Professor Ben Ayade has abandoned his duty post as governor of Cross River State since the end of January, without formally informing the House of Assembly and transferring power to his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu.
The governor who is now Absent Without Official Leave (AWOL) did not follow the Nigerian constitution before leaving his duty post.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari in following the rule of law went on leave in February, but mandated his vice-president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, to act for him for five days.
But Ayade has been absent from the country since the last week of January 2016, without the constitutional courtesy of telling his people his whereabouts. He also did not inform the House of Assembly that he was leaving the state. Instead his brother, Dr Frank Ayade has reportedly been de facto ‘acting governor’, leaving the deputy governor in the cold.
The younger Ayade has long been rumoured to be the real governor of the state, pulling the power strings on behalf of his older brother, and making people wonder who they really voted for.
A concerned citizen of the state, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla has drawn attention to this gross constitutional breach that has made Ayade’s whereabouts a matter of intense speculation and conjecture in the State.
“The Governor did not tell the people if he was proceeding to leave or going for vacation! Section 190 subsection 1 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), stipulates that if the Governor is going on vacation or in the event he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, he must transmit a written declaration to the Speaker of the House of Assembly to that effect, and until he transmits to the Speaker of the House of Assembly a written declaration to the contrary the Deputy Governor shall perform the functions of the Governor as Acting Governor.
“Since Governor Ben Ayade travelled out of the country nearly ten weeks ago without transmitting a written declaration to the Speaker of the House of Assembly, that he is proceeding on vacation or he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office to enable the Deputy Governor, Professor Ivara Esu assume office as Acting Governor, there can be no doubt the Cross River State has no leader presently.
“This is so because the Deputy Governor, Professor Esu cannot rightly assume the position of Acting Governor since Governor Ayade failed to invoked Section 190 subsection 1 of the Constitution, by transmitting a written declaration to the Speaker of the House of Assembly that he would be going on leave or vacation or he would be otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office.
“In the light of the constitutional vacuum created by the failure of Governor Ayade to transmit a written declaration to the Speaker of the House of Assembly that he is on leave or vacation or he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office within 21 days; I therefore urge the Cross River State House of Assembly to immediately invoke the provisions of Section 190 subsection 2 of the Constitution and by a resolution made by a simple majority of the vote of the House, mandate Deputy Governor, Professor Ivara Ejemot Esu to perform the functions of the office Governor as Acting Governor, until when Governor Ayade transmit a letter to the Speaker that he is now available to assume his office as Governor of the State.
“The Cross River State House of Assembly must act now or otherwise the people will be entitled to dismiss it as lackey or stooge of Governor Ayade! It is simply absurd, ridiculous, charade and a constitutional aberration for the House of Assembly to allow one Frank Ayade to continue to present or hold or masquerade as “Co-Governor” or “Acting Governor”.