ATTN: CHIEF (BARR) UTUM ETENG CHIEF (BARR) OKOI OFEM OBONO-OBLA OBLA, RE: REQUEST FOR A C.T.C OF THE 2016 BUDGET PROPOSALS AND SPEECH PRESENTED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, GOV. BENEDICT AYADE ON OCTOBER 26, 2015

Houz of AssemblyWhile I appreciate your concerns in the above titled letter (on Facebook) to the Speaker and members of the Cross River State House of Assembly, I am still not aware if this letter was formally sent to the House of Assembly before it became public on the social media.

I sincerely find it disturbing that the letter which is not an open letter (not boldly indicated so) addressed specifically to the Speaker of the House of Assembly and members would be displayed on the cyber space for people to begin to debate or remark upon where as such letter was yet to reach its addressee, so much so that the Speaker’s attention was drawn to it on the social media. This is not only unfair to the House but it is also very inappropriate. More so, one is tempted to begin to think that perhaps the letter was laced with a ‘below the surface’ intention to discredit the 8th Cross River Legislature, puncture the huge goodwill of the people for the House and then bring its reputation to disrepute. However, let me limit my conscience to the surface intention of the letter which I find patriotic, altruistic and not self-serving.

Your request for CTC shall be obliged following due process and only after the Speaker acknowledges the receipt of your letter and communicates same to the House for consideration.
From the construction of your letter, it appears clearly you already have what you seek from the House as your claims or posers did not emanate from the air.

However, on the issues raised in the letter, I wish to make the following submission as follow:
1. That the 8th Cross River State House of Assembly is and cannot be a rubber stamp of the Executive.

2. That as a separate arm of government elected to represent the people; we primarily concern ourselves with providing legal frameworks to guide and ensure good governance of the state.

3. That we are not policy makers or formulators and therefore do not have direct input in the budget preparation process and cannot also exercise any powers in this direction.

4. That the House can only act on the Budget only after it has been presented to it and not before.

5. That it is only upon presentation before the House and following deliberations, that the House can take cognizance of the issues you raised and ask questions why certain aspects are the way they are.

6. That the House can only during and after budget defence (which will feature stakeholders in the budget process) exercise the powers to retain or strike off whatever insertions found to be obnoxious and not in the interest of the state or any section that does not conform to established fiscal policy or laws of the state.

7. That the House is bond by the constitution and therefore cannot go contrary to constitutional provision by exerting undue pressure or interference in in budget preparation processes which is an exclusive preserve of the executive.

8. That no provision in the constitution makes it mandatory that the governor must present 25 copies of the appropriation bill before the House to cover all members, neither did the governor leave the hallowed chamber of the Cross River State House without laying the Bill before the House.

9. That just as the President went about the budget process without any input from a minister of finance due to none then, so did the governor go about with that of the state which I find does not violate any constitutional provision.

While thanking you for your concerns and the active interest in the affairs of the state, I wish to conclude that the 8th Cross River Legislature is for the people and the interest of the state and therefore, cannot afford to compromise its integrity or trample upon the mandate of the people it is holding in trust. Be rest assured that the House will investigate the issues raised and as well exercise due diligence on the appropriation bill.

Thank you and please accept the assurances of Mr Speaker’s esteemed regards.

Azogor Ideba
Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker

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