The governor said he was not unmindful of the enormous work before him.
Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River has said that the government would require ₦54 billion to settle over seven years of promotion arrears of civil servants in the state.
Otu made this known in his inaugural address as the 18th Governor of Cross River on Monday in Calabar.
He said that the administration would restructure the huge debt it inherited and implement a very realistic budget throughout its tenure.
Otu expressed his desire to hit the ground running as he is in a hurry to improve the living standard of the people.
The governor who said he has a strategic road map to guide his actions, promised to stamp out criminality in the state.
“We are excited to be here at a time like this; for champions are made in trying moments.
“We are confident and determined to restructure our huge debt stock while strengthening our fiscal posture.
“We hope to engage with the labour unions dispassionately on the feasible and sustainable paths for dealing with our depleting civil service, given that over 75% of our manpower will be retiring before December 2024.
“The same worrisome narrative applies to backlog of staff promotion with corresponding severance burden in excess of ₦54 billion.”
He emphasised that safety, peaceful coexistence and security would be the major pillars of the administration.
“For the few who take pride in criminality, there shall be no hiding place and only two options are on the table: turn a new leaf within our upcoming amnesty window or vacate Cross River State without delay.
“Our administration shall have zero tolerance for criminality in whatever form or shade.
“We shall expand our footprint on total healthcare and education spending per capita.
“We will curb gender-based violence and institutionalise Cross River as the cleanest, greenest and safest in our country.
“The state will be given an immediate facelift through critical infrastructural repairs, clearing of waterways, trimming of overgrown trees, repainting and refuse evacuation.
“Security confidence will be strengthened by greater illumination of the streets, monitoring crime flashpoints and creating welfare synergies with security operatives, community leaders and hidden security watches for maximum impact.”
While assuring that nobody will be discriminated against irrespective of party affiliation, the governor pledged to carry everybody along.
“This government will bear no insignia of discrimination in belief, origin or gender.
“Women and men, young and old, educated and non-educated will be carried along and treated as equal before the law.
“I reiterate that I joined politics to provide service to humanity and nothing more,” Otu stated.
The governor said he was not unmindful of the enormous work before him and pledged to deploy his legislative experience and creative convictions in humanity to succeed.
“It is not lost on us the enormous work that must be done and the weight of built up-expectations.
“Therefore we shall manage time effectively to rewrite the trajectory of our corporate aspirations in line with our collective dreams in divine destiny,” he said.
The new governor announced a plan to seek a review of the Bakassi issue.
“We shall further engage the Federal Government and international community to review the obnoxious judgments against us.
“With the aim of creating relief in the pains accruing to the loss of Bakassi and the ceding of our 76 oil wells as well as streamline our boundaries to minimise communal crisis,” he added.
Otu called for Federal Government support in the effort to make Cross River a paradise for Marine, Aviation and Defence.