By Patrick Obia
Following the mixed reactions trailing Governor Otu’s renovation of his office and other lodges liaison offices with the sum of five (5) billion Naira, concerned Cross Riverians have acknowledged the uproar and called for support for the governor.
In a statement signed by Hon. Eyo Nsa Ekpo Esq, Sir Maurice Effiwatt ksji, Hon. Victor Okon, Hon. Mrs. Ada Egwu, Prof. Emmanuel Eyo Esq., Rev. Hon. James Anam, Hon. Chief Ani Esin and Hon. Joe Etene Esq, and sighted by CrossRiverWatch, they averred that it is normal for Cross Riverians to react on the huge among especially in the Nation and State period of economic quagmire.
In the statement titled “Renovation of Governors Office, lodge liaison office; an urgent necessity or waste of public resources?” The group opined that no rational government in this era of accountability and transparency, will award a contract of 5 Billion Naira without budgetary provision being made for such major expenditure.
They however, enjoin Cross Riverians “to understand that His Excellency Senator Prince Bassey Edet Otu, in line with his “Peoples First” agenda, will invest robustly in vital and critical areas of need such as security, road rehabilitation and construction, education, health care.”
The statement reads: “On the 8th of September, 2023, His Excellency Senator Prince Bassey Edet Otu in a media parley in Calabar, stated that the Governor’s office Calabar, Governors Lodge, Liaison Offices in Abuja and Lagos are to undergo renovation for a projected or estimated sum of 5 Billion Naira.
“This statement has provoked public outcry and criticism as the plurality of opinion is that the State finances should be appropriated to other areas of critical needs other than that stated by the Governor.
“The opinion represented above, though not totally out of place, is welcomed and in line with the transparency promised by the current administration.
“It is however expedient for us to peruse and examine the context in which this projection was made by His Excellency.
“Firstly, it is important to note that no rational Government in this era of accountability and transparency, will award a contract of 5 Billion naira, without budgetary provision being made for such a major expenditure. It is on record that the first budget to be presented by this administration to the Cross River State House of Assembly is still undergoing preparation at this moment. The Assembly will perform its constitutional duty by appropriating monies for these renovations, without interference by the Executive Arm of Government.
“There is no doubt that these facilities listed by His Excellency and described as in need of urgent renovation, facelift, and furnishing, are the first point of contact for visitors and investors who desire to do official business with the State Government.
“In retrospect and as observers, a state that was once a tourist attraction in the country cannot neglect these iconic facilities. A visit to these facilities in their current condition speaks for itself, as they have deteriorated and are in dire need of renovation and furnishing, both internally and externally, and consequently a poor reflection of who we are as decent people.
“We appeal to Cross Riverians to understand that His Excellency Senator Prince Bassey Edet Otu, in line with his “peoples first” agenda, will invest robustly in vital and critical areas of need such as security, road rehabilitation, and construction, education, health care, etc., subject to due process, appropriate and transparent budgetary provision.”