Anxiety Over Gov Ayade’s Whereabouts

The prolonged absence of Cross River State governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, from the state has created anxiety in the state over the governor’s regular disappearing acts, with some calling for his impeachment.

Ayade has reportedly being out of Cross River for over 30 days without formally notifying the state House of Assembly.

The opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), have taunted the governor for his continuous disappearance, saying he abandoned his duty post for a private jamboree.

Mens Ikpeme, Publicity Secretary of the APC, criticized the state legislature, for what he described as failure on their part to hold the governor and executive accountable.

However, John Gaul-Lebo, Speaker of the House of Assembly, said governor Ayade has not committed any impeachable offence as he has not breached any constitutional provisions.

Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Calabar, Gaul-Lebo said social media reports that the house has resolved to impeach the governor over his recent trip abroad is fake.

According to him, the state lawmakers had never contemplated any move to impeach the governor, adding that it was only when the governor was embarking on an annual leave or on a sick leave that he was bound to write and officially inform the House.

“The house of assembly is not contemplating to impeach the governor; there is no plan like that,” the Speaker said.

“What I read on social media is that the governor had travelled out of the country and that it is an impeachable offence.

“Section 190 of the constitution only contemplates a situation where the governor proceeds on either annual leave or medical vacation.

“It states that where the governor is unable to perform his duties, he should transmit a letter to the house that his deputy should act.

“In this case, the governor is not on annual leave or medical vacation and he has not transmitted any letter to us.

“It is only the transmission of such a letter that can give powers to the deputy governor to act in his absence.

“The governor has not committed any impeachable offence by travelling. The constitution does not say that anytime the governor is involved in a trip he should inform the house of assembly.

“Whatever rumour about the impeachment of the governor is false. The information is blackmail with the intent to cause tension between the executive and the legislature.”

Meanwhile, contrary to the Speaker, a member of the House, who pleaded anonymity reportedly said the governor has severally breached the constitution and committed impeachable offences.

The lawmaker said any move made against the governor in the House has been stalled by the Speaker.

Utum Eteng, a senior lawyer, raised concern over the state of the governor’s health, noting that he has been out of the state since the first week of March 2018.

Reacting, Rosemary Archibong, Commissioner for Information, who dismissed the suggestions, said it was wrong for the media to use the word whereabouts as if the governor was missing.

“The governor should be on his way back from his official trip to China and India where he signed business MoU and attracted more investments to the state,” the commissioner said.

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