Group condemns Ayade’s serial absence from southern governor’s meeting, reveals plan to dispose public assets

The People’s Democratic Party Renaissance Group Cross River State has frowned at the continued absence of Governor Ben Ayade from the meetings of the “Southern Governor’s Forum” since its inception

The group stated this in a communique issued on Friday after its extraordinary meeting in Calabar.

The communique jointly signed by a serving member of the House of Assembly, Mr. Efa Esua, former Commissioner Gody Eta, and 13 others said the absence of the governor has alienated the State from the multiple regional integration processes and interests

The group expressed deep concern at the attitude of the governor, especially as it concerns the very teething issues such as Value Added Tax (VAT).

“The Southern agenda to produce the next President come 2023 and the Anti-open grazing Law, culminating into the rising fear of insecurity of Cross River citizens.

“The Governor should be reminded that by simple geography, Cross River is and will remain a veritable part of Southern Nigeria, and therefore should retrace his steps, by reintegrating Cross River in solidarity with the other Southern States in the common interest of the State and the Region in general, ” the group said.

On the festering issue of Open Grazing Law, the group noted with utter dismay, that, “as at today, Cross River is still amongst the remaining three Southern states, whose Houses of Assembly are yet to consider or pass the Anti-Open grazing law.”

“Fourteen States (traditional APC states inclusive) out of 17 Southern States have already implemented the decision of the Southern Governors Forum on the ban on open grazing in their domains, yet Cross River is silent, while the plague of killer herdsmen draws close to our borders.

“We, therefore, call on the Cross River House of Assembly to as a matter of urgency, join the Committee of other Southern states to domesticate the Anti- Open grazing Law in the interest of regional security, ” the communique read.

The group further noted a plan by the Cross River State Government, to sell over 40 Government-owned assets including the Cross River garment factory; the cocoa processing plant, and others, to its cronies and proxies in the name of privatisation.

“The governor should know that we have copious evidence of this purported plan, especially as it concerns the ownership of the ongoing Obudu International hospital, the Canadian school, the teachers Continued training Institute in Biase, which were built with taxpayers money and the clandestine attempt to convert the people’s assets to personal properties.

“We, therefore, place a ‘ caveat emptor’ on vulnerable, unsuspecting members of the public and cronies alike, to steer clear from any transaction with Cross River State Government regarding the sale of its assets as anyone or group of individuals will be doing so at their own peril, ” the group said.

The PDP Renaissance group further advised the governor to stop embarking on some futile overseas trips that have no direct bearing on the economy of the state but to channel his energy towards policies and Programmes that can shore up the state’s internally generated revenue.

The Group described as unfortunate, the desperate attempt by the government to silence the voice of opposition in the State, as seen in the stoppage of Statutory allowances of members of the PDP in the House of Assembly and the pension allowances of former Governors and their Deputies in the PDP.

It described such actions as childish and unbecoming of a leader.

“We hereby wish to bring to note, that we shall employ all legitimate means to ensure the safety and security of our members and indeed all citizens of Cross River as relevant security agencies have been duly notified, ” the group said.

It enjoined PDP supporters in the state to remain calm while awaiting different court cases that would determine the fate of the governor and his All Progressive Congress (APC) party in the State.

“While we await the determination of the court on the issues bordering on the legality of the defection of the governor and some members of the State House of Assembly to the APC, we call on our teeming supporters across the state, to remain calm in the face of all the provocations by Government and it’s cohorts, as we assure them that “The Egyptians you see today, we shall see them no more.”

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