By Anthony Uwadiegwu
The Catholic Bishop of Uyo Diocese, John Ayah, has explained why he shunned Governor Ben Ayade’s largesse during a Thanksgiving mass held on Sunday in Calabar.
At the mass held on Sunday at St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Ikot-Ansa, Calabar, Bishop Ayah, openly rejected the governor’s package of N25m to the amazement of the congregation.
The thanksgiving mass was for Justice Emmanuel Akomaye, who was recently moved up the rank of a judge of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
ThisNigeria learnt that Ayade, who was the special guest of honour, had been invited to donate in support of the church’s 2022 harvest unveiling, and the governor made a donation of N25m on behalf of the state government, his family, and the judiciary.
Ayade said, “You are our pride, the pride of Cross River North, the son of the soil, Bishop John Ayah, I will whisper my package to you later.”
In his response the Bishop told the governor that he wanted to speak, describing the governor as his brother from northern Cross River.
“I want to talk. The governor is my brother, we are both from Cross River North. I want to thank the governor and tell him to package whatever he has for me, add to it and use it to pay the salaries of the workers,” Bishop Ayah said.
The Bishop received a thunderous ovation from the congregation and everyone, which took minutes to die down for his bold move to reject the governor’s gesture.
A parishioner, who spoke with ThisNigeria under the condition of anonymity, said the governor immediately went back to the podium to defend himself.
According to him, governor Ayade defended his stewardship in the state, saying his administration had been faithful, and consistent in the payment of salaries for over seven years.
“The people will appreciate Ben Ayade when he leaves office,” the governor was quoted to have said.