• Governor not missing –Aide
Judex Okoro, Calabar
Lawyers and some senior citizens in Cross River State have raised the alarm over the long absence of Governor Ben Ayade from the state since first week of March 2018, fuelling speculations about his state of health.
Daily Sun investigation revealed Ayade had embarked on frequent foreign trips ostensibly to source for investors since assumption of office about three years now.
These frequent trips attracted scathing criticisms from cross section of Cross River state indigenes, who felt the lawmakers are not doing enough to checkmate the activities of the executive arm.
They described as unconstitutional and unfortunate that the governor should travel out of the state without permission from the House of Assembly. Expressing their displeasure that the state governor has grossly violated the constitution of the Federal Republic by not writing to and obtaining permission from the Assembly each time he travels out, some lawyers blamed the Assembly and described it as “a place where anything goes.”
A constitutional lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “I can tell that this is not the first time the governor has travelled outside the country without permission from the Assembly. There are procedures if the governor has to travel. The governor should have communicated to the speaker. I would not know if he complied with them this time, otherwise, it would be too wrong of him.
“Again, I blame the opposition parties which have failed in their responsibilities to check the excesses of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Imagine if President Muhammadu Buhari wants to travel, he communicates to the National Assembly and the media team issues press releases detailing presidency activities.”
Also speaking, Utum Eteng, a senior lawyer, said: “It is unconstitutional and unfortunate that the governor can behave as if nobody has seen the federal constitution.
“The Assembly has not done their work as it should be. They are more like a lame duck. They do not know their role. How can they keep quiet in the face of flagrant violation of the constitution. So much has gone wrong in the Cross River State Assembly.”
Lashing out at governor’s frequent trips, a senior citizen in the state, Chief Justine Agboor, said: “As the number one citizen of the state, his state of health should be of public knowledge. The people have the right to know where and when the governor goes. It is not legal, but moral right for the people to be kept abreast of what goes on or how their governor governs them.”
A community leader and public analyst in Obubra council, Madam Comfort Abeng, said: “Ayade has taken the state for granted too many times as the state’s resources wasted on these trips have not been justified.
In his reaction, Speaker John Gaul-Lebo, said: “The governor has not violated any constitutional provisions as he can only transmit to the House when he is going on annual leave or incapacitated.”
Also, Commissioner for Information, Mrs Rosemary Archibong, said: “It is wrong for the media to use the word whereabouts as if the governor was missing. The governor should be on his way back from his official trip to China and India where he signed business memorandum of understanding (MoU) and attracted more investments to the state.”