By Ogar Monday; House of Assembly Correspondent
The Cross River State House of Assembly has asked aides of Governor Ben Ayade to acknowledge the supervisory role of the commissioners of the various ministries they belong to.
There are 27 commissioners and almost all have fallen out with Special Advisers, Special Assistants and Boards Chairmen in their sectors at least once since their inauguration in November 2015.
Most notable has been that of the Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development and the chairman of the state sports commission, Special Advisers and Special Assistants on Youth Affairs and Youth Mobilization.
The Commissioner for Health and the Director General of the State Primary Health Care Development Agency are almost always at loggerheads with indirect altercations reported in recent past.
This is said to be caused by the misunderstanding over their roles as there are claims the agency is independent and extra ministerial while others think the ministry superintends over the agency and all decisions should go through the commissioner.
Other squabbles include the Commissioner for Transport and the Director General of the Commercial Transport Regulatory Agency CTRA and Special Adviser, Department of Public Transportation DOPT.
The Commissioner for Tourism and the Tourism Bureau head, Special Adviser Ranch Affairs and the Special Assistants in the office of the Special Adviser Governor’s office and Events Management.
The Commissioner for New Cities and the New Cities Development Board. The Commissioner for Agriculture and the Special Advisers on Banana, Cocoa and Cotton plantations as well as the Rice company management board among others.
Also, the Commissioner for information is said to be at loggerheads sometimes with the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ayade.
Also said to be at loggerheads is the Commissioner for ICT and the Special Assistant on ICT, Commissioner for Power and the DG of the Rural Electrification Agency, Commissioner for Women Affairs and Special Adviser, Women Affairs who incidentally is the immediate past commissioner in the ministry.
But the Assembly said that the infighting and bickering between the various appointees of government is unnecessary and selfish, as none of the battles in anyway benefits Cross River State.
These observation and comments were made by the members when the Public Accounts Committee of the House read the report on “The Crisis Trailing the Management of Cocoa Estates in the State.”
Reading the report, the Member representing Obudu State Constituency, Honorable Steven Ukpukpen averred that there is a “lack of proper understanding of or deliberately fail to acknowledge the supervisory role of a commissioner in charge of a ministry in relation to their roles,” adding that: “It is inappropriate for this category of government appointees to try to function independent of the commissioner.”
He continued: “A ministry headed by a commissioner aggregates the broader policy thrust of government on specific areas of governance. Departments and agencies perform specialized technical duties to achieve overall policy objective of a ministry.
“The commissioner performs the coordinating role of ensuring uniformity in policy implementation. Referring issues specific to a department or agency to the commissioner in charge of the supervising ministry will not in any way compromise the authority of the department as long as there is proper role awareness.”
Adding his voice to the debate, the leader of the House and Member representing Obanlikwu State Constituency, Honorable Moses Ucheche stated that the Governor in his magnanimity had seen the need to expand the government to accommodate more persons, but it seems some of the appointees in their selfish interest are engaging in ego fights to the detriment of the government and people of the state.
On his part, the Speaker, Honorable John Lebo, said there is a need for the State Planning Commission to quickly come out with the mandate of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies to finally put a rest to the lingering crisis.
CrossRiverWatch’s Ushang Ewa contributed to this report
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