Governor Ben Ayade Locks SSG, Government House Staff Out For Lateness.

Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade on Wednesday locked the Secretary to the State Government, Barr. Tina Agbor and other staff in governors office out of the government house over lateness to work.

The Governor who was said to have arrived office at about 7Am was angry when he noticed that only his spokesman, Christian Ita was in the office.

Infuriated by the situation, Ayade ordered security agents to lock all entrances to the government house warning that nobody should be allowed in.

It would be recalled that in June 2015, Ayade locked out staff that came after 8AM which is the official resumption time for civil servants.

The Deputy Governor, Professor Ivara Esu who arrived at about 8AM was however allowed in without hesitation.

Although the gates were eventually opened at 9AM for some senior staff and top government officials, at the time of filing this report, some Civil servants, security aides and other appointees were still kept out by stern looking security operatives in the Governor’s convoy.

A staff in the Governor’s office who spoke in confidence slammed the over what he described as “overzealousness” by the governor.

The worker said that “According to civil and public service laws, work resumes officially by 8Am. We don’t understand why the governor decided to come to office earlier than usual today and locked all of us out.

“Personally, I was not late. I arrived herefew minutes before 8Am. That is even before the deputy governor came. Seriously, I think Ayade is just being unnecessarily overzealous with his ‘show-body’. The position has entered his head too much that he does things at times without thinking of what others feel”.

Asked whether there was any circular that workers should resume work before time on Wednesday, he said that “There was no information to that effect. May be the governor derives pleasure in embarrassing people. He should know that most people have been here and are familiar with how things works”.

FG accuses Cross River of misappropriating N19b bailout fund

The Federal Government has accused the Cross River State government of misappropriating N19billion, which was given to it as bailout fund to pay salaries and pension.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Prosecutions, Okoi Obono-Obla, told The Guardian on Tuesday that “the president had bailed the state out twice but the funds were not judiciously used?”

He explained that the Federal Government gave N7.8billion to the state in July 2016 and another N11.5billion in December to settle all outstanding indebtedness.

Also, the National Vice Chairman (South-South) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ntufam Hilliard Eta, urged the governor to explain how the bailout fund and the Paris Club debt were spent, since they were loans.

He appealed to the governor to invest in infrastructure that would benefit the masses, adding that the state’s position during the public hearing organised by the Senate, showed lack of accountability.

The state Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), John Ushie, had, last week, threatened to go on strike to compel the governor to pay them their entitlements.

But, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor and Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Christian Ita denied that the fund was misappropriated.He said: “What Obono-Obla is doing is personal pursuit of a narrow interest. The delay at the local councils level had to do with technical hitches in the process of bio-verification.

“We are aware that while some people have not earned their salaries for up to six months, others had been paid up to March 2016. So it is not a question of lack of money but that of trying to address the technical challenges.

“Government had raised an inter-ministerial panel, mandating commissioners to go to local councils to supervise the exercise. As soon as it is completed, everybody would be paid,” he said.

Governor Ayade, Huawei Hold Technical Session On Calabar Smart City Project.

The Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade and the management team of Information Communication Technology (ICT) giant, Huawei have held the first technical session on the Calabar Smart City Project.

This is following a recent meeting that led to the  signing of a contract with the Chinese firm to make Calabar the first smart city in Nigeria .

Accompanied by some of his commissioners and special advisers, governor Ayade met with the Huawei team at their global headquarters in China.

The agenda of the meeting was centered on the design of the Calabar Smart City Project.

During the signing of the contract, Ayade stated that “The project will ensure that for the first time in the country, data would be provided from the cloud.

“With this digital cloud, it will offer opportunity to get information with ease and comfort, including boosting research and academic works”.

The project is in partnership with Huawei of China, the equipment manufacturer, with Sino Infrastructure Development Company Limited as the technical partner in Nigeria for the project.

Speaking further the governor maintained that, “This partnership will provide cheap access to connectivity, also Cross River residents will know that Huawei is bringing the best technology to us. They are a known name in the world and a pace setter in the industry. Cross River deserves only the best which they have to offer”.

The excited governor who looks forward to the speedy realization of this dream further stated that, “The whole state is going digital as the Cross River super highway will have super-connectivity, where all the best internet and technology services will be offered to users of the super highway. This will be the first fully smart city in Nigeria. Cross River will be the model for Africa and we are proud to be associated with this”.

Part of the deal is not only providing 3G and 4G network connectivity but also fiber to homes, which will afford the opportunity to download music, news, movies and even research materials.

Ayade’s Exemption of Low Income Earners From Taxes : Illusion or Reality? – By Inyali Peter

Lucius Annaeus Seneca said “A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer”. For the intention of Governor Ben Ayade to exempt low income earners from taxes, I say kudos to the governor. It only takes a leader with courage to harbour such intentions amidst the lean financial position of the state.

Cross River state receives almost the smallest allocation from the federal government. Over the past few years, what has been the major source of revenue generation for the state has been taxation. So for the governor to think of exempting low income earners from taxes is a rare but a welcome development.

However, while I am a student of Seneca school of thought that intention is more important than what is given, this philosophy as it is cannot be applicable in all cases. Yes! The governor may have good intentions by attempting to introduce this policy, but making it a reality may be more important that having a mere intention.

This is because, the news which broke out today is not the first time the governor has announced this. In fact, this news is coming a year after the governor first made the pronouncement. Last year, around this time, during a media parley with Journalists, the governor pronounced a tax free policy for the same category of persons. But after the pronouncement, it was like the governor awoken a sleeping lion. The 100 marian  boys, DOPT and different tax agencies unleashed the highest terror on people without recourse to the policy. Worst still was the fact that, the governor feigned ignorance that low income earners were still being taxed.

Throughout the year, taxation of these people went unabated. There was even this case where DOPT officers manhandled a taxi driver for failing to pay for a ticket. Some journalists with human minds reported the story and instead of the governor to react, that was when he approved the appointment of 130 officers (although on pages of newspapers) for DOPT.

No doubt, the governor made an efforts to make this a reality by sending a bill to the state house of assembly to give it a legal backing, unfortunately, the bill died on arrival. I may not have the accurate information on why the bill didn’t go through, but it was widely rumoured that such policy would need to under go scrutiny by relevant federal tax agencies. The federal agencies would need to review the country’s tax system to accommodate this.

This means that the governor don’t have such right to unilaterally abolish taxes for low income earners. Hence, my suspicion that this second pronouncement is more an illusion than reality. This is so because, after the government failed in the previous attempt, there would have been proper consultation to have this new policy backed by law.

Perhaps, illusive pronouncements like this is not new to Cross Riverians as this administration is known for starting, completing and effecting policies and projects only on the media. The government lacks proper coordination and planning for anything. The administration is more interested in impressing the populace than impacting on them.

While this may be one of the best policies of any government in recent times, policy like this would not only have negative effects on the state revenue but also the local government. This is the more reason why there would have been a robust consultation with stakeholders at all levels before going to the media again. Some local government, for instance, the Calabar South and Calabar Municipality survive majorly on revenue from this source. So it will be difficult for councils to comply with this “decree” when there is no law backing it or alternative source of revenue generation for them.

If the government is serious in this second missionary journey of tax exemption, there should be a follow up to media pronouncement by consulting widely with all interested groups.

Also, the government should do well by ensuring it is backed up by law. And unofficial tax collectors like Police, Road safely, Civil Defence, VIO and other security agencies should be carefully and critically monitored because the largesse low income earners especially the cab drivers pay to them in most cases is even more than official taxes.

Until these issues are addressed, the policy remains an illusion for the governor to score cheap political cards.

Inyali Peter

Mixed reaction as speculations of Ben Ayade defecting to APC rises.

The Supreme Court on Friday affirmed Prof. Ben Ayade  of the Peoples Democratic Party as the governor of Cross River state.

Joe Agi, also of the PDP, had asked the court to sack Ayade over false declaration of age but the apex court justices held that Agi could not prove the allegation against the governor.

However, remember that Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has met with bigwigs of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) recently.

The meeting, which started during the thanksgiving ceremony organised by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani, in Calabar, was believed to have focused on the governor’s political future.

A former senate leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, a former minister of defence and presidential aspirant, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, governors Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, who graced the occasion, were said to have convinced Ayade to leave the PDP for the APC.

Later, Ayade drove with them and other top military brass that also graced the event in large numbers to an undisclosed location where Okorocha and other APC leaders were said to have got his firm commitment.

Speculations have been rife over Ayade’s secret ambition to cross over to the APC, having hobnobbed with key national leaders of the party few months after he was sworn in.

He has also been showering encomiums on President Muhammadu Buhari whom he had criticised before his victory in the last presidential election.

But in a swift reaction, Ayade’s media aide dismissed the insinuation that the governor was planning to move from the PDP.

Christian Ita, chief press secretary to Ayade, said the governor was just playing the role of a good host to the array of political, military and business leaders that thronged Calabar to honour a prominent son of the state.

“It is not true that the discussion our governor had with the APC leaders had anything to do with leaving the PDP for the APC,” said Ita.

Okorocha, who had visited the state and met Ayade previously over same issue, had commended the governor for having the blessing of God with the appointment of his “sons” into key national positions.

Remarking, Usani commended those who honoured his invitation and described them as his close friends. He stated that hatred for one another was the key reason for underdevelopment of Cross River State.

BREAKING: Cross River gov, Ayade, wins at Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Friday affirmed Prof. Ben Ayade  of the Peoples Democratic Party as the governor of Cross River state.


Joe Agi, also of the PDP, had asked the court to sack Ayade over false declaration of age but the apex court justices held that Agi could not prove the allegation against the governor.

Details Later…

Ayade donates 160 vehicles to security agencies in Cross River

The Cross River State governor, Prof Ben Ayade, has donated 160 vehicles to security agencies in the state in a bid to sustain its status as the safest state in country.


Speaking during the presentation of the vehicles to service commanders in Calabar, Ayade said the gesture was a demonstration of his administration’s commitment to protect lives and property in the state, promising a trouble-free festival as preparations for Carnival Calabar gather momentum.


Accordingly, he urged all fun seekers to be part of this year’s Carnival as his government has put all measures in place to protect them from mischief makers and ensure they enjoy themselves in the state.


According to him, the quality of vehicles donated was an indication of the level of safety and security that would be provided in the state.


He disclosed that the recently established Homeland Security Service was one way of complementing the efforts of security agencies to secure the state.


The governor said, “We have created an opportunity for everybody to come to Calabar for the carnival and end of 2016 but as you do so take a look at the array of vehicles that are here.


That tells you of the level of security, level of safety that you would enjoy once you come to Calabar.”

Ayade: Young people must remain virgins until marriage

Ben Ayade, governor of Cross River state, says young people must be encouraged to abstain from sexual intercourse till they get married.

Ayade says abstinence and faithfulness are the only ways to end the HIV scourge in Nigeria.

Speaking on Thursday at the commemoration of the 2016 World AIDS Day celebration in Calabar, Ayade said it’s high time young people were taught that sex before marriage is a taboo in the African culture.

The governor criticised campaigns advocating for condom usage, saying it’s a false feeling of protection.

Ayade said condoms have thus far failed to stop the spread of the HIV scourge, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

“Rather, it increases the level of promiscuity among the younger generation and encouraged unfaithfulness,” he said.

“The absolute factor that can put an end to HIV/AIDS spread is total loyalty and abstinence.

“Married couples must be faithful to their partners. Young people must remain virgins until they get married and never allow any barber to use unsterilised clipper to barb your hair.

“Whatever the story, AIDS is real, it is a scourge, you must avoid it,” the governor said.

Ayade further noted that his government would do everything within its power to curtail the spread of the virus in Cross River.

Cross River Governor Appoints 1,106 New Advisers

The Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade, on Tuesday appointed 1,106 persons into various positions.

The positions were in the categories of special advisers, special assistants, personal assistants as well as the chairmen and members of boards, commissions, departments and agencies.

The governor had, in a parley with journalists in August, reiterated his decision to appoint over 1,000 political appointees for poverty alleviation in the state.

So far, there are 28 commissioners in addition to 65 special advisers and over 100 special assistants, personal assistants and community relations officers.

A breakdown of the latest appointment shows that 799 were appointed into various boards, commissions and agencies, while the remaining 307 appointees were categorised into special advisers (six), senior special advisers (30), special assistants (75) and Personal Assistants (25).

Others are personal assistants to paramount rulers (16), representatives of each local government in the state food bank unit (90), liaison officers for the 18 local government area and three senatorial districts (21), special assistants on religious affairs (18) and permanent secretaries (26).

In a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Christian Ita, the governor said the appointments would take effect from November 1, 2016.

But reacting to the development, a former Special Adviser to Ayade on Strategy and National Contact, Mr. Ray Ugba-Morphy, said the appointments were unnecessary.

Ugba-Morphy, who resigned from Ayade’s cabinet, said, “He is a governor who understands all the appointments that he is making. But considering the lean purse of the state, it is not necessary because those already appointed have not been properly settled.

“The wages of political appointees are fixed by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission as stipulated by the law, but he (Ayade) has not met those requirements.

“It is right if the appointments are meant to settle political scores, but economically, it is not viable. He should create opportunity for people to have skills to earn a living.”

Cross River: Gov. Ayade Suspends Commercial Drivers’ Levies

Cross River State governor, Prof Ben Ayade, Wednesday suspended all levies paid by commercial drivers in the state.
The governor gave the order when members of the Unified Commercial Drivers Association in the state protested alleged the impounding of their vehicles, multiple taxation and a levy hike in his office in Calabar Wednesday.
Ayade who sent the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Tina Agbor, to speak on his behalf said, “All your cars will be released. All the levies would be suspended, until the governor gets the papers and looks at them properly. When that is done, we would tell you what to pay.”
Chairman of the Association, Pastor Thomas Effiong Okon, who led the protesters, said, “We have always been supportive of the government. We have registered without complain. We gave government the support. We are not outsiders but part and parcel of the system. But it is an abnormality for people to sit on us because of their political appointments.

“On Monday we woke up and we saw our tickets had risen to N500 daily from N400. The N400 was even too high for us and we were even negotiating how to sort it out and the next thing it was just increased like that. As a peace loving person I met the State Security Adviser (SSA) on Monday, the issue was the same and they impounded our vehicles.


“We were with the SSA, Commissioner for Transport, the Department of Public Transportation (DOPT), and the Area Commander and sat down to sort out the issue because we don’t want to embarrass ourselves because this state is our state. They promised us yesterday that something was going to be done and it would go back to normal, but we discovered this was a falsehood.
“That is why we are here today to see the governor to tell us because we are over taxed. There is multiple taxation, multiple enforcement, so many government agencies are collecting money from taxes on daily basis.”



Credit : Today

I Did Not Inherit An Empty Treasury- C’River Governor

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State yesterday said that he did not inherit empty treasury from the immediate past administration in the state as is being speculated in some quarters.

Ayade said this in Calabar while briefing stakeholders, including the media, on his development agenda for the state.
“I did not inherit empty treasury but a great potential from my predecessor,” he said.
The governor said that as part of efforts to tap the abundant resources in the state, his administration was exploring the option of setting up state mining corporation.
He stated that through the mining corporation, the state would take advantage of the vast mineral resource and establish its own cement factory and quarry company.
“This will help us to source the needed raw materials for construction of the proposed Calabar Seaport and 240-kilometre highway from Calabar to Obudu. It will reduce the cost of the projects and make it realizable,” he said.
Ayade said his administration was working on a number of options to boost the revenue generation capacity of the state. He condemned the current system where consultants are used to collect revenue for the state, describing it as “crude and unacceptable in modern society.”
“I believe we can generate revenue through wealth creation for the citizens,” he said.
Ayade also said that the Obudu Mountain Resort needed to be restructured to make it more functional to attract tourists.


I Will Be The First Poor Man To Rule- Ben Ayade

Cross River’s Governor-elect Ben Ayade declared that he will be driven by his poor background after his administration is sworn in on May 29. Ayade revealed that he would be the first son of a poor man to govern the state and as a result, will focus his administration on the elevation of the poor within the state.

Speaking in Calabar during receipt of his certificate of return, Ayade said that he would create a new agenda that would uplift his people and improve their welfare.

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