Ayade’s budget of kinetic Crystallization is delusion – Eyo Ekpo

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Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State betrayed his emotions and shed passionate tears as he signed into law the state’s 2018 budget. Weighing in at a hefty N1.3 trillion, the colossal fiscal outlay for the year 2018 more than triples the budget provisions for the previous year which stood at much smaller N301 billion. For comparison, Lagos State posted a slightly smaller budget for 2018 with N1.046 trillion; up from the previous year’s N821 billion. But, that’s Lagos now, isn’t it?
When compared, Lagos State, a stalwart of the Nigerian Federation and powerhouse of the economy routinely breaks records when making budgetary provisions for its territory. A “budget of progress and development” presented by that State’s governor for 2018 clocked in at N1.046 trillion. And – in accordance with global statutory standards that are regrettably but usually despised in these climes – the kernels of such documents were available for public and legislative scrutiny before being signed into law. Basically, it is a readily available critique of the present income-expenditure argument on the State while taking considerations with recommendations from the past against the future.
Remarking on the passage of the budget, Governor Ben Ayade remarked “This is the first trillion naira budget by a State Government in the annals of Nigerian history, and therefore it is unique and ambitious and intended to decouple the state from dependence on the Federation account.”
“The philosophy behind the budget is the spirit of ‘we can do it’ and creates a new vista, thinking and horizon that would take us out of the woods. It is high time we put an end to the civil service status mentality we have found ourselves by thinking outside the box.”
“This is epochal in the history of the state and the nation as it is the first to pass the N1 trillion mark in the nation among the states,” he also noted.
The gargantuan budget, dubbed “Budget of Kinetic Crystallization” was described by the governor as being meant to crystallize what the state had achieved in the past two years of his administration.
He also indicated that the size of the budget was expected to create room for potential investors in the state’s (or his) signature projects, namely the superhighway and deep sea port projects.
Amidst the tears and the ink, the flamboyant professor governor strongly enjoined the government, stakeholders and people of the state to commit themselves to fervent prayers in order to fully realize and effectively implement the record-breaking budget.
But breaking down in tears over an ambitious and vague N1.3 trillion “Budget of Kinetic Crystallization” and then handing over the signed document to a member of the clergy to invoke Divine abracadabra is a reprehensible drama to hoodwink the easily swayed and weak minded.
The value of those tears and the economy-class emotions on show for those of paler constitutions would perhaps be of more substance if the administration had taken the trouble to properly elucidate on the contents of such a contentious fiscal misadventure and how it managed to get approval. It doesn’t require genius-level intellect to know that one should not spend beyond one’s income.
How does the administration justify the outrageous jump in budget from N301 billion in 2017 to N1.3 trillion in 2018? How does the government of Cross River State – still reeling from a critical dent in revenue after forfeiting most of its crude oil production to neighbouring Akwa Ibom State following the resolution of a lengthy border dispute – plan to finance this bizarre fiscal instrument with its meager internally generated revenue (IGR) (N13.56 billion in 2015, N13.54 billion in 2016, N14.77 billion in 2017) and a Federal allocation of about N68 billion in 2017?
And by which clergy shall the state be absolved of its staggering external debt of $115 million (Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) estimate, fourth highest among states in Nigeria)?
Predictably, reactions trailing the signing of the budget have been overwhelmingly negative, with the chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Pastor Sunday Michael saying: “We hereby advise the Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade to withdraw his unrealistic, childish and fraudulent Kinetic Crystallization Budget of N1.3 trillion.” Pastor Sunday Michael also accused the State House of Assembly of colluding with the governor in presenting the record budget without first conducting the mandatory performance review of the previous year’s budget.
We now have a situation where the legislature, which is supposed to act as a balance against executive rascality, is now enabling a reckless governor to play on the intelligence of Cross Riverians.
Enough is enough. The budget of any individual, organization, national or sub-national entity is a serious document that shows what the priorities of that entity are. Based on that, the 2018 budget of Cross River is a joke that is no longer funny. This used to be a state noted for its responsible government, but has now become the plaything of the governor and his brother, and the icing on the cake is this ridiculous budget.
The only way to reward Ben Ayade is to send him into political retirement in March 2019. It is urgent for Cross Riverians to stand up and prevent the state from going further into ruin. Another four years of this kinetic delusion will be too much for this state to bear.

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