Cross River Politics: Ayade Faces Uphill Task as PDP War Lords Return

The defection of Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State to All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari’s party may be the beginning of his political waterloo in the state’s politics.

Ayade does not have the political clout of the like of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State to take on the political potentates of the state.

The now APC governor from northern Cross River is not quite popular with the way and manner he has been handling the affairs of the state.

The infantile-like politics of Governor Ayade will consume him in the 2023 polls, if the festering security crisis in the country will make room for any credible election.

At the moment, a build up of anti-Ayade political gladiators have started to re-unite and re-align for one of Cross River’s most dangerous politics since 1999. Except the erring governor ‘repents’ and appease the political lords of the state, he is likely to kiss the dust.

Former Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, the incumbent Niger Delta Affairs Minister proudly left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC, boasting to deliver the state to his new party within 15 minutes in the 2019 polls. He was not even able to win back the senatorial seat he occupied in 2015. It is just by the grace of President Buhari that he is still a minister.

During the build-up to the 2015 elections, Transportation Minister, Chibuike Amaechi, as a sitting governor in Rivers, made the same mistake. With all his bragging, he was unable to deliver Rivers to APC. Despite his lame excuses, effectively backed with the Federal might, Wike established one fact. That is, once the political sovereigns are with you, no amount of repression can stop them. Amaechi failed again in 2019.

In Edo State, ex-Governor Adams Oshiomhole, learnt a lesson the hard way that he was not the political god of Edo he was parading himself as. Governor Godwin Obaseki, strongly supported by the combative Governor Wike, silenced the ex-labour leader.

Perhaps, it is the turn of the Show Boy, Ayade, to taste the bitter pills of the people. PDP leaders in the state are already ringing the alarm that some office documents and property are missing at its seized secretariat.

The party’s secretariat was seized and converted to APC colour by the trouble-seeking Governor Ayade on Saturday, May 22, 2021 after he dumped the PDP on Thursday, May 20, 2021.

In a statement in Calabar, the state capital, PDP state caretaker Committee Chairman, Efiok Cobham, a lawyer, is alleging that APC took away some vital documents belonging to the PDP.

Cobham is claiming that Governor Ayade, based on an intelligence report available to them, directed his henchmen to move the documents to unknown destinations just to destabilise the party.

”Following the defection of Governor Ayade to APC, eye witness have earlier today, May 25, 2021 informed the PDP Caretaker committee that vital documents belonging to PDP in the now seized and converted building into an APC Secretariat

”The source confirmed that a white Ford pick up truck without registration number carted the registers and other documents belonging to the PDP out of the secretariat to an unknown destination under the guidance of the police personnel on ground who have taken over the security of the secretariat since Saturday the 22nd of May.

”In other states across the country where governors defect to parties of choice , such trifling conduct has never been seen before, where a governor abuses the powers at his disposal. In a democracy, such impunity is obsolete. Little wonder why the progress of the state is stagnated, this is because one man assumes the god position.

”PDP urged the state to concentrate on its new party and stop fomenting trouble, stressing that the PDP remains formidable anytime any day in Cross River.

”PDP hereby advised the Governor and his cohorts to return the said documents and paraphernalia of the PDP as well as make haste to vacate its secretariat as any damage done to party’s property and documents would be accounted for”, the party said.

While pointing out that the party is using every available means to reclaim its secretariat and we have confidence in doing so, the party chief added, ”our party men and women should remain civil even in the face of severe provocation and wait for further information from the leadership.”

While PDP is battling  to reclaim its secretariat, it is also reaching out to its former founding members to return to the fold for a titanic political battle in the state. Fine boy, Donald Duke, who dominated the affairs of the state from 1999 to 2007 as governor is said to have returned to the trench.  Veteran journalist and ex-Chairman of the party in the state, Ekpo Okon, has equally returned to the party.

Interestingly, Cross River South, going by the zoning arrangement will be producing the state’s governor in 2023. That deal started with Duke. After him, Liyel Imoke from Cross River Central held sawy, and passed the mantle to Ayade in 2015.

In the mean time, Duke has registered at Ward 5 in Calabar Municipality and is expected to be officially received next week by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP. On his part, Ekpo Okon is moving to his ward in Odukpani Local Government Area to register.

The war game is on in Cross River, and the tactical error of Governor Ayade is reuniting power gladiators who are opposed to his seeming infantile politics on the platform of the PDP.

 

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