A former attorney general of Cross River State, Attah Ochinke has said the decision of the state governor, Ben Ayade to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, is going to cause huge turnaround for the PDP.
Ochinke spoke with CHIEMEKA ADINDU, saying he is going to work in his capacity as a member of the newly inaugurated caretaker committee of the PDP to ensure the rebranding of the party in the state.
You have just been selected as one of the caretaker committee members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the state… (Cuts in)
Yes I have heard about my being selected and included in the caretaker committee of the party. I will wholeheartedly accept that responsibility and I will work with the chairman of the committee and other members of the committee and other party members to rebuild the party.
Now what do you have to say about the defection of the governor to the All Progressives Congress, APC?
We, members of the Peoples Democratic Party did not support the decamping of the governor. We gave him a mandate, Cross River is PDP, Cross River is unapologetically PDP; we gave him a mandate to deliver on the programmes and policies of the party and now he has absconded with that mandate to the APC. Of course, we would not be happy about that but the people of Cross River State and PDP will reorganize and look for the next opportunity to deliver another mandate to another person.
Where do you think the party got it wrong which made the governor to take this decision?
I think that the governor got it wrong, not the party because the governor himself said his decamping does not have anything to do with disagreement with the party and that his decamping is basically for him to support and work with the president. So it cannot be due to the party getting anything wrong. He is the one that got it wrong because you don’t have to move over to the president’s party to be able to work with the president or support the president; you don’t have to be in the same party with the president.
In what ways do you think this action will affect the political terrain of the state?
I cannot pretend that his action will not affect the dynamics. What I am certain of is that it will not affect the outcome. PDP in preparing for the next election will have to contemplate with the fact that there is a sitting governor who is not from the party. Of course that is going to impact on the dynamics of the party but what we will work towards as a party is to ensure that whatever unfolding dynamics, it does not affect the outcome.
You speak with so much confidence, that the PDP will still come back to its feet in the state. Now, the governor decamped with thousands of his appointees, doesn’t it bother you that it’s going to be difficult to reclaim this mandate?
Yea, I don’t know how many appointees you think the governor decamped with, but if you check the number of appointees that the governor decamped versus the population of Cross River state you will begin to understand where my confidence is coming from because a lot of those appointees are even going to lose their political relevance by virtue of the misadventure with which they have now indulged in. So not all of them are assets, a lot of them are liabilities and you should also contemplate that APC is not going to be stronger because the governor has joined them. You know APC nationally, especially APC in Cross River State has been in a loggerhead, has never been in a peaceful leadership organization. So the governor going there with his own brand of politics may not necessarily be an asset with APC, it may not add to the organization and management or repositioning of APC. So, PDP may actually stand to benefit from the decamping of the governor to the APC.