The Cross River State wing of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has bombed the state House of Assembly as the absentee Governor Ben Ayade flew out of Nigeria again in search of investors to boost his administration’s ambitious industrialisation programme.
Concerned citizens of the state are however, worried that their governor lives more on air than in Calabar, the state capital.
This time, Governor Ayade jetted out leaving behind a renewed communal war between Obudu Local Government Area, his home local government area, and Vandeikya Local Government Area of Benue State. It has been a protracted communal inferno that is not in a hurry to subside.
However, the bomb blast on the state Assembly was dropped by the APC Vice Chairman for the Central Senatorial District, Cletus Obun, who without blinking his eyes bluntly accused the Legislative arm of the state government of being a rubber-stamp to Governor Ayade.
This is the second time the governor is jetting out of the country since his second term inauguration on May 29. This time, he is said to be in Germany. Two days after the May 29 event, he flew to Noeway. The governor left for Oslo in Norway where he was spotted at the NIMASA stand at a maritime trade fair in Norway.
Governor Ayade cut short his trip following a barrage of media reports castigating him for frolicking in Oslo when the rest of his colleagues were having a crucial security parley with President Muhammadu Buhari and security chiefs in Abuja.
The African Action Congress (AAC), an upcoming opposition party in the state also berated the governor for his incessant travels and urged him to stop travelling without telling his employers.
AAC said since the governor takes delight in travelling with public money, he must make public his travel plans by informing the electorate how much of their tax money his travel is gulping and the value the trips are adding to the economy of the state.
Disturbingly, the governor’s media handlers were not eager to disclose the details of their principal’s trip to Germany. Neither the Chief Press Secretary, Christian Ita, nor his deputy, Linus Obogo, was willing to talk to our local correspondent.
While the cost of the latest foreign trip is pegged at N75 million, there is a disturbing allegation that Governor Ayade is fond of compiling an extensive list of officials traveling with him, and that after the travel expenses are signed for and collected from the Accountant-General, he then handpicks a few of the officials from the list without returning the excess funds
This year alone, the governor’s foreign travels will cost the state as much as N1.4 billion.
Meanwhile, on the N5.00 billion loan approved by the Assembly to Governor Ayade, the obviously furious APC chieftain, Obun blasted the legislators, saying they will be held responsible for some of the wrongs in the state under Ayade.
According to jim, ‘’the system has to be checkmated, our Legislative and Executive arms of government must be held accountable even as the House started on a wrong footing. Cross River is already in a position of the third most indebted state in the federation and this record has been consistent since 2004 in spite of improved revenue accruable to the state coffers and state revenue.
‘’This new N5.00 billion loan approval by the House is one loan too many, it must be rejected and the people of Cross River must raise alarm because generation yet unborn will be the ones to repay. We are already aware that Tinapa is on the shelves for sale. The taxes of the people will be stressed; infrastructure decay will be a permanent feature in the future of Cross River.
‘’If we are getting loans it should be to revamp our rubber estates, Tinapa and other such venture, if not we must stop this loan and we must protest against it. Those agencies, organisation giving loans should beware because if the APC comes into power it will be written off as bad loan. If the loan was for the cocoa processing plant, rice mill or super highway it will be understood. Cross Riverians must rise up and not wait for any opposition party.
‘’Short term loans are collected for long term projects; it is synonymous with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River. Vicious cycle of loan collection was what the FG was avoiding by providing Paris club and bailout funds for pensioners and other things. Going to get a loan to pay pension is the most irresponsible thing that the government will do at this time,” he pointed out.’’