Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State betrayed his emotions and shed passionate tears as he signed into law the state’s 2018 budget. Weighing in at a hefty N1.3 trillion, the colossal fiscal outlay for the year 2018 more than triples the budget provisions for the previous year which stood at much smaller N301 billion. For comparison, Lagos State posted a slightly smaller budget for 2018 with N1.046 trillion; up from the previous year’s N821 billion. But, that’s Lagos now, isn’t it? When compared, Lagos State, a stalwart of the Nigerian Federation and powerhouse of the economy routinely breaks records when making budgetary provisions for its territory.
A “budget of progress and development” presented by that State’s governor for 2018 clocked in at N1.046 trillion. And, in accordance with global statutory standards that are regrettably but usually despised in these climes – the kernels of such documents were available for public and legislative scrutiny before being signed into law. Basically, it is a readily available critique of the present income-expenditure argument on the State while taking considerations with recommendations from the past against the future.
Remarking on the passage of the budget, Governor Ben Ayade remarked “This is the first trillion naira budget by a State Government in the annals of Nigerian history, and therefore it is unique and ambitious and intended to decouple the state from dependence on the Federation account.
“The philosophy behind the budget is the spirit of ‘we can do it’ and creates a new vista, thinking and horizon that would take us out of the woods. It is high time we put an end to the civil service status mentality we have found ourselves by thinking outside the box.
“This is epochal in the history of the state and the nation as it is the first to pass the N1 trillion mark in the nation among the states,” he also noted.
The gargantuan budget, dubbed “Budget of Kinetic Crystallization” was described by the governor as being meant to crystallize what the state had achieved in the past two years of his administration.
He also indicated that the size of the budget was expected to create room for potential investors in the state’s (or his) signature projects, namely the superhighway and deep sea port projects.
Amidst the tears and the ink, the flamboyant professor-governor strongly enjoined the government, stakeholders and people of the state to commit themselves to fervent prayers in order to fully realize and effectively implement the record-breaking budget.
But breaking down in tears over an ambitious and vague N1.3 trillion “Budget of Kinetic Crystallization” and then handing over the signed document to a member of the clergy to invoke divine abracadabra is a reprehensible drama to hoodwink the easily swayed and weak minded.