By Ike Uchechukwu
Cross River State governor, Prof. Ben Ayade has donated 54 Sports Utility Vehicles, SUVs, to Council officials across the 18 Local Areas in the state.
Vanguard learned that the SUVs comprise 18 Ford Edge to the 18 Chairmen of Councils, 18 Ford Escape to the Vice Chairmen of Council and 18 Ford Ecosport to the leaders of Legislative Council across the state.
Flagging off the distribution of the vehicles, Gov Ben Ayade represented by his deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu urged them to make effective use of the vehicles in ensuring that they carry out their duties judiciously.
He said the governor is prudent in managing resources as reflected in the provision of the vehicles and stressed the need for prudent management council resources.
His words: “It’s not about giving cars, what is happening is important at this time we are now. With zero allocation, COVID-19 and the economic crisis, if we were to rely on federal allocation even salaries will not be paid.
“The governor is prudent in managing our resources if this was not the case the cars will not be provided at this time, so kindly make use of the cars judiciously in an effective manner”, he said.
Speaking further he tasked them to make the most of this and be grateful to the efforts of government in meeting their mobility needs.
On her part, the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Stella Odey said the vehicles were purchased through the JAAC Accounts in line with NFIU regulations.
She said the governor kept fund for the use of the Councils before their election and emphasized that it’s a tradition to provide mobility for council officials.
She said: “The cars are not free gifts, they were purchased through the JAAC Accounts and going by NFIU regulations, they were procured by the Chairmen themselves and the funds came through their individual local government accounts.
“The governor kept funds for them even before they came in and that’s why we have been able to purchase the cars.
“It is their entitlement because it has always been a practice that the Chairmen of council considering the exigencies of office deserves mobility, so it’s standard practice and we are glad it has been fulfilled ” , she said.
Responding on behalf of the Chairmen, the Executive Chairman of Akpabuyo LGC, Emmanuel Offiong Bassey commended the state government for solving the mobility needs of council Chairmen.
He assured that the local government officials will make effective use of the vehicles in carrying out their duties as well as serving the people.