One time Head of the Civil Service, Cross River State, Wilfred Oden Inah, says Udoakaha Jacob Esuene, Military Governor of South Eastern State between May 1967 to July 1975, remains the best governor Cross River State ever had because of the level of infrastructure he meticulously identified and developed for the state.
Inah who spoke with www.calitown.com earlier today, on the heels of current activities marking the 50th anniversary of Cross River State, pointed to the development of State Housing Estate, construction of Calabar/Ikom highway, building of the College of Technology (now CRUTECH), Cultural Centre, Calabar, U.J. Esuene stadium, among others. Particularly, he disclosed that “when Esuene was appointed to administer this state, he was 31. But he did something that I consider very clever; he called the likes of Michael Ani and a few others and admitted to them that he had no civil administrative experience and begged them to teach him how to administer this state. This was humility, something you do not find in the leaders we have today. Of course the persons he appealed to worked sincerely with him and you can see that sincerity in the visible landmarks Esuene’s administration left behind”.
On the University of Calabar, he informed that “…between taking up part ownership of the African Continental Bank, ACB, and that of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, Esuene and his team picked the latter and drove the processes that gave birth to UNN, Calabar campus. Today that campus is the University of Calabar, visible till tomorrow; I ask you, where is ACB today? Until some other person comes some day and surpasses what Esuene has done, I say firmly that he is the best governor ever produced by thiis state”
Put to task on the size of Esuene’s cabinet, hear him; “…they were 12 in number and they achieved a lot. Today in Cross River State, we have a large pool of appointees and I think you can see for yourself what they have achieved” he concluded.
Available records show that Esuene was the first governor after the state was formed in May 1967, immediately The South Eastern Region was carved out of the Eastern Region. An airforce officer, he lost his commission in 1975 after Murtala Muhammed dismissed him from the military, a dismissal that was reversed during the Ibrahim Babangida administration with benefits from 1975. He died in 1993.
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