chapel International, while articulating his views on the new Cross River state, told journalists that the glowing reviews from the citizens and residents of the state were eloquent testimonies of the huge impact the present administration had made in barely a year in the reins of government.

Bishop Isong, who is also the National Spokesperson of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), noted that it was only logical to begin the ongoing infrastructural revolution in Calabar, the seat of government, then, as it presently is, cascade to other parts of the state.

On security, the eminent cleric maintained that the indices in the state had greatly improved, while declaring that it would be hypocrisy to say there were no minor issues of crime here and there, but added that attempts to discredit the government’s remarkable improvement in the security of lives and property, agriculture, infrastructure and other spheres were exaggerated conjectures.

The State Security Adviser, South, Patrick Odiong, outlined a grassroots’ strategy to combat crime, highlighting the importance of community involvement.

A traditional ruler,  His Royal Majesty, Prof. Itam Hogan, the Paramount Ruler of the Efuts, also offered his assessment of the current administration in one year.

The foremost monarch said: “I will want to take my assessment beyond infrastructure. The government has impacted on the people. The streetlights offer residents in some suburbs opportunity to stay outdoors at evening hours to enjoy natural fresh breeze.

“The people are optimistic about what the future holds. They believe if the government continues at the same pace, better and prosperous economy and society is guaranteed.”

Calabar is often referred to as the Canaan City, and sometimes, the Paradise City, but today, some may want to call it, the City of the Good Shepherd.

Nsa Gill, is the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Cross River State

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