KBassey Inyang in Calabar
Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, has signed N1.1 trillion 2020 Appropriation Bill tagged “Budget of Olimpotic Meristemasis” into law.
Ayade, signed the budget passed into law last week by Cross River State House of Assembly, raised the alarm that the state was grinding to a halt, and appealed for a financial support from the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Ayade said the total budget size is N1, 100,168,687,000 trillion.
The governor, who gave a brief breakdown of the budget, said a total of N188.7 billion has been earmarked for recurrent expenditure, while a sum of N911.4 billion has been estimated for capital expenditure. He assured members of the House of Assembly and members of his cabinet that the budget would be implemented.
“I want to assure all of you that this budget of N1.1 trillion is something we will achieve within the year 2020.
“With the support of President Buhari, we will get the necessary federal government support that will give us the impetus to realise the Cross River beyond oil like we say Nigeria beyond oil. That is President Buhari’s policy thrust – Nigeria beyond oil. I am using the policy thrust derived from the President to run Cross River State. Therefore we need his support, to achieve our set objectives…
“In this ceremonial signing of the 2020 Budget of Cross River State, let me plead with Mr. President that Cross River State is one of the states in Nigeria. That our oil wells were taken from us; that no due process was followed in ceding of Bakassi. The Supreme Court gave judgment and in one of the proviso, it was stated that the federal government through the instrumentality of the stabilisation fund should continuously support Cross River State to the extent of the oil well loss.
“Let me make it abundantly clear that such agreement was discussed and ratified by the previous administrations, and a sum of N15 billion was to be made available to Cross River State every two years and N500 million every month. That has not happened for a long time,” he said.
Lamenting that Cross River State’s finances were in serious dire need, Ayade said “the state is grinding to a halt. I plead with President Muhammadu Buhari that the people of Cross River State look up to him as the president of this country and he should look into the history and the process of the loss of Bakassi.
“Let Mr. President reflect on the several meetings I have had with him on this matter. Let him do that which is fair. Cross River State is waiting on your corridor to see you change our story and help us stop this going cap in hand every time to Abuja. We come before you with the same matter that has been before you since 2016, seeking support for the deep seaport, seeking support for the superhighway, seeking a commitment to the Supreme Court ruling on the stabilisation support for Cross River State.”
Concluding his address on an advisory not aimed at promoting political harmony in the state, Ayade said: “As I provide the executive summary of this year’s budget, let me plead with all Cross Riverians that I am indeed a refined politician. I play politics with ethics.
I am not a politician who is a prisoner of a party lineage. I am a politician who believes that bringing ultimate value to my people is the essence of being in politics. And so with that spirit, I call Cross Riverians to be moderate in their comments; be sensitive to the sensibilities of your neighbour of other political parties and be a decent man or woman.”
Ayade gave commendation to the lawmakers in the state for passing the budget on December 31, 2019, saying they kept to their promise to pass the budget before the end of last year.