Governor Ben Ayade of Cross-River state in Nigeria is consolidating his efforts in transforming the economy of his state and capacity of future leaders by partnering with international experts and development partners who were received in the Government House on Wednesday.
Governor Ayade described the Delegation as one of the most reliable teams of institutional investors he had come across in his several travels overseas to woo foreign investors and development partners.
“I want to make it clear that in my several travels overseas, I’ve gone round the world seeking opportunities to get in investors to join hands with us to build the cross-river of our dreams. In this process however, I’ve had opportunity to meet several people and one most reliable team I have met in recent times is this Schools Company in UK.
“This company we met just about two weeks ago in the United Kingdom and every single step we have set out to achieve, they have accomplished and have beaten the deadline. It is obvious and very clear to me that it is the right company to partner with,” the governor said.
Members of the Delegation included Mr. Elias Achilleos and Heinrich Zimmermann of Schools Company, Mr. Ani Wellington, CEO of Falcon Group; Barr Osita Oparaugo, Managing Director of Footprint to Africa and other members of their team.
Also present where the State’s Deputy Governor Prof Ivara Esu, Members of the Governor’s cabinet and prominent business leader Mr. Sani Dangote, Vice President of the Dangote Industries, described by Gov Ayade as one of those core business persons who appreciate the investment opportunities in the state.
“They come as technical partners and also as institutional investors. Recall that I have made a strong commitment that we are going to build an international school of world class standard and that was what took me to Canada when I had long sessions with the Canadian bureau for international education that also led me to meeting with this team in the UK; which is also the world class standard that teaches, learns, manage, drive and operate schools in the UK.
“So we are bringing the best combination of British/Canadian experience to set up a British-Canadian International School here in Cross-River and will be located in Obudu.
Ayade stressed that the school will be an international school of world class standards, digital in all perspective and will allow the students to have an international exposure even while in Nigeria as it will be equipped with a virtual training opportunity to allow students interface with children in other climes of the world.
“Interestingly Mr. Elias and his team are all professional teachers who have risen to the pinnacle of their teaching career in the United Kingdom and therefore coming to pass all of that experience and skill to us and we are preparing a new set of young skilled Cross-Riverians who will be taking up from us at digital level that will of course become the future leaders of Africa,” he enthused.
He commended all the partners for the progress and work done already stressing that : “I have seen that once we have a dream, somehow, somewhere God will bring somebody to bring that dream to reality particularly if it is beaconed on morality or the sense and fear of God.”
He also announced that beyond the scope that was provided for in terms of establishing an international school, the team will also set up a first of its kind in Nigeria which is the Royal Academy of Construction and Fabrication to serve Nigerians and Africans.
In his remarks Mr Elias Achilleos of Schools Company disclosed that advanced stages in the design of the schools have been reached.
He noted that the project is in tandem with their background as teachers in the UK and leadership in schools and schools improvement especially improving the chances of young people.
“Thank you for inviting us to Calabar and the nation’s paradise which is Cross-River state, thank you also for meeting us in London to discuss these projects that we are really excited and about to develop here in Calabar.
“We are eager to commence the development of the schools: which will be affiliated to our Bureau of International Education and our International Teacher Training College in the UK. The Royal Academy of Fabrication and Construction will be affiliated to our Royal Academy of Fabrication and Construction Ltd, UK.
“In the next 5-6 weeks there is quite a lot of work to be done on ground in conjunction with consultants here to look at the land and get ready for the construction teams to come on-site to begin the projects.
“This is an opportunity for all of us working with His Excellency in developing young people to have the best opportunities to become the best leaders in Africa and globally with these institutions which we believe will be the best that will ever be on offer,” he said.
He disclosed that the schools will have the correct environment including temperature and climate suitable for people from all over the globe and will enable young people to achieve great things and be the best that they can be.
Barr Oparaugo, the MD of Footprint to Africa, a development partner in the state’s investment drive and promotion, disclosed that the production of a documentary to further showcase Cross-River state as an investment destination of choice was in the works and when completed will complement the Governors efforts and vision in building new partnerships with foreign investors and development partners.
“We are working closely with about five investors presently, we’ve gotten a solar energy company that we are in negotiation with to come into Cross-River state to do a pilot of 10 megawatts solar energy and we also agreed with the governor to have an investment documentary that will showcase the opportunities in Cross-River to the world.
“I am from Nigeria and I know for sure that this is the most peaceful state in the country and we should start from here to show foreign investors that they are at home when they come here and that from here it is easier to access the Nigerian market and indeed the 340million West African market.
Oparaugo pledged to continuously work with his Excellency to bring the right investors to Cross River state.