By Ngozi Ekhator
Barely 24 hours after Cross River Governor, Ben Ayade visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Villa, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) organised a “massive” stakeholders’ meeting in Calabar to reassure it’s members that it remained solidly on the ground in the state.
The party in mocking the governor over his sudden exit from the party, said: “It is only those with something to hide that look for where to hide”.
The PDP also shook off the shock of the defection of Gov Ben Ayade to the APC, saying “with or without the governor, the state remains a PDP state.”
At the stakeholders’ meeting held in Calabar Saturday, National Vice-Chairman South-south (PDP), Chief Dan Orbih, vowed that the party would take back the government of the state from the APC.
He reminded the stakeholders of what happened in the neighbouring Akwa-Ibom State when former governor Akpabio left with his people to the APC but lost all elections in the state.
Orbih said: “Let me declare here that the South South is PDP with or without Gov. Ayade.
“Flowing from this visit, we will take your message back to the National Headquarters that the party in this state is strong and highly determined to reclaim the government of Cross River.
“I am happy with what I am seeing here. The South South Zone is a PDP Zone. It must remain so.
“The people of this state have always voted PDP and with your support will continue to vote PDP.
“The decision to take our mandate to another political is indeed unfortunate.
“I drove on the federal road from Rivers to Calabar and I make bold to say it is wicked, uncharitable, insensitive for anybody to leave any political party to join the APC led federal to support the continued neglect and marginalisation the South South Zone.
“I hereby proclaim that as it was in Akwa Ibom when the former Governor Akpabio left with almost every goverment to join APC, they lost the state and he lost his bid to the Senate so shall it be in Cross Rivers.
“We are going to win back our state. Anybody going to contest senate in APC, will loose.
“The time to start the work to reclaim our Govt is now. Let people know the decision to leave is selfish and personal.
“Come to think of it; what is APC bringing to the table? Is it the insecurity, bad roads, non-constitution of the NDDC board, kidnapping of innocent citizens, Boko Haram, the atrocities of Fulani herdsmen, bad roads, the list of failure is long.
“My appeal is that let us close ranks, the time to unite and bring back our govt is now.
“Take the message to the wards that those who have something to hide are looking for a place to hide.
“In the course of wanting to win back the state, You will certainly face challenges, but we shall overcome. God bless you and give us victory.”
Among stakeholders present at the gathering were immediate-past governor of the state, Senator Liyel Imoke, and two PDP Senators – Sandy Onor and Geshaw Bassey.
Also present were five PDP members of the House of Reps, eight PDP members of the state House of Assembly, former Senator Orok Duke, members of the party’s BoT were also present.
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