By Archibong Jeremiah
On May 5 2017, the then Chairman, Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission (CROSIEC) Dr. Mike Ushie in a press release communicated the Government’s decision to suspend the Local Government elections in the State.
The election which was slated for April 27 2017 – July 25 2019 has since then become topical in and out of the State.
The Speaker of the 9th Assembly in Cross River State, Hon. Eteng Jonah Williams weeks after his emergence called for the conduct of Local Government elections in the State.
In December 12 2016, the then Special Adviser Inter Party Affairs to Senator Ben Ayade, Cross River State Governor, Mr. Austin Ibok disclosed that the State Government requires a minimum of six billion naira for it to conduct Local Government election and that as a result of unavailability of funds, that has delayed the election and the Government is aiming at constituting a transition Committee.
Ibok made the statement while speaking on a radio program “The Dialogue with Agba Jalingo” on Hit 95.9 FM Calabar and monitored by CrossRiverWatch.
November 8 2017, political parties in Cross River State threatened to sue the State Governor Senator Ben Ayade, if Local Government elections fail to hold in December, 2017 as promised.
The disclosure was made by the then State Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) Chairman, Mr. Sunday Michael who is currently the State Chairman, Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP).
CrossRiverWatch investigation has revealed that in 2018 and 2019 Local Government election was budgeted for which is contrary to the Ayade’s Government’s claim that lack of funds is responsible for suspending the election for over four years.
According to the Cross River State Chart of Account 2019, General Administration, Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission, 2019 budget:
N1,567,230,251.19 was approved in 2019 budget while N357,230,251.19 was approved for 2018.
N1,500,000,000 was approved miscellaneous capital items in 2019 for conduct of LG elections while N10,000,000.00 was approved for CROSIEC building renovation.
The miscellaneous capital items in 2018 is N295,000,000.00 for conduct of LG elections while N5,000,000.00 approved for CROSIEC building renovation.
See budget extract exclusive to CrossRiverWatch;
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