It has been a season of war of words in Cross River state since the defection of the state governor, Professor Ben Ayade from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC.
While some caucus members of the PDP are arguing that the defection was for the good of the party, the APC members are all chanting songs of victory for gaining grounds in the state. In fact, both parties believe that they have nothing to lose.
Interestingly, the governor’s action seems to have caused no issues at all at the first instance but the game became dicey when he transformed the PDP secretariat in the state to be APC’s secretariat, 24 hours after his defection.
Members of the PDP were irritated with the action. They said the governor had no right to tamper with the property as it rightly belonged to the PDP.
The whole drama has continued to put the state in a state of political anarchy. And this is a clear indication that the the battle line which had its origin long time ago has been drawn between both parties in the state.
Recall that it has been a subject of speculation for over a year that the governor had intentions of dumping the PDP following his grievances against the party.
He showed indications that he will no longer tolerate the undermining of his authority as the governor and by extension, leader of the ruling PDP in the state.
In the mean time, a former governor of the state, Senator Liyel Imoke has vowed that the state will not have a “food on the table” governor in 2023. He said this during a stakeholders/National Assembly Caucus Meeting of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, at Transcorp hotel in Calabar .
Imoke who berated those making insinuation that he collected 2 billion naira to install a governor before leaving office added that it was an Insult to his person as such a thing never happened.
He said: “We are going to return Cross River state to what it was before they scattered it, we remain a PDP state, the movement of one person does not change that fact. Many of the people who are claiming that they have moved have not even really joined but, we are handing over the Party to the youths come 2023.
“We handed over the party thinking that the tradition would be kept, but they failed to keep the tradition, we must stop playing politics with fear, intimidation. Even the courtesy of being informed was never extended to me neither did they consult. They accused me of collecting money to put the governor in place, what an Insult, it’s a very big Insult for anyone to make such accusation.
“The next governor would be a person of integrity, go and tell them that the original PDP is back and the national leadership is firmly behind us, they have not seen anything yet, we have professors of politics and political engineers in our party and seated here today”.
Also speaking during the meeting, senator representing Southern Senatorial district, Gershom Bassey maintained that PDP belongs to everybody.
“PDP belongs to everybody and has built people from scratch and so anybody who wants to pocket the party would not succeed. As a party ,the PDP shall continue to speak truth to the power at all levels including the state and federal”, Bassey said.
On his part, member Representing Ogoja/Yala federal constituency at the National Assembly, Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe averred that he has been vindicated.
His words: “I have been vindicated because I have been at the forefront and I waited for this day. We shall not take the defection for granted. We shall consolidate. The food on the table is a bad slogan because it has been there in the state. Then, our institutions were working and we empowered people without holding a political offices or appointees. We have made a mistake, but we have to correct it now.”
Stakeholders at the meeting include the leader and former Governor, Sen. Liyel Imoke, Hon. Essien Ayi representing Calabar South/Akpabuyo/Bakassil, Etta Mbora that represents Odukpani/Calabar Municipality and Chris Agibe who represents Ikom/Boki federal constituency.
Others are Daniel Asuquo who is representing Akamkpa/Biase federal constituency, Emmanuel Ibeshi,
some members of the state house of Assembly, commissioners and Special Advisers, as well as members of the newly-inaugurated caretaker committee led by former Deputy governor, Efiok Cobham, amongst others.