by crossriverwatch admin
Cross River State Acting Governor, Mr. Efiok Cobham on February 12, 2013 promised that his boss, Liyel Imoke, is not in a life threatening condition and will be back to the State by the end of that week or latest in the following week.
This assurance came at a time the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties, CNPP, in the state had threatened a court action should the governor not return within two weeks.
Governor Imoke has been out of the country for one hundred and fourteen days today, for a medical trip in Ellicott City, Maryland, United States of America having left the country on November 6, 2012.
Speaking while answering questions at the town hall meeting to mark the end of the National Good Governance Tour in the State, the Acting Governor, Efiok Cobham said, “Though the governor is in Maryland for medical reasons, he is not in any life threatening condition. Yes! The governor is in Maryland. Any moment from now he will return. There is no secret about his whereabouts. Last December, I had cause to address the elders forum of this state and it was one of the platforms that I felt was necessary for me to clear all doubts about the whereabouts of the governor. If he does not return this weekend, he will definitely do so next week.”
It is now over two weeks since that definite assurance was given and governor Imoke is still not back.
The CNPP which also threatened to go to Court if the governor does not return in two weeks time has also not moved beyond merely giving the threat though the two weeks ultimatum has since elapsed.
In an interview with crossriverwatch on February 12, 2013, Mr. Cletus Obun the Cross River State Chairman of CNPP said, “It is over ninety days now, the state is comatose, the state is grounded. And we are very petrified that no one wants to ask questions. We will go to court to seek an order of mandamus to compel the House to perform its duty and get this acting governor, in real sense to act as a governor. There are a lot of things this acting governor cannot do. He cannot for example issue releases. He cannot give approvals on capital projects. Even on elementary matters of current expenditures, ministries are virtually grounded. So we will go to court and compel the House, and make it a pronouncement of a competent court, to demand that the House of Assembly empowers, if they cannot, the Court will compel them to empower the Acting Governor to act as a real governor. We have the option of going to Court, we have the option of also occupying Calabar.
“At the moment we are doing our investigation to know the true state of things. To know the hospital the governor is and his true state of health. They have done it in Enugu and Taraba and we want to borrow a leaf from them. We are using our own linkages and contacts to see how we get all these information. By the time that is done hopefully by the end of this month, I can give you the next two weeks, we would have established all these details and if we confirm that the governor will not return soon, due to serious or terminal illness, the acting governor should be adequately empowered to act in the real sense of the word. It is over ninety days and we cannot continue in this uncertainty, we are working hard and in the next two weeks, we will go to court and make sure that the illness of one person does not bring the state on her knees”.
But the two weeks have since elapsed and neither the Acting Governor’s promise of Imoke’s return nor the threat of Court action by CNPP came to pass.
Our findings from government sources reveal that officials are as much in the dark as the public, about the governor’s state of health and when he will be coming back.
A top government official who spoke with crossriverwatch in confidence said: “We don’t know what to say again. We keep saying he will be back next week end and several next week ends have come and gone and all of us are even confused now. The Speaker just returned from his visit to see the governor and the story is not different from what we have been hearing that the governor is fine. But if he is fine, why has he not returned to begin work? I really don’t know for how long we can sustain this veil.”
Most of the opposition figures who are mainly from the central and northern senatorial districts are also shy of saying anything that may be perceived as anti Imoke as that may be misconceived as supporting the Acting Governor bearing in mind Imoke’s promise to get a successor from the northern senatorial district.
While the confusion, calculations and speculations persist, several critical sectors are suffering from the absence of the governor including a pending N2b grant for farmers which the facility facilitators insist only the executive governor can sign.
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