In Cross River, Ayade, PDP bicker over N100bn embezzlement allegation

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River state and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state are at each other’s jocular over alleged looting of N100 billion from the state coffers.

The PDP, in a press release titled ‘On Ayade’s N100 billion loot and the incoherence of his political vuvuzela,’ had alleged that the governor “looted our state treasury to the tune of over N100 billion, using three private companies, close family members and allies.”

The release, dated January 4, 2022, signed by the party publicity secretary, Mike Ojisi, and made available to our reporter in Calabar, noted that its conclusion was based on an investigative piece carried out and published by a popular online Nigerian news portal.

But, responding through his deputy chief press secretary, Linus Obogo, the governor, in a release with the heading ‘PDP shameless rehash of falsehood,’ described the allegation as ‘beer parlour gossips.’

The release further noted that the online portal which published the said report was instead indicting PDP “chieftains who presided over the affairs of the state as governors during the period in focus.”

It said the online portal, “in executing its hatchet job, had failed to do due diligence by pushing gossip to the public space as a scoop, which the PDP in Cross River now latches onto as its feeding frenzy.”

The release read in part: “the PDP and its partner in fabrication alleged that Ayade was a beneficiary of an alleged 10 million naira drawn with a counter cheque from Hally Brown International Ltd in Zenith Bank on April 9, 2015. The question the party failed to answer is, was Ayade governor in April 2015?

“Again, the alleged transactions between March 2 and 28, 2015 which the PDP suspected to be money laundering, is another clinical example of self-indictment: Ayade was not governor in March 2015. A PDP governor was still sitting in office. The party owes Cross Riverians details of the said transactions.

“On Leophina Works Ltd, the PDP should ordinarily bury its head in shame. It should, however, explain to Cross Riverians who, between 2007 and May 2015 awarded a contract to construct the current office block housing the State House of Assembly members and which company was the beneficiary of the contract.

“We have always known that the PDP and its coven of clowns are adept at copy and paste as they lack the vigour of rigorous research. How it got to this low in advertising raw ignorance on a scale it did beats the imagination.

“A further reinforcement of PDP’s sloth is its ignorance or mischief at peddling falsehood about revenue allocations to states which are published religiously.

“A thorough research would have saved the party the embarrassment of not realising that between May 2015 and December 31st, 2021, Cross River’s net statutory allocation stood at about N115 billion. So, if 100 N billion was allegedly stolen, how was the state able to execute projects, clear pensions, pay salaries and meet other financial obligations?”