Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River has inaugurated the newly-built secretariat of the state’s branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
He also pledged to sponsor 300 pilgrims to the holy land this year.
Inaugurating the secretariat on Monday in Calabar, Ayade said that the association had contributed greatly towards the development of the state.
He said that the association had given him immense support in his second term victory, adding that the association was also at the fore front of ensuring peaceful, free and fair polls in the state.
The governor, who received an award as `Friend of CAN,’ promised to redeem his pledge of donating five plots of land, a 32-seater bus and a sport utility vehicle to the association.
“It is my honour to be part of this event today to commission this secretariat. CAN has contributed a lot to the development of this state.
“In view of that, CAN should be ready with a list of political appointments in my second term.
“I wish to call on the association to join hands with me in industrialising the state for economic growth.
“My first term appointment was food on the table but my second term will be hands on the plough because every appointee must bring on board ideas that will move the state forward,’’ Ayade said.
The Chairman of CAN in the state, Archbishop Joseph Ukpo, said that CAN was the largest ecumenical body in Nigeria and that it came into existence in 1976, noting that the state’s chapter had been without a secretariat for many years.
Ukpo said that with the benevolence of the state governor, the inauguration of the secretariat had marked a milestone in the progress and development of CAN in the state.
“As an association, we can achieve greater things together when we prioritise the common good of the association and strive to make sacrifices for the development of this ecumenical body.’’
The archbishop appealed to the governor to redeem the pledge made to the association speedily, to help them plan for the 2019 pilgrimage.
Also speaking, the Special Adviser to Ayade on Religious Affairs, Rev. Fr. Bob Etta, thanked the governor for his support to the association.
Etta assured Ayade that the Christian community would continue to pray for the smooth running of his administration in its bid to develop the state.