By Christiana Ekpa
The People Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River State has disclosed that Governor Ben Ayade’s defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) will cost the state government over N2billon.
Disclosing this during a press conference in Calabar, the Chairman of Caretaker Committee, Effiok Cobham said, “This is what Ayade needs to buy defectors from even his cabinet to follow him to the APC. Even this filthy lucre put forward by Governor Ayade is not enough to compel obedience as several commissioners from his cabinet, and a majority of members of the House of Assembly and other political office holders rejected the Greek gift to stay with the party (PDP)
He alleged that gov Ayade’s cabinet is being offered 3 million naira and a car each to defect to the APC, Local government chairmen and councillors are under threat of removal from office unless they defect.
“All appointees of the governor have been instructed to produce their APC membership cards before they can receive salaries.
“Governor Ayade can readily expend 2 billion naira to fund his defection to APC because he has ready cash, the almost 19 billion naira recently paid to Cross River state as a refund for the federal road maintenance undertaken by the PDP administrations of Governors Donald Duke and Llyel Imoke.
“Governor Ayade has refused to declare this money to the people of Cross River State and is frittering it away on purposes other than the common good of Cross Riverians.)
“We call on Governor Ayade to declare this 19 billion which is the single largest revenue flow to Cross River State since the creation of the state and to apply same in infrastructures like rural roads, urban road network and water which benefits the common man.
“We are all embarrassed that governor Ayade inherited the best public water supply systems developed by the PDP
administrations of Governors Donald Duke and Liyel Imoke across the state, and has allowed them today to all fall into disrepair. Our people have gone back to streams and wells for water.
He said that Governor Ayade’s exuberance to impress the APC leadership has led him down this path of impunity, Illegality and flagrant abuse of the mandate of the people of Cross River State.
“But as Governor Ayade plunders the state ostensibly to please the APC, we notice the deafening silence from the national leadership of the APC.
”Silence means acquiescence; an endorsement of the shenanigans being perpetrated on behalf of the APC by Governor Ayade. The people of Cross River State now know how the APC intends to run the affairs of the state and are getting ready for the worst”.
In his reaction, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Governor Ayade, Christian Ita, said that Cross River PDP’s reaction is sour grapes, falsehood over Ayade’s defection.
In a statement made available to journàlists on Wednesday, Ita said “There is no doubt that it will take the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Cross River State ages to overcome the shock and trauma suffered following the exit of His Excellency, Governor Ben Ayade from the party.
“This can be gleaned from the party’s latest press conference and other ones preceding it. While we cannot deny them the right to cry over the already spilt milk, they should, however, not be blind to see.
“The continuous griping of the PDP shows clearly how much of an asset Ayade was to the party, hence they can’t get over his exit.
“As much as the PDP has tried in their febrile attempts to tar Ayade with an uncomplimentary brush, we wish to remind them that it cannot be forgotten in a hurry, their various knee-jerk approaches to make the governor stay, including sending their governors as emissaries to beg him not to leave their party?
“We are aware that the PDP has commissioned a media campaign of misinformation against the Governor but such campaign is already dead on arrival.
“We wish to remind the PDP that those who live in glass houses should be wiser not to hurl stones.
“While still reeling from Ayade’s masterstroke, the almost emptied PDP has been busy shopping for lies to confuse its sagging coterie of followers and at the same time flattering to deceive.”