The Cross River State Government has explained why either Governor Ben Ayade or the Deputy Governor, Prof. Ivara Esu, failed to attend the South-South Governors meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Monday.
Esu disclosed that fatigue and inability to secure the release of N3 million the state earmarked for the trip made it impossible for him to attend the meeting.
Five of the six governors of the zone attended the meeting except for Ayade, but Esu, who was supposed to attend could not.”
Ayade could not attend the meeting as he traveled with the 18 council chairmen of the state and some House of Assembly members for an agricultural summit in Paris, France.
Top government house sources revealed that before his trip, Ayade mandated his deputy to attend the meeting and approved N3 million as an allowance for the trip.
Afriupdate News learnt that although the money was approved and released for the trip, the fund was not released at the bank to facilitate the trip.
It was also learnt that efforts were made to get the Rivers State Government to arrange accommodation for Esu, but that was also unsuccessful.
The Deputy Governor, who spoke in a telephone interview with The Guardian, yesterday, confirmed that N3 million was approved for the trip, but the money was not released at the bank.
“Besides, I was quite fatigued after travelling to Ogoja for Dr. Stephen Odey’s defection on Saturday. I came back and presided over the 61st Independence Anniversary in Calabar, before leaving for the burial of General Ukpo at Okpoma and returned to Calabar same day to head for Port Harcourt on Sunday for the meeting on Monday,” he stated.
He also disclosed that officials of the state government tried to contact Government House, Port Harcourt, but there was scanty information on their request until Monday morning when the meeting commenced.
Their failure to attend the meeting had further alienated the state from the zone, as the Ayade-led government could not endorse some decisions on open-grazing ban and the legal issues against the Federal Government on collection of Value Added Tax (VAT), among others, at the South-South governors’ meetings.