Since the dawn of the current democratic dispensation in Cross River State, the name Frank Ayade, younger brother of the state Governor, Senator Ben Ayade has been synonymous to anything illegal and unacceptable going on in the state. This ranges from his undue interference in government activities, parading the streets with sirens, security details and vehicles with flag like the governor.
Also, the name is strongly associated with the mismanagement of the States funds especially the bail out funds which the federal government granted States including Cross River.
His wife drives on convoy and illegally parades herself as the first lady of the state. At some point, it was rumoured that her unusual desperation to usurp the power of the first lady from the quite, intelligent and well coordinated Governor’s wife, Dr. Linda Ayade was seriously planned and supported by her husband, Frank.
Besides, even Frank’s brother, the governor did and has not helped the situation. He (Governor) goes about announcing that his brother is a co-governor with the powers to make policies and take decision on his behalf. He has reportedly sent him to represent him in some official functions.
Of course, it’s not strange to Cross Riverians that Ayade created the office of a co-governor to accommodate his brother because he has a history of creating illegal, unnecessary and unusual offices to serve his ego and purposes only him can explain. Example of one of such is the defunct Green Police.
However, this illegality of having a co-governor or a person who was never elected preside over the affairs of the state was cut to size through a petition by the state fierce critic and whistleblower, Ifere Paul to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on the misappropriation of the bailout funds. Ifere alleged in his petition that the bailout funds was illegally and fraudulently moved to Frank’s personal account.
Frank was arrested by the EFCC and detained for some days before he was granted executive bial by the anti-graft agency. Although the investigation is ongoing and it’s expected that Frank would be prosecuted if found guilty, the simple fact that “almighty” co-governor was grilled excited Cross Riverians and forced the brother to call him to order.
However, as attention on him gradually faded away, he has quietly resurfaced and this time in a more desperate and aggressive mood. He has become unbearable and too influential for a man without any known government portfolio.
Apart from moving huge amounts of money around town especially in the contentious tailoring shop (garment factory), he has developed the habit of using his security details to harass people around on sites.
While other governors in the country move to sites with their Commissioners for works to inspect projects, in Cross River, the governor is seen everywhere with his brother inspecting projects that are ironically handled by the two of them. It seems Frank is the only certified contractor to handle all government projects.
During the construction of the garment factory, Cross Riverians were cajoled to believing that the project was awarded to any known contractor. But findings have revealed that the government through Frank applied direct labour which was strictly coordinated and supervised by him.
This scenario is currently repeating itself in the ongoing misplaced rice city and Cali-Pharm projects. While the public are made to believe that the jobs are handled by qualified contractors, investigation has revealed that Frank has hijacked the whole process.
The most surprising thing is that apart from the fact that Frank himself has no engineering or construction background, he has decided to use quacks to do jobs that has gulfed billions of taxpayers money. One “Dan” who studied education in the university is who Frank is using as his chief engineer; this is how bad the state blessed with so many quality engineers have degenerated to.
This development has left political watchers with so many unanswered questions like; is Frank, a sociologist the only contractor in Cross River State? Is Frank occupying any office Cross Riverians are yet to know? Why is Frank always in the rice city and Cali-Pharm sites harassing labourers? Why has the state stopped using experienced and qualified contractors for projects? These and many more questions have been left unanswered.
It is so pathetic that in Cross River, Frank has also usurped the job of the Commissioner for works. How a man who has no office but has become more influential to the point that he control and inspect all government projects (Although almost all the projects are misplaced and aimed at syphoning from the state coffers) has left people pondering.
If Cross River state must work, well meaning Cross Riverians must openly condemn the commercialization of government projects and activities by the Ayades. Cross River state government must not be reduced to a stock exchange venture for Ayade and his brother.
The fraudulent and open interference of Frank in government activities which has been allowed to go on unabated is an embarrassment and a huge blow on the sensitivity of entire Cross Riverians.
It is rumoured that he has been discreetly making appointments. He allegedly made over 200 appointments few months ago without the knowledge of his brother. The governor only got the information when the wage bill of government appointees skyrocketed astronomically. Rather than reverse the appointments or warn Frank to steer clear of government activities, He (Ayade )vented his frustration on the Secretary to the State Government, Barr Tina Agbor for documenting Frank’s appointees.
While literally the SGF May be wrong but she can’t be crucified because Ayade can’t start solving the problem from the surface. He needs to get to the root because he gave his brother such powers and has ordered all his appointees to respect Frank’s decision as the co-governor.
Ayade has done the state enough harm; arrogantly and unruly handing over power to his younger brother should not be tolerated.
The Governor should as a matter of necessity call him to order. Frank’s feathers must be cut shot to allow government officials who were appointed or elected to do their jobs base on their jurisdictions.
Cross Riverians want to see the governor on inspection visit with the Commissioner for works and deputy governor as the case may be not Frank. The state should not reduced to “Ayades” affairs where only two people are in control of everything.
The government can achieve more when the right people with experience and expertise are allowed to function maximally.