Otu: Investing in Human Capital Development in Cross River
By Rasheed Olanrewaju
Fulfilling campaign promises to the people is one character trait that very few politicians have. And one of these few politicians is the Cross River State Governor, Senator Prince Bassey Edet Otu.
This can be gleaned from his every step thus far.
For Otu, keeping fidelity to promises is not novel. As a member of the National Assembly, first as a House of Representatives member and later Senator, he kept faith with his constituents; fulfilling all his campaign promises.
He took on unprecedented empowerment programs ever single-handedly instituted by any politician in Cross River State.
Fast forward to the 2023 gubernatorial election campaigns, Senator Otu was emphatic that human capital development would be the fulcrum of the Peoples’ First Agenda of his administration, pledging to establish a ministry to that effect.
His words: “I pioneered an empowerment program that has continued to reverberate across the State without a budget. That is why in the coming administration which we will lead, we will create a Ministry of Human Capital Development so that we can deliberately develop our young people and best hands.”
He went on to promise: “I shall focus more on human capital development to drive home development and eradicate poverty troubling our people… We will continue to build, to strengthen our youths both in terms of capacity, wisdom, experience, and knowledge to take our state to the next level.”
In keeping with his promise, Governor Otu has created the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment, Ministry of Livestock, Aquaculture and Fisheries as well as the Ministry of Human Capital and Entrepreneurial Development.
Added to this are many other life-changing interventions in critical sectors of the Cross River economy which he has so far undertaken and aimed at ending poverty, strengthening and expanding the socio-economic capacity of the people.
The whole gamut of these interventions approximates practical steps in building or entrenching human capacity in the state. Notedly, Governor Otu’s pre-election pledge to prioritize human capital development, if elected is being crystalized.
For Cross River of Tomorrow where young people are effectively empowered and equipped economically, socially, and intellectually to be in the driver’s seat of their destiny, the Ministry of Human Capital and Entrepreneurial Development is the icing on the cake!
With the ministry in place, the Otu-led administration deftly sets sight on harnessing, for their economic growth and well-being, the creative and entrepreneurial potentials of Cross River youths.
Similarly, the establishment of the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment fits into the Governor’s desire to arm the teeming Cross River youths with gainful economic ventures through empowerment schemes thus making political appointments less attractive.
The same goes for the Ministry of Livestock, Aquaculture and Fisheries which is expected to leverage the untapped Livestock and fish production potentials of Cross River, especially in the coastal and rainforest belts of the state, to create entrepreneurial schemes and grow the economy.
Far-sighted and imbued with the requisite political and leadership experience needed to meet the people’s expectations, Governor Otu is focused on sustaining, expanding and developing the economic potentials of Cross River by getting the people involved in creating an enduring economy and thus liberating the state from over dependence on federal allocation.
The Governor is irrevocably committed to building and strengthening Cross River youths in human capital development, changing the people’s lives, and making the state a model that other states would want to copy.
To also broaden the horizon and frontiers of knowledge, the Cross River state’s number one citizen has put machinery in motion to get the state-owned library reconstructed as a center of knowledge pivotal to growth and development and also for human resources development to meet the modern global practice.
A pro-people leader, Governor Otu understands that human capital development plays a critical role in addressing poverty while ensuring participatory and sustainable economic growth.
His philosophy about human capital development finds amity with the author of the thought-provoking book,” Definitive Guide to Thriving on Disruption,” Rogers Spitz’s argument that “Human capital is without a doubt the most important intangible asset to develop, and will continue to be”.
Otu’s advocacy for human capital development is not a recent or novel phenomenon. As a federal lawmaker, he was a strong voice for societal empowerment and human capital development as evidenced by the nature of the bills he sponsored, including the Nigeria Local Content Bill, the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act (Amendment) Bill, Petroleum Production and Distribution (Anti-Sabotage) among others.
He is on the cusp of making Cross River great by creating prosperity for Cross Riverians. However, the people’s continuous and sustained support for the administration as their part in the shared responsibility of pulling the state from the third to the first world economy is essential to bringing Governor Otu’s noble and lofty dream for our dear state to fruition.
Rasheed Olanrewaju Zubair is the Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Governor Bassey Otu