Wednesday, 13 February 2019

2019: Eyo Ekpo flays Ayade's Budget of 'Quabalistic Densification', Says Gov. ought to have been impeached

Kelvin Obambon|13 February 2019 

CALABAR —Governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party for the 2019 gubernatorial election in Cross River State, Barr. Eyo Ekpo, has flayed the 2019 Cross River State budget recently presented to the House of Assembly by the executive governor, Prof. Ben Ayade.

His position on the budget was made known on Monday in a press conference with journalists at his campaign office in Calabar, the state capital.

Describing the 2019 appropriation bill as the most wicked deceit and insult on the people of Cross River, Eyo Ekpo maintained that what governor Ayade did has subverted the constitution and that ought to have provided the basis for his impeachment.

He said, "the constitution requires that a proper budget be submitted, and when that budget is submitted, it is actually carried out to the letter" adding that, "last year a budget was delivered for 2018, none of the items on revenue and the expectations on expenditure have been fulfilled. And yet in 2019 the same act has been reenacted."

The former state attorney-general and commissioner for justice, who was flanked by his deputy governorship candidate, Engr. Wofai Ewa and other candidates vying for various political offices under the platform of the SDP, said governor Ben Ayade appeared before the State House of Assembly to make meaningless speech without submitting any tangible budget document to the legislature to deliberate and debate upon, as it is the practice globally. He stated that the budget presentation drama itself was a deliberate attempt to divert public attention from failures of the current administration.

His words: "the budget for the financial year 2019 which is meant to run from January 1st to December 31st that was mentioned by the governor is a complete sham. It is an act of the most wicked deceit against the people of Cross River State. What the governor sought to do with the drama he enacted was simply an act of diversion, an act designed to completely deceived the people and take their attention away from the failures of his administration; from the absence of substance to his government and the planlessness of his tenure so far.

"He stood before the House of Assembly and made very expansive and grandiose statements all of which ultimately did not have any meaning whatsoever. As a governor, when you go to the House of Assembly to deliver a budget speech, the people of the state expect you to present a document that contains a set of figures that explain to the people, through the House of Assembly, the expectations of your government for the year regarding revenue, expenditure and the items on which that expenditure is to be made - various recurring items such as salaries, overheads and cost of governance. Capital expenditure such as projects that would be embarked on.

"To deliver on the capital requirements of the people - the roads, the bridges, the schools, the health centres, the water ways, the economic activities the state would be engaged in - all these need to be explained as items of expenditure and put into a budget. A prepared statement that shows the respective line items on which capital and recurrent expenditures will be made. That is what a budget is supposed to be within the context of a clearly identified vision, a socio-economic development plan for the state that has been previously discussed and agreed with the people of Cross River State. That's what should have been done by the governor, but instead what he did was to go to the House of Assembly to desecrate the concept of governance by simply going there to talk, act and reenact the drama of diversion, a drama of digression, a drama of sheer insult to the people of Cross River State, a drama of insulting our intelligence.

"By this act, the governor exemplified everything he has done to the people of this state over the last four years which is basically to insult us. Nothing was submitted to the House of Assembly and so the question is: What will the House of Assembly debate, discuss and pass as a budget? Nothing. Cross River State has now become a laughing stock of Nigeria."

Similarly, Barr. Eyo Ekpo of the SDP while attending to question bothering on the rumour that he received one billion naira from the People's Democratic Party, PDP, in order to compromise on his governorship ambition, has described the allegation as a blatant lie which only exist in the figment of imagination of those peddling such rumour. He said his commitment to serve the people of Cross River is unwavering and cannot be equated with money, pointing out that he comes from a background with a pedigree for service.

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