By Inyali Peter, Calabar
National Vice Chairman(south south )of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ntufam Hilliard Eta Monday described Governor Ben Ayade’s frequent prolonged stay outside of the country as an affront on the Cross River people stating that “the state legislature that should remind the governor of the relevant laws on such trips and caution him in that respect is unfortunately a rubber stamp of Ayade. “
Eta recalled that “Ayade left the shores of Cross River on January 14 while the state was witnessing both cult and communal conflicts in the guise of going to canvass for more investments for the state from China but has not returned till date. “
He said “what stands as a breach of the law is that he left without transmitting the reigns of power to his deputy and the state legislature has turned a blind eye on Ayade.”
The APC chieftain reasoned that the state legislature has not taken a decisive action against the governor “because they have turned themselves into Ayade’s rubber stamp,” saying “their inaction is understandable.”
Recalling that his party had last April called for Ayade’s impeachment on grounds of certain constitutional breaches,Eta said rather than attend to the people’s needs “the leadership of the legislature are only interested in buying awards they do not merit.”
He described the Azikiwe Leadership Award and others conveyed on the Speaker, John Gaul-Lebor recently as “misplaced” saying there was nothing spectacular about him that calls for the awards.
Eta whose statement was contained in a Press Release signed by his Media Adviser, Mr. Bassey Ita and made available to Newsmen said Ayade has not learnt to take a queue from President Muhammadu Buhari who transmitted a letter to the National Assembly regarding his previous vacation and over the extension of his recent vacation in the United Kingdom.
“Ayade has a history of breaking the law on prolonged stay abroad. He left the country on the 14th January and today is 6th of February, close to a month and he never transmitted power to his deputy to run government.”
He said,”understandably, the State House of Assembly would not raise eye brows. It’s unfortunate that these folks would not take a queue from Mr. President who not only transmitted a letter to allow his Vice to act but followed it up recently on ground of the extension of his vacation. I think this man (Ayade ) is taking Cross Riverians for a ride. “
On the bailout funds and the Paris Club debt refund, the South South APC leader said Cross Riverians should raise serious concern about the whereabouts of the bailout funds as well as urge the governor to explain how he has or intends to spend the debt refund money.
According to him, “the way the state government bungled the issue of spending the bailout funds during the public hearing organised by the Senate clearly revealed the crass lack of accountability and probity of the Ayade government,” adding that “Ayade should invest in development programmes and projects for the good of the masses rather than starching funds for a second term agenda.”
He called on security agencies in the state to tackle the current security challenges in parts of the state stating that “Cross River has been reduced to a theatre of cult wars and communal clashes owing to the ineptitude of the leadership.”