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Ayade more visionary than most African leaders —UNDP

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The United Nations Developed Project, UNDP, has hailed Cross River State governor, Senator Ben Ayade’s style of leadership, which it described as development-driven through the use of technology and innovation with a vision that transcends governance.

Governor Ben Ayade
UNDP Country Director, Mr. Samuel Bwalya, stated this in Calabar during a courtesy visit on the governor in his office where he also sued for improved areas of partnership beyond the United Nation’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, UN – REDD, programme.
Bwalya who said that he has been a follower of happenings in the state, noted that there was need to have “a broad vision to drive the transformation of any state in any country,” which according to him had been exemplified in the state as, “Cross River State is far ahead of

African countries in terms of broad vision, and your vision is very bold.
“There is a lot of transformation and whenever I talk about transformation, we are talking about technology and about the means of moving the economy forward. The use of technology and innovation to drive development is what we have seen in Cross River State and that it why Cross River State is succeeding in that direction as we have come to add value to what you are doing to enable you succeed the more.”

In his remarks, Ayade commended Mr. Bwalya’s bold moves in exploiting the core mandate of UNDP which is in forest management, and expanding it to include areas that will directly impact on the people, a philosophy, which he said was lacking in Africa.

He said, “The real development which is what United Nations has said today is the people. The indices for measurement of the performance of government are the happiness of the people, it is the sustainability, the inclusiveness of your policies and programmes, otherwise you would have failed. Any programme that is not people-centered has failed.”

“In Cross River, we have placed an absolute ban on deforestation and 80 percent of our citizens are forest dependent, they live in those forests but we have dislocated them from their dependence on those forest resources without providing for an alternative for them to be able to sustain their growth and survival.

“What you are currently doing is what we are implementing in Ethiopia and we are making effort to invite the Nigerian government over to (Ethiopia) to understudy what they are doing but I can tell you, Cross River is already far ahead,” Bwalya said, adding that “your policies transcend the borders of politics.”

“Cross River State is already succeeding in the area of industrialization which is extremely important to development, for poverty reduction and the creation of job opportunities.”
In his remarks, Ayade commended Mr. Bwalya’s bold moves in exploiting the core mandate of the UNDP which is in forest management, and expanding it to include areas that will directly impact on the people, a philosophy, which he said was lacking in Africa.

He said, “The real development which is what United Nations has said today is the people. The indices for measurement of the performance of government are the happiness of the people, it is the sustainability, the inclusiveness of your policies and programmes, otherwise you would have failed. And any programme that is not people-centered has failed.

“In Cross River, we have placed an absolute ban on deforestation and 80 percent of our citizens are forest dependent, they live in those forests but we have dislocated them from their dependence on those forest resources without providing for an alternative for them to be able to sustain their growth and survival.

“So, the issue of inclusiveness becomes a serious one. How can you therefore, deny somebody the luxury of benefitting from the natural resources abound to the person yet not providing an adequate bypass mechanism for survivability? Therefore, his children, his social dynamics and anthropology gets completely disjointed. You create a social distortion in society and now you have new wave of youth criminality, youth misadventure and you don’t know that it has a link to the poverty you have orchestrated on the family.

“So United Nations, focusing on these three thematic areas particularly in sluggish and development economy such as Nigeria gives you a clear understanding of the concept of UNDP,” Ayade said.

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