By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent
Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade has met with traditional rulers and the state’s elders council as part of activities to commemorate the state at 50 years following its creation on May 27, 1967 by the then military head of state.
Both meetings took place at the Peregrino Hall of the Governor’s lodge where he took time to lament the situation he is faced with as Governor where he has had to seek unconventional means to do everything he has done as a Governor.
“I sometimes wish I was not the Governor,” an emotional Ayade told the elders council led by the former Military Administrator of Kwara State, Colonel Pam Ogar (rtd) and pointed out that in the first quarter of 2017, less than NGN5billion came into the state coffers as federal allocation which meant only about NGN1.2billion came in monthly.
“Despite this, the wage bill is NGN5.1billion and if you take out the local government alone which is over NGN2billion and you see the allocation, I have to augment because it is not even enough,” Ayade said, adding that: “only God could have done better as I thank God I am Governor now because you must be something else to think the way I am thinking.”
Ayade lamented the endless petitions from Cross Riverians which has stifled some of his administration’s plans and explained again, his decision to enlarge Government.
“We have almost 4,000 appointees because I have to put food on the table for people to eat knowing that there is no private sector there and for the tourism which we choosed to go. Tourism cannot be the way out of our challenges as you need the purchasing power of which about 70 percent must be from the locals.
“As I pay this salaries knowing that it impacts on my people and as you go to pay transport, buy this from the market and buy that, somehow the money goes around and circulates,” Ayade said.
He berated the players in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry for resisting taxation despite been domiciled in the state and using the state’s infrastructure and said his decision to rescind on imposing the road maintenance levy, was so Cross Riverians do not suffer.
The event was attended by his Deputy, Professor Ivara Esu, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Honorable John Lebo, Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita and Secretary to the State Government, Barrister Tina Agbor.
The meeting with the traditional rulers had been shifted from Day 1 to Day 2, CrossRiverWatch gathered with the football match, logo unveiling yet to be carried out.
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