By Inyali Peter
Special Assistant on Prosecution to President Muhammadu Buhari and a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Barrister Okoi Obono-Obla has slammed the Cross River State House of Assembly for feigning ignorance to what he described as “serious constitutional misconduct” by the state governor, Senator Ben Ayade.
In a conversation with the Speaker, Hon. John Gaul Lebo which was made available to newsmen, Obla slammed the Assembly’s inability to perform her oversight functions by checkmating the excesses of the governor.
He quarrelled that many months after the 2016 Appropriation Bill was signed into law, Cross Riverians were still kept in the dark over the contents of the document which he alleged has given rise to indulgence of extra budgetary expenditure by the governor.
Obla, a Cross River born human rights activist, also frowned at the Assembly’s ineptitude and silence to the attitude of the governor’s younger brother, Frank Ayade who has been parading himself in the state in convoy with blaring sirens as the co-governor.
He cautioned that if the Assembly do not rise to her responsibilities, Cross Riverians would have no choice but to completely lose confidence in an institution that is supposed to represent the interest of the common man.
According to the text of the conversation, Obla asked: “Mr Speaker; where is the Cross River State Appropriation Law 2016? Mr Speaker, why is the Governor indulging in extra budgetary expenditure?
“Does extra budgetary expenditure not amount to a serious constitutional misconduct? Where was the House of Assembly when the Governor travelled abroad and stayed away for ten weeks without complying with relevant constitutional provisions?
“Why is Frank Ayade parading himself as co Governor? What better examples do I have to give to underscore my point that, the House of Assembly is a lame duck?
Responding according to the text, the Speaker said: “Thank you very much Chief, kindly obtain a copy of the 2016 Appropriation Law from the office of the S.A. Budget or Clerk of the House of Assembly.
“The House Committee on Finance and Appropriation is currently carrying out the first quarter oversight on the expenditure profile of the 2016 budget, the House was further dissolved into 5 sector committees with external consultants and select NGO’S, their report will guide the House.
“I will kindly direct the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Hon. Nelson Ofem to brief you extensively on the issues, coincidentally he represents your State Constituency, Yakurr 1.
“But, I appreciate your concerns, I assure you that the House of Assembly is doing a great job and we are open to suggestions and criticisms. If there are other issues of concern, we will address them through the Chairman on Information.”
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