Ayade was seen weeping in a video which has since gone viral, lamenting the plight of some of the rural poor and low-income earners who are faced with the tax burden in Cross River state.
While inaugurating the Anti-Tax agency headed by Bishop Emma Isong on Thursday, the Governor said that he is sad that residents of the state are still expected to pay tax despite their needs not been met by the government.
Governor Ayade also condemned the actions of some government officials who forcefully collect tax from the poor.
He insisted that the poor must be protected and therefore charged the new Anti-Tax Agency to ensure that ‘the poor’ are exempted from paying tax.
Why would we expect that people who don’t have scholarship for their children, who don’t have good schools?. They struggle to pay; struggle with the uniform; struggle to have security in their small businesses and struggle to get water with their boreholes.
They struggle with generators and government is providing almost nothing. To come back to such people and tax them; I think this is the greatest injustice.
Ayade as he broke down in tears stressed;
I never knew that five years into office as governor, I would still find somebody who would live in a thatched house in Cross River State. I almost cried because I knew how prepared I was. But it didn’t end the way I dreamt for the state. I just think that somewhere, God will just help them. I really wish I can really help.
Cross River Governor speaking to members of the agency which comprises of Christian cleric said;
We charge you to ensure that the poor masses of Cross River State and the small business owners do not come under the harsh hands of the desperate search for money by tax consultants.
Watch video below;
What’s your take on this “post COVID-19” tax palliative by Governor Ben Ayade? pic.twitter.com/QnJrZdcGmF
— Yomi Olugbenro (@YomiOlugbenro) May 21, 2020
However, mixed reactions have trailed this new development, as some question the sustainability of the program. Others however praised the Governor for his empathy towards the poor and implored other governors to emulate the initiative.
See mixed reactions below;
Cross River people I really don’t know why your governor is not trending for every good reason by now, I saw this video by @ben_ayade and I am more than surprised to see that we still have such a good man at the helms of affairs. @ben_ayade God will continue to bless you pic.twitter.com/5F95o8ER0P
— Lacuna (@adelacuna001) May 21, 2020
I don’t trust a politician that sheds tears on national TV let alone the meristematic Ben Ayade.
Oya just offer those small businesses tax exemption and go, what’s with all the theatrics?
— Adunni Achebe (@_Adadioramma) May 22, 2020
— Laurel’s (@adetoyeee) May 22, 2020
After watching Ben Ayade “crying” video, some of his ideas became clear to me.
I used to get angry anytime I see ” Ben Ayade appointed another 250 Special Assistants”. Lol.
It became clear to me now that Ayade is only trying to provide jobs for his people.
— Premier (@SodiqTade) May 22, 2020
Gov Ben Ayade, you need not retort to tears, your sensitivity speaks volumes of your concern for the poorest in the social ladder. Redefining your tax regime with legal structure is the most exceptional and empowering scheme a govt can offer its people. You’re exceptional.
— Borve Paago-Imabel (@borve100) May 22, 2020
I am not falling for Ben Ayade’s camera tears while announcing “an end to illegal taxing of people”.
It’s purely an image laundering stunt that is five years too late!
— ‘Fisayo Soyombo (@fisayosoyombo) May 22, 2020
Ben Ayade weeps as he exempts “the poor” from paying taxes. 🙄
With what he did to Agba Jalingo, he should go ahead and cry me a river, it won’t change the fact that he’s a baby tyrant.
— AyeMojubar 😷 (@ayemojubar) May 21, 2020
All rise for Gov Ben Ayade of Cross Rivers State
Dear nemerous task forces in Rivers State, take note
God bless you, sir
This is how to be Governor
Your tears are real, not like one president I know, who used mentholatum to rub his eyes to induce fake tears pic.twitter.com/L5unar5uOe
— NIK Dust As I Am (@NIK60926323) May 21, 2020
Ben Ayade the crying 😭😭😭 Governor.
Nothing Abacha money no go see for federal government hand 😂😂😂
Set Awon Stage play pic.twitter.com/qvOjEFB1J7
— Paschal Albert (@CallMePaschal) May 22, 2020
TALK IS CHEAP. Let’s see the actual work.
With the level of irregularities in our taxation system, let’s hope this plan can be successfully executed.
Not withstanding, Prof Ben Ayade has good initiatives which majority of Nigerian leaders lack. pic.twitter.com/dA4Rkq2g6C
— ThePoliticalEnthousiaste (@P_Enthousiaste) May 22, 2020
So Mr. Ben Ayade thinks that his crocodile tears is what is most important for the people of Cross Rivers state at this very challenging times.
Facts stand tall and neither hypocrisy nor crocodile tears (no matter the volume) can wash them away.
— Mayor of Port Harcourt (@Okparaoluchris) May 22, 2020
People will say Ben Ayade is crying crocodile tear. Personally,I don’t think crying on set gives you a straight pass in assuming the role of an efficient Governor, all you have to do is work like Seyi Makinde and applauds will rain on you.
— MaziOlisa Rn✍🏽🦁 (@nee_dles) May 22, 2020
— francis ogban (@OgbanFrancis) May 21, 2020
Dear Lord, I know you have more people like Gov. Ben Ayade! By your power bring them forth to the seats of governance and back them up with like-minded people to lift and uphold humanity in the fear of the Lord. In Jesus Name. Amen! #stopcovidscam #BenAyade #goodgovernance pic.twitter.com/DPRWvQBcYM
— izedomi emmanuel (@IzedomiE) May 22, 2020