By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent
There was a brief moment of emotions as Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade broke down in tears after signing the NGN1.3 trillion 2018 budget of “kinetic crystallization” into law Tuesday in Calabar.
Mr. Ayade who had asked his Special Adviser on religious matters, Reverend Father Bob Etta to lead a prayer session to ensure that God grants the arrogance of the hope placed on him to ensure the implementation of the record breaking budget which, broke down in tears after the prayers which forced his announcer, Mr. Effiong Ekpenyong to direct the protocol team to play the state song and national anthem to signify the end of the event.
The governor in his remarks had said that the risk of presenting such a huge budget was anchored on his firm believe that Cross Riverians and mankind in general will benefit tremendously.
He said that: “Indeed this is the first budget in the history of Nigeria where a state will be given a budget in the neighborhood of a trillion. This is the first over a trillion budget in the annals of history. It is historic, it is unique. It is an ambiguous expression of the mood of the people of Cross River State; a deep understanding of the economics and politics of governance and sluggish economy which was properly captured by the Speaker in his eloquent presentation of the philosophy of the budget.”
He continued: “We are determined with very clear ambitions with clear timelines, with clear performance indicators that will measure for us what we are expected to achieve. We are not driven by the politics of the time. We are driven by the pain, the hunger, the agony of our people. We are driven by the ambition to change their story and that is why in the desperation of that ambition, we are mistaken to be excited young people in office.
“Truly, if you look at our achievement in two years so far in clarity of thought, consistency of focus that creates a vortex that will shock the world. Today as I sign this budget into law, we are certain that within two years plus, we have completed and secured the entire approvals of the superhighway.”
Earlier, the speaker of the Cross River House of Assembly, Honorable John Lebo (PDP Abi) in his remarks averred that the House committee on appropriation had done a good job as the estimates were properly scrutinized.
The speaker who said the budget was designed to reach the basic international benchmarks, said it went through “extensive engagements” between the committee and the over 201 MDAs to ensure it comes out clear knowing that: “The cumulative sum total of articulation between the budget of deep vision and infinite transposition will be crystallized in 2018.”
He said that with the elections close by, it was pertinent that the administration performs to ensure that all the projects become crystal clear to the people.
“We are going into the election year and it is critical that we deliver on all our ideas and vision in such a way that it becomes crystal clear to our people that all the articulations from the first day of evaluation, May 29, 2015 to catapult Cross River State, decouple it from federation allocation and give us an ambition that is beyond the size of our budget and that they become crystallized,” Lebo said.
Also, Mr. Lebo posited that the budget when viewed from the perspective of the intellect in governance and the quality therein, it will be clear there is a prosperity agenda therein.
“The capacity and quality of intellect in Cross River State led by you; quantify it in terms of cash and in terms of expenditure put together has made it in such a way that there is a prosperity agenda that is captured in the 2018 budget of 1.3 trillion,” Lebo said.
Furthermore, he averred that: “We present that budget before you with the hope that with the support of our various members with the power conferred on them by section 122 of the constitution, members have carried out very rigorous oversight responsibility to also ensure that the budget will be crystallized not just in terms of amount but also in terms of deepness of democracy and development of constituencies.”
Mr. Ayade had shocked many when he presented a budget estimate of NGN1.3 trillion on November 30, 2017 and despite mixed reactions trailing the figure, the House of Assembly passed the budget with almost no alteration a few weeks ago.
This is the first time he has broken tradition after signing the NGN301 billion 2016 budget of “Deep Vision” and NGN701 billion budget of “Infinite Transposition” in the months of February of the said years.
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