As part of activities marking the 2014 Independence Day celebration, the Cross River State Government, honoured four outstanding citizens who have distinguished themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour and subsequently contributed to the development of the CRS.
At the Peregrino Banquet Hall, Governor’s Lodge, Calabar, venue of the occasion, state governor, Liyel Imoke, asserted that, “Today is very important to me, that we honour our sons and daughters who have distinguished themselves in their chosen endeavours”.
Justifying the conferment of the awards on the beneficiaries, the governor maintained that “with the evolution of the society and with our experience in governance, we thought there was need for us to understand the essence of merit, bring it back and try to place it at the centre of our governance processes”.
He lamented the celebration of mediocrity in place of merit, insisting that as long as excellence and merit are relegated to the back seat, society cannot get the full value out of those who strive for excellence.
“Merit has become so secondary that anything else is more important than merit. Today, education, qualification and capacity have now become secondary. The failure to recognize merit in our society has done such a great disservice to our people and development … What we now celebrate with due respect, in many instances is mediocrity. We celebrate ethnicity, we have become ethnic champions. We represent our communities, our ethnic group before we represent Cross River State” he further lamented.
Imoke made it clear that “this award was not based on a man-know-man process, rather, the public was requested to send in nominations. Yet we did not get the anticipated response. This was due largely to the fact that the public is losing confidence in government because they don’t believe we can actually do anything right on the basis of merit.”
His Excellency also used the occasion to re-echo his plan to zone the next governorship to the Northern Senatorial part of the State added, “Today, as we transit, we are going to transit to a new governor who will address you next October 1, 2015. That new Governor will come from the Northern Senatorial District of the State. That new Governor will have the task to sustain and to build. We have tried to unite our people, to get them understand that we have a common destiny. That also must be sustained.”
Responding on behalf of the four recipients; Owali Ilem, for his Industry, Etetim Etim Asuquo, Humanitarian Service, Wilfred Oden Inah, Public Service and Arikpo Bassey Arikpo, in Education, an elated Arikpo said they were proud to be Cross Riverians, stressing that, “this is a State where merit is indeed recognized. We feel exceedingly humbled that the efforts we were making quietly, even privately, were being watched by the public”.He thanked the State Government for deeming them fit for the prestigious award.
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