30th September, 2011
Cross River State has commenced discussions with officials of Maryland State in the United States of America with the aim of entering into the Maryland Sister States Partnership Programme geared towards promoting business relationships, cultural exchanges and creating global initiatives between the two states.
The first meeting between officials of the two states on the criteria for the partnership took place recently at the Office of the Secretary of State of Maryland, Hon. John P. McDonough, with the Deputy Secretary of State, Rajan Natarajan and Ms. Mendy Nistch in attendance while the Cross River delegation to the discussions included Mr. Patrick Ugbe, Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Dr. Ikpeme Ben Ebong, Special Assistant to Governor Liyel Imoke on Diaspora Matters; Dr, Effem Imoke, Dr. Cheryl A. Hill of Integrity International Consulting Group, Mr. James Cooper, Ms. Regyna Cooper, Chief Executive Officer of Maxser Consulting Group and some Cross River Stateâ€™s Diaspora Committee members.
Cross River State located in a coastal zone like Maryland has a rich history and culture that naturally connects it with the Maryland State in particular and the United States of America as a whole. â€
Mr. Patrick Ugbe, who was at the head of the stateâ€™s delegation, described the Marylandâ€™s Sister States Partnership as a laudable initiative imbued with lots of benefits, adding; â€œMarylandâ€™s rich culture complements Cross River Stateâ€™s culture and will provide valuable technical assistance to several initiatives that His Excellency has instituted for Cross River State and her people. I had an opportunity to tour the Banneker Douglas Museum and saw how the Slave Trade experience was replicated, I was amazed at the similarity of thought as Cross Riverâ€™s Slave History Museum is parallel to the Banneker Douglas Museum,â€ Ugbe added.
The Maryland Sister States Programme was established in 1980 to provide a platform for the promotion of international cooperation and understanding among like-mind states through citizens participation in wide variety of exchanges in areas of mutual interest.Cross River State has a long rich history of closer ties with the United States of America, and the Maryland State in particular, which has made the two states to share a lot in common.
Governor Liyel Imoke is an alumnus of the University of Maryland College Park, where he obtained his Bachelorâ€™s Degree in International Relations and Economics in 1982.Other states in Nigeria seeking to be part of the Maryland Sister States programme include Lagos, Ondo, Osun, Kano, Anambra, Imo, and Rivers.
The programme currently has 10 active sister states relationships around the world including Anhui Province in China, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan; Gyeongsengnam-Do, South Korea; City of Saint Petersburg, Russia; Jalisco, Mexico; Lodz Region, Poland; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Bong and Maryland Counties, Liberia.
â€”Emma Una/ Calabar