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Non-Constitution of C’River Exco by governor is unconstitutional

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Governor Ben Ayade

It is well established that on the5, Senator Ben Ayade [image above] took oath of office and oath of allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the 4th elected Governor of the Cross River State of Nigeria on the 27th May, 2015. 

Accordingly, Governor Ben Ayade has been in office as Governor for nearly five months, 17 days. However, it is outrageous and a breach of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) for him to continue to refuse to inaugurate State Executive Council.  

I know that the Cross River State House of Assembly has confirmed a list of 28 Commissioners presented to it for confirmation more than three weeks ago. So why has Governor Ben Ayade refused, failed and neglected to inaugurate the State Executive Council till this moment? 

Why is Governor Ayade carrying on as if he is the Sole Administrator or Potentate of Cross River State?

Undoubtedly, by the provisions of the Constitution, a Governor is the Chief Executive whom the executive authority of the State is vested upon but that does not mean that such a Governor can run his State with Commissioners.  

Indeed the Constitution makes it mandatory for the Governor to appoint Commissioners. 

Section 192 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (supra) provide thus: 

“There shall be such offices of Commissioners of the Government of a State as may be established by the Governor of the State”

Further, the Constitution envisages that the Governor in exercise of the executive powers vested on him must manage, administer and run the State to her with Commissioners. This body of Commissioners is known as the Executive Council of the State. 

The Constitution defines “the Executive Council of the State” thus: “A body established by the Governor and charged with such responsibilities for the functions of Government as the Governor may direct”.

Accordingly, Section 193 subsection 3 (a) (b) & (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria stipulates thus: 

“The Governor of a State shall hold regular meetings with the Deputy Governor and all Commissioners of the Government of the State for the purposes of – 

(a) determining the general direction of the policies of the Government of the State; 

(b) coordinating the activities of the Governor, the Deputy Governor and the Commissioners of the Government of the State in the discharge of their executive responsibilities; and 

(c) advising the Governor generally in the discharge of his executive functions, other than those functions with respect to which he is required by this Constitution to seek the advice or act on the recommendation of any other person or body”.

It goes without saying that Governor Ben Ayade has flagrantly breached Sections 192 (1) and 193 (3) (a) (b) & (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by not inaugurating the Executive Council of the State. 

This is unacceptable, dictatorial, wrongful, unconstitutional and a bad precedent. 

Despite the fact that, Governor Ben Ayade has refused to constitute the Executive Council of the State, he has been purporting to determining the general direction of the policies of the State including causing to be prepared and laid before the Cross River State House of Assembly, the estimates of the revenues and expenditure of the State for the next following financial year (2016). 

In other words, the Appropriation Bill (Budget) 2016 which Governor Ayade laid and presented before the Cross River State House of Assembly two weeks ago is unconstitutional and illegal in so far as it has no input by the Executive Council of the State. 

Okoi Obono-Obla


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