Governor Ben Ayade made a startling revelation on Channels Television the other day; when he took over the reins of government in 2015, he inherited a whopping debt of N328 billion!!!! Governor Ayade also said that his only take home from the monthly allocation from the Federation account is N1. 8 billion.
The abysmal allocation Governor Ayade gets every month from the federation account is because the previous PDP government in Cross River State has signed an irrevocable letter of credit with a financial institution it was indebted to, which permits it to collect almost every allocation meant for the State from source coming from the monthly allocation from the Federation accounts.
With the meager resources at the disposal of Governor Ayade, I have been wondering how he has been able to manage the affairs of the State these past six years! So I commend him for his resourcefulness and astute management so far. Let the truth be told.
I recollected in 2014, I raised this said issue in social media, but as usual with our State, nobody was interested. We like playing the ostrich on account of ourselves. Nobody wants to rock the boat.
The elites of the State are so fixated with enjoying patronage from every government in power. I also cried to high heavens in the 2000s when Governor Donald Duke took a lot of loans after a compromised House of Assembly gave him the nod to collect loans to build the so-called Tinapa. I went to the extent of challenging the resolution passed by the Cross River State House of Assembly, approving Governor Duke in Court.
However, the case was frustrated by the Court after I won an appeal against the State over a ruling made by the High Court that Barrister Mba Ukweni SAN to join the case as an interested party cannot be added to the case as a co-plaintiff. After my appeal was allowed by the Court of appeal, it ordered that another Judge should hear the case of the High Court, but the order was never implemented.
I wanted the High Court to pronounce the legality of Governor Duke collecting loans to execute projects such as Tinapa and Obudu Ranch Resort without appropriating these monies as stipulated by the Constitution.
So if you are a governor and inherit such a huge debt profile?; what will you do? I sympathize with Governor Ayade. The same people who want us to believe that he is doing nothing are the people who mortgaged our State. It is time for us to demand from them an explanation. They should tell how us what projects they executed with these loans!!
–By Barrister Okoi OBONO-OBLA