February 27, 2021

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Governance Hasn’t Collapsed In C’River, Says Commissioner …Declares Superhighway Is 40 Per Cent Completed

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Cross River State information commissioner, Mr Asu Okang has disagreed with a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mba Ukweni, on the claim that governance has collapsed in the state. He said the governor, Prof Ben Ayade was doing his best with limited resources to reposition the state.
The commissioner spoke over the telephone with TNN. According to him, even though revenue accruing to the state was dwindling and grossly inadequate, the governor had been able to embark on various projects, including the superhighway, which he said was up to 40 per cent completed.
Although the commissioner was not told the SAN that made the allegation despite his plea to that effect, he described the senior as senile, for claiming that governance had collapsed in the state. When he was referred to some of the claims of the lawyer, that a lot of things were not functioning in the state, including lack of power supply in the office of the deputy governor, especially when the governor was not on seat, and the dearth of public water supply in the state, he flared up and called the lawyer names.
We spoke with a senior advocate of Nigeria who holds this view that governance has collapsed in Cross River State and he has pointed to a few things- that water board is down, governor’s office, if the governor is not around, there is no light such that deputy governor even has to use paper to fan himself, we talked about a lot of things. Do you agree with him?
Who is the senior advocate?
A senior advocate of Nigeria.
Who is that?
Let me not mention his name sir.
If you don’t mention his name, I won’t answer. Mention his name then I give you his profile.
It’s not about the person, it’s about what he said. Is it true or not?
What did you study in the university?
I think it is better you ask people about me. But I studied mass communication. So, can you answer my question sir?
Having known your background, a thorough bred journalist, will say this senior advocate said….
(Cuts in)I don’t want you to attack the person, I want you to attack the issue. It’s the issue we are talking about, not the person, not the messenger but the message, that’s the important thing. that’s why I don’t want to hammer on the individual.
You will get to know me. When you get to know me, I am sure by your engagement with me, we will get to be best of friends. I like your approach to this and I am willing to give you all the answers. I am cooperating thus far. Haven’t I cooperated thus far?
Very well.
You know our people perish for lack of knowledge. That a man is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria doesn’t make him an authority. In life there is something called respective perspective. It allows you the liberty to think, to see W as M and M as W depending on the position you stand and I respect respective perspective. But let me tell you, there are senior advocates of Nigeria who have lost cases in Supreme Court even in high court. It doesn’t make them all knowing. They are not a pool of intellectualism and so whoever that senior advocate of Nigeria is, I think you will need to go back and fetch his senility. Aand let me tell you, because you have refused to speak the name or tell us the name of that senior advocate of Nigeria, for the respect I have for my colleagues in this profession, even though I may not be seen to be a professional, I am going to answer the person. First, the senior advocate would have been perhaps senile. Senile to the extent that he is oblivious of the reality. I attend execute council meetings every Wednesday or perhaps emergency meetings as the case may be, of state executive council chamber in governor’s office. Cross River State government(office) is neater than it used to be. That is one. When you say governance has collapsed, what is governance collapsing? A man is saying that there are departments, agencies of government that are due to have been made independent ministries, headed by commissioners and members who attend executive council. If you understand the workings of the state executive council, memos from departments, agencies of government are only presented through their commissioners, meaning that, however important, strategic, significant if you ask me, a chairman of an emergency management agency is, they do not have the constitutional authority to present a memo in the state executive council, so they have to go through their line ministry. When you say governance has collapsed, what did you call that?
He also talked about the situation at the state water board, that there is no public water supply again
(Cuts in) Do you live in Calabar? Is governance all about water?
I just mentioned an instance, from what he said?
Did I tell you that there is no water in my house? Did I tell you that there is no water in my street? Have you lived in Calabar to know that there is no water here? You are only inferring and that is what I call fallacy of hasty generalization, come and experience Calabar yourself and we continue this interview.
He also spoke on the issue of potholes in the state. Hear him: “There is no state including the Federal Capital Territory that does not have a pothole. So, if we have one or two potholes in Calabar and the governor who has said it very clearly that ‘I am not a pothole governor’… Conventionalism tells you that a governor will just come in, repair some potholes and then do some rural roads that will last for two years and after that they are eroded away by the reason of rain and then people applaud you as a governor, and then you outlive your tenure of eight years or perhaps four years and leave office. Ayade isn’t a conventional governor, he is not a pothole governor, Ayade is an industrial governor, he is an industrialist that believes that Cross River State, having been a state that has remained constantly dependant on salary and civil service, the change must come, and we are transforming Cross River State, channelling our energy, lean resources towards engagement in industrial revolution. And I tell you something, if you know the allocation of the state, you will not ask these questions.

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