A group, Cross River Future Leaders Forum (CRFLF) has reacted to the governor’s disclosure today, that the Green Carnival cost the state a N100 million, opining that the governor would have used such money to pay outstanding salaries and still go ahead to plant his one million trees.
The group, while commending the governor for the idea of planting 1,000,000 trees across the state, however, held that with the diminishing financial status of the state, a carnival jamboree was not necessary especially that some workers and even pensioners were still owed their dividends.
In his flag-off speech, today at Botanical Gardens, Calabar, the governor stoutly exposed that “we budgetted a one million naira (N100 mil) for this year’s green carnival event”.
Against this exposure, the Spokesperson of CRFLF, Comrade Benjamin Arikpo, on behalf of group said; “whereas the idea behind the Green Carnival was perfect, the financial implication is something the governor needs to have a rethink on.
“Any right thinking human will commend His Excellency for this sane initiative of planting 1,000,000 trees across the state, but the budget for this exercise is highly condemnable.
“At the moment, our state owes about fifty billion naira debt; in the month of June, some civil servants did not receive their monthly salary; pensioners are owed for more than three years now; secondary school teachers employed under the State Secondary Education Board have not received a dime since resuming work on May, last year; His Excellency also had a lot of pending projects littered all over the state.
“So you see, going by this, it is imperative for the government to, at this point in time and ahead, make only judicious use of every state’s dime. We barely have enough and so, wisdom demands that we spend religiously,” Comrade Benjamin said.
CRFLF also seized the chat to advise the governor to focus more on the welfare of Cross Riverians by ensuring payment of staff’s wages and clearing pensioners arrears; even as they vowed continued support to the Sen. Ben. Ayade’s-led Cross River State Government.