On the 29th May 2015, in a pomp ceremony held in the so called Calabar International Conference Center, the Honourable Chief Judge of the High Court of Cross River State, honourable Justice Okoi Ikpi Itam, administered the mandatory Oath of Office and Oath of Allegiance on Senator Ben Ayade to become the 4th elected Governor of the State.
Today is exactly 100 days since Governor Ben Ayade took the oaths and his subsequent assumption of office as Governor of the State.
Well I do not believe in the hype about three months or 100 days in office. In my opinion 100 days in office of the President or Governor is too unreasonable or unrealistic for anybody to use as the barometer to gauge or measure the performance or otherwise of anybody particularly in a third world environment where the government is confronted or grappling monumental developmental challenges. It is supposed to be a period of stock taking or shaping of the policy thrust or direction of the government that has just taken over the reins of political governance.
In this wise I will submit that the policy thrust of Governor Ayade is mired in uncertainty and confusion to me. What is the governor’s policy on education, justice sector, agriculture, job creation, social services etc?
Governor Ayade has told us about several signature projects that he intends to execute in his first tenure. We know that the price of crude oil has drastically slumped in the international market which caused a drop in the revenue allocation from the federation account for Cross River and other States in the country.
So in the face of dwindling revenue, I am at a complete loss on Ayade intending to fund the execution of these signature projects! If the government is entering into PPP or Build and Operate and Transfer, BOT, no foreign investor or even domestic investor would put his money down if he is not too sure he will recoup such investment. It is excellent to be ambitious but such ambition must be tampered with reality. Also the government of Cross River State is heavily indebted.
The domestic debt profile of Cross River State is about N110 billion. The external debt profile of the State is $110 million. The last regime in the State took a loan of N31 billion which it made an irrevocable standing order that entitles the Federal Ministry of Finance to deduct from its monthly statutory allocation N633, 134, 951. 92 (Six Hundred and Thirty Three Million, One Hundred and Thirty Four Thousand, Nine Hundred and Fifty One Naira, Ninety-two Kobo) every month for 84 months. So how can the government realistically execute all these multi million dollars projects?
I think the government should desist from embarking on white elephants projects or playing to the gallery. We have seen how elephant projects such as Tinapa and Calabar International Conference Center have worsen the economic woes of the State rather than improving it.
The governor is too overzealous or quick in making promises that are in reality not feasible. I call it grandstanding or playing to the gallery for the governor to suggest that he will build a superhighway or a garment factory in three months or 100 days. It is even frivolous to make such grand promises as if he is on the campaign trail.
The governor ought to know that it is practically impossible to construct a factory in three months. The garment factory is not provided for in the appropriation law of the State for 2015. So where is he getting the money to build the garment factory and other projects which he keeps promising every day? I am aware that the governor has not tabled a supplementary bill before the House of Assembly!
You cannot set up a garment factory corporation that requires an enabling law to be passed by the House of Assembly. I am also aware that the garment factory has not been incorporated either under the companies and allied matters act as a limited liability company.
So all this talk about garment factory is hot air calculated to impress other than a conscious effort to improve the economy of the State. It is almost one week to 100 days, we have not seen this much advertised factory other than pretentious effort to recruit staff which to me is putting the cart before the horse.
I wonder why the governor should even be contemplating building a government owned garment factory in this era of unbridled free enterprise when government intervention such as ownership of business is discouraged. Rather what governments do nowadays is to create a favourable environment for private business to thrive.
I think the governor is deceiving the people of the State. I also think that he should apologize to the people of the State.
Why are the courts in the State under lock and key since December 2014? Why is Governor Ayade pussy footing over the implementation of the agreement he reached with the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria, Cross River State Branch since July 2015 concerning the protracted industrial action by court workers in the State?
I had thought that Governor Ayade ought to have decisively dealt with the matter in his 100 days in office !
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