Cross River: Why Ayade Locked Out Commissioners

By Akanimo Sampson,
Port Harcourt

INNER circle public functionaries in Cross River State, say Governor Ben Ayade is prepared to show any government officialno matter how highly placed, where he/she belongs, if they found wanting.

The governor on Tuesday paid an unscheduled visit to some ministries, where he ordered three of his Commissioners to be locked out for failure to be at their duty posts as early as 8 a.m.The development sent shock waves across ther state.

Our sources say for Ayade, it is not business as usual as far as governance is concerned in Cross River. ”The new Cross River State of his dream is to be built on discipline as a way of life”, our source said.

However, ministries visited by the governor included Agriculture, Water Resources, Women Affairs and Sustainable Development.

At the Ministry of Agriculture, where Governor Ayade made his first port of call, neither the Commissioner, Prof. Egrinya Eneji, nor any of his Directors was available to receive him. No explanation was, however, offered for the Commissioner’s unavailability.

In a similar visit to the Ministry of Water Resources, along Ndidem Usang Iso Road, Calabar, Governor Ayade was visibly enraged that the Commissioner, Gabe Odu Orji, was not on duty as of the time of his unscheduled visit, prompting his directive that he be locked out.

Of the four ministries visited, only the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Stella Odey, was on hand to receive Governor Ayade.

The governor who expressed his disappointment at the seeming lack of dedication to duty by the various heads of the ministries, particularly commended Odey for what he described as her devotion to duty.

Governor Ayade spoke out his displeasure at the lukewarm attitude shown by the heads of the affected ministries visited, Ayade said: “I am saddened by what I have seen this morning. It is shocking that it is already gone past 8.a.m, yet Commissioners cannot be found on their seats. I will not take kindly to this culture of lateness to work and I am going to do something about it. I must, however, commend you for your exceptional conduct. Please do keep it up.”

At the Ministry of Sustainable Development also, it was the same swansong where the governor was equally disappointed that the Commissioner, Oliver Orok, had yet to report for work. He subsequently directed the defaulting Commissioners to be summarily locked out of their offices.