BY: Godson Akpama

Without deterrence to Gov Ben Ayade’s serial leadership gaffes, a phenomenon which has now become public knowledge all over Nigeria, what has unfortunately assumed the toga of embarrassment and provocation among the people of Cross River State is the seeming recklessness of their state governor towards the management of state assets. Without recourse to extant laws of the state, Ayade treats state assets and utilities as though they were his personal property. Instances abound where the governor would unilaterally convert public property to his own personal advantage.

We recall Ayade’s invasion of the state Water Board and its land along Marian Road. The rest is now history. The recent executive lawlessness of Prof. Ben Ayade, as obscene as it is puerile, is the storming of Crospil Estate on a daily basis last week with a convoy of over thirty (30) vehicles and one hundred (100) aides in total disregard for the Covid 19 social distancing order.

His mission, according to feelers from the state, is to establish a “CONSTRUCTION and FABRICATION ACADEMY OF WEST AFRICA”. The governor has consequently ordered the demolition of the corporate headquarters of Crospil Estate, Calabar to pave way for the establishment of his construction and fabrication academy. But the questions on the lips of Cross Riverians are : (1). Is there any law enacted by the Cross River State House of Assembly establishing this institution? (2). Is it going to be a mono or multi-campus institution? (3). Where would the main campus be sited and what certificates would the school be issuing to its graduands? (4). How would the institution relate with the Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH), the Institute of Technology and Management (ITM), Ugep and other technical schools already existing in the state?

With the commencement of demolition of Crospil Estate on the orders of the governor, many house owners in the Calabar metropolis are in the process of losing their property. Crospil was established by the former military governor of old Cross River State, Brigadier U. J. Esuene in 1975 as a limited liability company to manage the state properties and assets.

Successive governors, both military and civilians, had managed to sustain the company until now that Ayade has decided to violate its innocence. A gigantic signpost has already been mounted as the assets are either being commandeered or demolished without due process. Gov Ayade has the notereity of demolishing without replacing and without compensation.

In the midst of all this, he is buying off all choice properties in the estate. In the pretext of setting up an academy, the governor has demolished a bank property in the estate, pulling down fences and in the process of bringing down the corporate headquarters in Calabar. Crospil is a relic of its old self as the company has been existing without a board and the staff marginally hanging around without salary, subvention or imprest for more than six months.

As you read this, St. Margaret Hospital has been demolished, many shops around the Odukpani Junction have been brought down without prior notice. Obudu government guest houses have also been demolished. And if Crospil Estate assets are depleted below its shared capital, then it must be liquidated. So, the implication is that if this happens, Cross River State would not benefit from any housing funds from the Federal Government if there is such a development.

Again, why should a construction and fabrication academy be established in the heart of the premier housing estate in Calabar? When was the environmental impact assessment and due diligence done? Like every other touted project of Gov Ayade, this one will also be abandoned after acquiring juicy assets in the estate for himself.

This is a governor who ordered the recruitment of 1,000 teachers purportedly to boost the strength of the state teaching staff and kept them working for one year without salaries. That project is now history. Concerned Cross Riverians must come together and stop Ayade. With the Federation Account almost going totally red due largely to the fall to ground zero in oil price at the international market, any state where its citizens allow their governor to swim in impunity and recklessness would have themselves to blame. Ayade must be stopped. This is taking impunity too far.

Dr. Akpama lives in Lagos.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributed to the author and do not represent the views of Genuinereports or any other organization the author works for/with.

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