By Archibong Jeremiah
Ahead of tomorrow’s protest against bad governance, police brutality, poor state of roads, crippling state of the judicial and a host of others, Ben Ayade, Governor of Cross River State has shivered.
The Governor who recently was referred to as “poto poto governor” by some indegenes of the State through a release by his Press Secretary, Christian Ita said, “His Excellency, Ben Ayade will Monday, October 19th, 2020, swear-in a new acting Chief Judge of the State.”
After engaging the National Judicial Council (NJC) in an eye for an eye battle which has lasted for over six months, Governor Ayade sheathed his sword and bowed. Ayade said the appointment of the acting Chief Judge “follows the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC).
“The event will take place at the Executive Council Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Calabar at 8am. All are to be seated before the arrival of the Governor.”
Barrister James Ibor, lawyer and rights activist took to social media and said, “we want a Chief Judge, we have a ten list demand. He has attempted to do one but we’re not stopping, we shall exercise our constitutional right to match the street of Calabar.
“Our demands are: Immediate reinstatement of all civil servants delisted from the Cross River State Government payroll since September, 2020 including payment of arrears of their salaries and the payrolling of all civil servants duly engaged by the Civil Service Commission and the Judicial Service Commission but yet to be payrolled.
“To work with the National Judicial Council and the Cross River State House of Assembly to facilitate the prompt appointment of a substantive Chief Judge of Cross River State.
“To commence immediate payment of gratuities to all retirees since 2014 till date.
“Immediate appointment of a substantive Vice Chancellor for the Cross River State University of Technology (CRUTECH).
“To immediately declare a state of emergency on potholes and commit to repairing/fixing all major and internal roads within the Calabar metropolis.
“Immediate revitalisation of the health sector in the State including primary healthcare and refurbishing of all general hospitals in Cross River State.
“Immediate revitalisation of the Cross River State Water Board for efficiency and improved service delivery, including steady water supply of at least 5 days per week, and setting up a Mobile Court to promptly try defaulting customers.
“Immediate revitalisation of the Cross River State Garment Factory and mandating all public schools in the State too sew their student uniforms from the Garment Factory at subsidised/affordable rates.
“Immediately repair/fix all traffic lights and street lights in Calabar. And to immediately desist from pilfering with Local Government funds and commit to allowing the democratically elected local government administration in the State to function unhindered.”
On his part, Comrade Ken Henshaw, Executive Secretary of We The People, an NGO implementing ‘Reclaim Our Civic Space Project” in partnership with CrossRiverWatch said the Government is trying to play a fast one.
According to him, “the modernity of Cross River State which has been built over time has been destroyed by the current Government.
“Denying Justice Akon Ikpeme her rightful place on ethnic basis is ethically, gender and constitutionally wrong.
“Ayade owes the people of Cross River apology for taking us backwards, we’re stopping at nothing but carrying out our planned constitutional exercise.”
Our newsroom reliably gathered that Justice Eyo Effiom Ita is the one Ayade intends to swear-in as acting Chief Judge.
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