By Richard Ndoma, Leadership Newspaper
Immediate past governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade, has taken a swipe at Governor Bassey Otu’s media aide, Emmanuel Ogbeche, over allegations that the state was badly managed during his administration
Ogbeche, the chief press secretary to the governor, had accused Ayade of misgovernance and that it would require the support and collaboration of all to put things in order.
Speaking during an interactive session with members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Calabar on Monday, Ogbeche claimed that little or no records were kept during Ayade’s administration, adding that approvals on matters bordering on governance were issued via WhatsApp.
“Otu inherited a rundown state, it was so badly rundown. There is no record of anything; approvals were given on WhatsApp. It will require a lot to turn the state around and thank God we have a capable and listening governor who is ready to provide the needed leadership,” the CPS alleged.
Reacting to the allegations of lack of transparency against him, the former governor, in a statement issued by his media office, said he was not surprised at Ogbeche’s outburst, noting that the CPS is a PDP mole planted to create bad blood in the APC-led administration.
In the statement, Ayade warned Ogbeche against causing disaffection among APC members in the state, just as he reminded him that he is a beneficiary of his wise decision of ensuring Governor Otu’s victory at the 2023 governorship poll in the state.
The statement signed by his media aide, Egbelo Edward, noted: “Former Governor Ayade and Gov. Otu share a very cordial relationship that has lasted for years, dating back to their years as lawmakers in the National Assembly.
“It is important for Mr. Ogbeche and his co-travelers to note that such a statement will be misinterpreted as a rift between Gov. Otu and his immediate predecessor, His Excellency, Prof. Ben Ayade.
“We are not unaware of Mr. Ogbeche’s long-standing romance with the PDP, therefore, it is now imperative to state emphatically that Mr. Ogbeche is a PDP agent sent to cause disaffection among members of the APC in Cross River State.
“We advise Ogbeche to tread carefully and respect the existing peace and harmony amongst members of the APC family in Cross River State.
“Governor Ayade gave his all to ensure Gov. Bassey Otu emerged victorious in the last gubernatorial election, so, Mr. Ogbeche is a beneficiary of Gov. Ayade’s wise decision and shouldn’t be acting like a fifth columnist.”
Ayade denied granting government approval via WhatsApp or any social media channel.
In this regard, the statement said, “Appointees of the Ayade administration are still alive and can bear testimony to the rigorous procedure of securing government approvals.
“Every approval, including major land allocations, compulsorily passed through the scrutiny of the Executive Council, Due Process and Audit before getting to the final nod of Governor Ayade.”