Thursday, 12 December 2019

Exposed: The Screening of Ayade's commissioners list and everything in between

The Cross River State House of Assembly had early this week began the process of screening and confirmation of the 36 commissioner nominees sent to the house by the governor of Cross River State, Sen Prof. Ben Ayade with about 15 confirmed so far while the remaining 21 will be confirmed within the week. 

Normally, it is expected that the process ensures a round peg is appointed into a round hole as well as making sure none of the appointees has a dent on him that will rob off on the reputation of the government of the day. Being a member of the Executive Council and saddled with the responsibility of thinking for and taking crucial decisions for the rest of the over 4million citizens of the state shouldn't be taken lightly. 

Therefore, the various processes leading to their final swearing in into office must be detailed and accurate, but concerns however, are being raised in some quarters as governor Ben Ayade had severally stated that his appointments are strictly for those who worked for his reelection. In other words, appointment into Ayade's second term might not necessarily be based on merit but a reward for hardwork during elections. 

If that be true, it becomes really worrisome because the chances of having technocrats and specialized hands to mount these offices will be sacrificed on the alter of politics and electioneering promises. In essence the development of Cross River State will be sacrificed for the selfish ambition of one man. As we all know, most technocrats are not given to politics and may not be able to deliver their polling unit for Ayade so they can be appointed into these offices. 

Its really saddening that we have allowed Cross River State to go this way, the standard has been lowered, the bar that was raised by Donald Duke has gradually been lowered and reduced to child's play. The creation of numerous ministries, Parastatals, departments and Agencies with conflicting responsibilities has also created redundancy while taxpayers monies are spent to compensate people with no productive value whose only qualification for such gesture from government was that they delivered their polling units. 

One would ordinarily reasoned that when the first gate of test of competence fails to do its work, which is the selection of credible and competent hands by the executive arm of government, the second gate which is the legislative arm will mount a serious checkpoint. But, shockingly, the Hon. Efa Esua led Committee on Judiciary, Public Service Matters, Public Petition and Conflict Resolution, saddled with the responsibility of screening the nominees further watered and reduced the entire process to cash and carry jamboree. 

The committee has once again allowed lust and greed deprive the state of having round pegs in round holes. Grape vine sources reveals that the committee demanded N300, 000 each from the 39 nominees before they can be screened and confirmed. According to my source which happened to be child of one of the nominee, "My mother is in serious need of cash, she has been asked to pay 300k before she could be screened by the committee, currently she is looking for where to borrow the money from..." 

Another source which also happens to be a nominee confirmed to TDN that the story is true though he said N300, 000 was proposed by the committee but what was paid was not up to that amount. 
"My brother, that's the system we have come to find ourselves and we cannot Runaway from it. You see it did not start with them, they only came to meet it and they are continuing with it". He said. 

Speaking with a member of the legislature, he denied the allegations stating that he is not aware of such and doubts such a thing could happen amongst Cross River State lawmakers. He said most times human beings would look for what to hinge their hustling on. Suggesting that the said lady may be in need and is using the screening as a means of borrowing money for her personal needs. 

It's regrettable that public office has become an offer for the highest bidder. When the executive makes a blunder the law expects other arms of government to correct the blunder by holding each other accountable that was really the essence, when the law stipulates that the legislators would confirm the appointments made by the executives. This was to ensure checks and balance. But we see a direct opposite in this case. 

Can the Efa Esua led committee have a reason to disqualify any of the nominees even when there is strong enough a reason to do so, especially after collecting 300k from them? With what has happened, I would say whatever the committee is doing there is just a waste of time and resources. We may end up not having the best hands to assist the governor pilot the affairs of the state. 

I am not in anyway, saying any of the nominee is not qualified, but my emphasis is on the fact the process have been reduced to mediocrity, political compensation and money. So even if these people get into office the tendency to be lax will be high because they paid for the job and their emphasis might likely be to recoup their monies. 

To avoid the impeding devastation on the state, I would recommend that the process be revisited with technocrats and specialise forming over 60 percent of the cabinet, and the nomination should be based on merit without fear or favour devoid of ethnicity, gender, political party affiliation etc. Just as the appointment of Hon. Odey Oyama was a square peg in a square hole so should others be not because of party affiliation but professionalism and ability to deliver. 

God help Cross River State 
God help Nigeria 
God bless Nigerians 

Six questions Every well meaning Cross Riverian should ask Governor Ben Ayade and seek for answers to