By Joseph Odok
Cross River state has been greatly impoverished since Mr. Ayade Benedict assumed office as the governor of the state. Instead there is a cut in allowances and reduction in pay of political office holders and elected offices ranging from councillors, local government chairmen, and state legislators. Today the local government councils are growing weeds as the governor has not executed any project in any local government council nor is money provided for funding existing structures in any local government in the state.
The reality of cut in pay affects all MDAs in cross river state as overhead, allowances and monies for stationeries rarely been paid since Ayade’s assumption into office. Governance in cross river state works only in social media through announcement of one MOU or the other, advertisement and shortlisting of names for employment into one office or the other. All set dates for the take off of all projects have meet fulfilment only in the lips of hungry media aides; paid to do propaganda that gives ayade space to embezzle state’s money using the channel of Frank Ayade, the co governor of Cross River State.
One of the most underfunded yet sensitive area is the educational sector as government schools have been abandoned. The sole preoccupation of Ayade in the area of schools is the constant screening exercises that creates opportunity for Ayade’s aides to divert monies from discovered ghost workers with an understanding to share with the governor.
Revocation of Lands through Ayade’s in-law Dr. John Inyang also is a normal routine. This has recently made the radical and no nonsense cross river state commissioner for justice Barr Abang to threaten resignation if the illegalities are not checked. Barr Abang must have known the implications of such illegalities to the integrity of his professional. I think the intention of Ayade is to use his office to fraudulently get lands for his family using the office of his in-law the commissioner for Lands and Urban development.
There is also the removal of teaching allowances from Education inspectors deployed from secondary Education board to the inspectorate department of Cross River State Ministry of Education. The inspectors are supervisory teachers who move to schools to supervise and correct teachers in the classroom. The are placed on secondment and not given allowances besides their salary because of the extra job of supervision. It is rather shocking that the government of Ayade do not know that only a teacher can supervise a teacher. The teaching allowances of the inspectors deployed from the secondary schools has been removed on a flimsy excuse that they are receiving their salaries. This is pure blindness because these teachers are only on secondment. Presently, these inspectors cannot talk because of threat from the government even when the governor continually deny them of legal rights, they are intimidated to remain silent.
Recent revelations have shown that cross river state is not really as poor as presented by Ayade and more people now see the connection between the state of cross river state economy on Ayade’s assumption into office and the governor’s statement that cross river state is rich in potentials.
The government is yet to tell the citizens of cross river state what it has done with the huge income that has accrued to the state coffers since his assumption in office. It is on record that on assumption in office, the Cross River State rubber stamped legislators approved about 50 billion naira soft loan for Ayade. Liyel Imoke left about 12 billion naira: more than 6 bullion it got from GEJ for resettlement and compensation of the Bakassi indigenes and support for fund raising Liyel Imoke got from Revenue Mobilization and fiscal commission and some other donors for the completion of the international conference centre. The 7.8 billion Ayade got from federation government intervention funds. Monies that accrues from federation account and the increased internally generated revenue from multiple taxation and extortions from mobile courts.
Despite these huge funds that have acrued to the government, cross river state is in a backlog of debt: Pensioners are yet to be paid; the state and local government staff have not been promoted for more than 6 years; severance allowances of passed and present appointees have not been paid; no project has been executed and completed by the governor besides parades with MOUs and media propaganda.
The news of a possibility of the termination of Ayade’s government by Joe Agi seems to be celebrated by some people who have grown despondent of anything good coming from the Ayade’s government. Only time shall tell, but the liberation of cross river state seems nearer than ever contemplated