Thursday, 22 March 2018

LEBO to IFERE : You're in a mental asylum, Speaker slams public policy analyst

Efio-Ita Nyok|22 March, 2018

The Speaker of the 8th Cross River State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. John Gaul Lebo recently replied the open letter of Mr Ifere Paul, an influential public policy analyst. Paul's open letter bordered on three topical subjects, to wit, Speaker Lebo's inability to investigate the arrest of Frank Ayade, the Illegal sale of land by the government of Cross river state, and 
the raving contract scandal in State Universal Basic Education Board. 

The Speaker has replied Paul through 11 points summarily describing Paul to be 'in a mental asylum'. Hmmm! This must be serious! Excerpts of both letters :


Thanks very much for remembering to wish the Speaker of Cross River State House of Assembly a happy birthday.  On behalf of his media team, I thank you. 
Having taken a few minutes to read through your usual mental dry run about events in Cross River State, it has become necessary to reply as follows: 

1. It is obvious that your persistent mental asylum has truly become a sabbatical, since we don't know how long it will take you to revert to reality; we will patiently continue to pray for your quick recovery. 

2. Your Open letter to the Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly raised just three arguable issues: 
i. The Speaker's inability to investigate the arrest of Frank Ayade.
ii. Illegal sale of land.
iii. Contract scandal in State Universal Basic Education Board. 

3. It is often the case with political contractors and mentally challenged Analyst like you to expect that, the office of Speaker is a spiritual entity possessed with the powers to reorder nature without constitutional or statutory coordinates.

4. Permit me to briefly afford you a "moment of Lucid Interval" and draw your attention to the following facts: 
(a) The House of Assembly is established under Section 90 of the Constitution 
(b) The Office of the Speaker is a constitutional creation under Section 92 of the Constitution.
(c) The power of the House of Assembly is provided under Section 100 of the Constitution. 

The Speaker is first of all, a member of the House of Assembly, first among equals and the presiding officer of the House of Assembly as provided for under Section 95 of the Constitution. 

The Speaker does not exercise any special powers beyond the powers of the House of Assembly as provided for under Section 100 of the Constitution; and it is the power of the entire members of the house.  This is why the speaker cannot sit without a quorum and cannot raise any issue suo motu. 

The powers of the House of Assembly are to make Laws for the good governance of the state and carry out relevant oversight responsibility. 

5. The power of the House of Assembly to conduct Investigations is also provided under Section 128 of the Constitution, and the  powers of the Assembly thereto is with respect to matters which it has powers to make Laws and relates to anyone charged the duty of responsibility. 

6. Unlike the EFCC, the powers of the House of Assembly to investigate fiscal issues as provided under Section 125 of the Constitution, which confer extensive powers on the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Assembly to consider Public Accounts statement submitted by the Auditor General of the state to the House of Assembly at end of every fiscal year. And 'Accounts' here refer to audited statement of accounts of MDA'S and public officers. 

7. By the provisions of Section 101 of the Constitution, the House of Assembly has powers to regulate its own procedures by Rules of the House. And under the House rules of the Cross River State House of Assembly, every allegation that requires investigation must be presented through petitions or motions addressed to the House of Assembly. 

8. Under the Constitution, there is NO relationship between the House of Assembly and the EFCC, as the report of the public accounts is legally referred to the Attorney General of the state for prosecution or recovery through the State Revenue Court. 

9. We are amused at your lawless imagination that the Speaker of the House of Assembly doubles as a mysterious monk ordained with magical powers of crime investigation, financial Crime Agent, prosecutor and the judiciary; Where is your coordinate of elementary subject of Government? 

10. It is very shocking and unfortunately regrettable that you used certain words like "disgusting, failure and disgrace" on social media to address the Speaker. Obviously, you urgently require a mental fumigation of your mind-set and the contrived sense of "suicide intelligence" often exhibited by you. 

11. Hon Elocate Ekom's seat was declared vacant in accordance with Section 109 (1) (g) which provides that: 
"...A member of the house of ASSEMBLY shall vacate his seat if (g)  Being a person whose election to the House of Assembly was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that house was elected. .." 

12. Interestingly, you are a member of the ruling APC and one of its social media activists, but, I assume that you are speaking for yourself here. However, I can understand that you are personally trying to recover from an intellectual recession and humongous serial deficit of value orientation, coupled with an appalling lack of public manners. 

We pray the Almighty God to grant you a period of moral epiphany and a recovery space to return from your asylum. 

Azogor Ideba
Chief Press Secretary, 
Office of the Speaker, Cross River State House of Assembly
20th March 2018 


A Letter To John Gaul. 

Dear John Gaul Lebo, 

First of all, let me join the world to congratulate you for reaching another milestone in your years on earth. Recently, you celebrated your birthday. It is the blessing of God that has seen to your many years on earth, and I pray for more years for you. Amen! 

Hon John, God may have blessed the day you were born. He set you up for greatness. And has kept pushing you for many successive glorious. 

I was in China when you were elected into the Cross River State House of Assembly. I mean your first tenure of 2011. I have looked at you as one of the most blessed young men from Abi LGA. In fact, 2011 elections sent many young people into the Cross River State HoA. While in that assembly, your name kept repeating and reverberating due to your sterling leadership qualities then. 

In 2015, l kept mute about your re-election campaign because I thought to myself that it will be great to have someone like you as speaker of the house of assembly. One with the experience to command the respect that comes with that office. I thought as a young man, we'll be seeing an emerging youth leader that would lead the central senatorial district to a more cohesive district whose ambition will send fears to the spins of our common enemies. But I was wrong. 

You became a puppet to be used by a non official co-governor. You sold off your conscience that you may be favored against the pains of your assembly members. You were fed full with greed, and disappointed the many masses that depended on the assembly house to bring bills that will ease their pains and pittance. You sat down and folded your arms as Frank Ayade pillaged our commonwealth. For you, the little bribes that came your way so often, are enough as long as your quest to remain perpetually relevant in the polity is assured. 

Mr Speaker, I don't want to sound characteristically immodest of my usual self. But you are the most depressing and disgusting speaker in the South-South, if not the entire country.  

Not only did you oversee the passage of some of the most ridiculous bills in Nigeria, you also watered graft and planted the tree of corruption. Sir, until date, your house and its members has never thought it wise to set up a committee to investigate many of the elephants projects dotting the Cross River State budgets. You and your members never thought it necessary to investigate the arrest of Frank Ayade (the co-governor) in 2016 by EFCC  in the misappropriation of 2.7 billion naira bailout funds. 

You have never thought it necessary to set up a committee to investigate the contract scandals in SUBEB, where many of the contracts were awarded to the first family and their cronies. 

How about the illegal sale of plots of land inside the water board. Well, how can you set up a committee to investigate what many of you in the assembly benefited from? How about the colored water supplied to the public, or the lack of it? Until the African Development Bank and World Bank sent their auditors to audit water board, what was the assembly doing? Mr Speaker, you're just a big disgrace. 

It is alarming that you people are busy running around sourcing for help to free Frank Ayade from his arrest by the EFCC once again, rather than question the source of the 20 Million Dollars he was arrested with. isn't it time we begin to question and ask for purposeful leadership? Why do you turn yourself and the entire house of assembly into rubber stamps? 

Mr John Gaul, I was reading about your achievements that included passing the bill to promote and protect hawking in Cross River State. It is ridiculous to pass a hawking bill to law and call it achievement. 

Mr Speaker, there are so many projects in the 2016 and 2017 budget that are not even started but whose allocations have been paid to their contractors. These contractors are still within the first family, and the house of assembly is not asking questions. 

It is sad that retirees from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, etc, are still walloping in poverty. Many of these senior citizens are suffering from life threatening illnesses and ailments. So many  cannot afford common pain killers. The HoA has not been able to ask the Governor or relevant authorities charged with their payments questions even as the State has received three consecutive bailouts for the sole purpose of paying these retirees. 

Over the years, Sir, you have become more of a-sir-yes-sir man. Everything passes through the house of assembly with ease, so long as a few naira have entered your account as against the accounts of your members. 

Rather than protect your members, you have joined forces with the executive to work against your members. In so many instances, you did so because you were told by Frank Ayade. It is wrong to team up with the executive to oust Hon Elucate Ekom for defecting to the opposition. That was tyrannical of you. 

Mr Speaker, in some other instances, you teamed up with the executive to deny your members their legit allowances. Your members work in the harshest of conditions. No water to flush common toilets, no light because the Governor will not pay for the diesel. Same apply to the living conditions and living quarters of your members. How about their welfare? Car allowances? Furniture allowances? Refurbishing and repairs of assembly members quarters? It is sad that some of your members are living with snakes, lizards, scorpions, and other creepy creatures in their houses. 

You are a failed speaker and a failed politician. To believe that the Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency will find you worthy to elect you to represent them in the FHoR is to believe that the Ostrich will hatch a hamster from her egg.  

However, you have a little time to show Cross Riverians that you'll stop scooping them for your relevance. You have a little time left to do the right and the needful. Stop being a rubber stamp. 

Thank you so much for finding time to read through this. 

Be assured of my warm regards. 

My name is Ifere Paul.

The arguments articulated by the duo are compelling. To be quite honest, there seem to be validity at either sides of the pole. However, I will leave the reader to draw his/her conclusions independently. Let me suspend my 'intellectual midwifery' responsibilities as Blogger-in-Chief. Hmmm! 

Efio-Ita Nyok 
Is the Blogger-in-Chief, Editor-in-Chief & Publisher of NegroidHaven 

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