Judex Okoro, Calabar
Barely a week after inauguration of Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, for a second term in office, he has again travelled out of the country, fuelling speculation that he has abandoned the state.
This is the second time in about two months the governor has embarked on foreign trip.
The governor shortly after receiving his certificate of return from Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on March 29, travelled to German and Taiwan where he spent about three weeks and returned a few days to inauguration and then jetted out to Norway on Wednesday, May 5, for what he described as business trip.
In his first term, some senior citizens and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) stalwarts decried his many oversea trips at the expense of the state, calling on the House of Assembly to put a stop to it. During the inauguration on May 29, Ayade had stated that he is going to be a project manager rather than a governor as he would hand over governance of the state to his deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu.
A PDP chieftain, Chief Ededem Ededem Asuquo, expressed reservations at Governor Ayade’s policy of ruling the state from abroad without handing over to anybody to act while on trip outside the country.
Asuquo said it has become a rule rather than exception for a governor to be travelling at will instead of concentrating to work with the party and some stakeholders on how to form a government and move the state forward.
“It’s sad we have started on the same note as in 2015 when the governor spent quite some number of days abroad and signing memorandum of understanding (MoU) with foreign investors. We had expected that in this second coming, he ought to sit back and nurture all the projects he had initiated to fruition.”
Another PDP stalwart, who simply gave his name as Johnson Egba, said it is quite unfortunate that seven days after Ayade was inaugurated and promised to relocate to Ikom and later Bakassi to ensure completion of some key projects located at Ikom, Ogoja, Yala, Obudu and Bakassi, he has again travelled to Norway as posted on some government media platforms.
Egba, a party official at one of the local government areas and one of the coordinators during the last governorship election, wondered why Ayade could not settle down to govern the state rather globe-trotting in the name of seeking for investors.