State Governor fails to show up for 2018 budget presentation in Cross River

Confusion trailed the presentation of 2018 budget in Cross River State on Tuesday as the State Governor, Prof Ben Ayade failed to show up at the State House of Assembly complex.

The state broadcasting corporation’s outside broadcast van (OBV) was stationed at the state House of Assembly ground, while members of the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) numbering about 100 lined up at the route to the assembly carrying placards with various inscriptions.

Some of the placards read: ‘Ayade, we support you, With Ayade no Cross River State child goes to bed hungry, Ayade the digital Governor’ and others.

Sadly, the presentation did not hold.

Members of the state House of Assembly, top government functionaries and invited guests were seen discussing the issue in low tone and left one after the other.

Reacting to a text message sent to him, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ben Ayade, Mr Christian Ita regretted the situation and said “There was no plan for Budget presentation today. The information about the presentation was wrong.”

But, Mrs Rosemary Archibong, Commissioner for Information and Orientation, said on phone that the Governor always presented his budget about this time.

“So, we wanted that budget to be presented, but we discovered that some aspects have not been captured, some MDAs, such as Food Bank, Green Sheriff etc were not captured in the 2018 budget.

“And at that point, the Special Adviser requested for time to put these things to order. That has been communicated to the Governor and he is supposed to be there but because of these shortcomings, it was deferred and you know we have up to December 31st to present the budget, there is no big deal.

“It is human error, if it was allowed, it would have created problem in future and we told the Governor that we are going to amend it and allow us some time which he obliged,” the commissioner stated.

But when the Speaker of the State House of Assembly was contacted, RT. Hon John Gaul Lebo, he said that there was technical hitches hence the presentation was postponed.

According to him, “the Special Adviser to the Governor on Budget is still putting the document together; we just resolved that if by 12 or 1pm, they are not ready, it should be put off and they should take their time.

“It is not the only time we have listened to Budget presentation late, there was one we listened by 10pm but this one has technical issue. They communicated to us in the morning; if they told us yesterday, we would have put it off but they communicated to us this morning.

“Some other issues came up which they have to accommodate in the budget, when they are ready, they will communicate us. It is not embarrassment, it is technical issue. You know, there is principle of separation of powers, but in the modern democratic system, it is now principle of cooperation of power.

“Usually, even before the Governor presents the budget, there is an EXCO resolution to that effect and then there is executive session between the Governor and the Speaker and others concerned. And of course, we had that meeting this morning and when we look at certain provisional requirements and observed the few things, the budget department has not put in place, we asked them to go back, it is better we do the right thing before the wrong thing, after all there is no time limit within which the budget can be presented”, he stated.


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