by crossriverwatch admin
Essien Ayi is a member of the House of Representatives. The lawmaker, who represents Akpabuyo/Bakassi/ Calabar South Federal Constituency, in this interview with journalists in Calabar speaks about activities in Cross River State and how his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, looks good enough to keep its hold on power.
What is your reaction to speculations making the rounds that you and your supporters have concluded plans to defect to the All Progressives Congress?
My attention has been drawn to some text messages making the rounds in Cross River State to the effect that I have concluded arrangements to dump the ruling People’s Democratic Party, of which I remain a founding member in the state, to defect to the All Progressives Congress with my teeming supporters and loyalists.
To the best of my knowledge, this rumour and the accompanying text messages are the handiwork of some political desperadoes and unscrupulous elements who will stop at nothing to achieve their selfish aim.
Let me restate for the purpose of posterity that I remain a pillar of strength for the PDP in the state and country at large. Over the years, I have been consistent in my commitment to the party which I, along with a few others, laboured to nurture from the cradle.
I use this opportunity to call on my supporters to discountenance the said text messages and wicked rumour and to keep faith with the PDP which has faithfully delivered democratic dividends in the state since 1999 till date. They should not waver for any reason or allow themselves to be enticed nor misled by elements who neither mean well for them or the state.
I must reemphasize that I have never conceived nor considered the option of leaving the PDP and will never be associated with such. PDP remains the party for Cross River and the best option for us all.
Though there have been a lot of pressure from opposition parties for me to join them, I want my supporters to remain calm for it shall not happen and it is not going to happen for now.
If such a thing would happen, I would duly inform everybody. So for now, nothing like that is happening and I want to debunk that because I have been receiving a lot of messages and calls. I have seen the text message saying I am defecting with 2,000 of my supporters. For now I don’t think there is any cause for action.
The new national chairman is trying to put things in place and to correct a lot of wrong doings that has been in the party, and I think we should give him a chance to nurture the party to the PDP that we used to know. He is a man of peace. Trying to reconcile and bring everybody back is good, and we should support. I don’t see him as someone who is power drunk though he has been a governor for two terms. I see him as a calm person who means well for the party. Since he assumed office, he has been touring the country trying to speak with those who left angrily.
People like former heads of state and so on, trying to reach out to everybody. He said the problem of PDP is imposition. He is trying to make sure that real democracy is practised in PDP. Imposition is put aside. I believe that he is doing the right thing because this is democracy and we should encourage and support him so he can once again make PDP the number one party.
Can you elaborate more on why you have confidence in the new national chairman of the PDP?
Like I told you a lot of people were angry with the way the former chairman was handling affairs in the party. A lot of people left the party because I believe he was not handling the situation well. People were drifting and leaving and you were not doing anything about it. We lost five governors, in the House of Representatives we lost 37 members and you are saying that all is well. Then there must be something wrong.
That is why I said the approach of the new chairman has calmed a lot of nerves. People who were even angry and left are having a rethink. He is reaching out to everybody and preaching peace.
I think it will be a difficult task because of the time frame. But, if everybody rallies around him, he will achieve. I was personally worried as a person at the way we were going. Had we allowed it to continue along that path, I am afraid of what would have happened.
Don’t you think that the speculation that you are decamping stems from a statement you issued sometime ago that you and others were being seriously wooed by the APC?
If somebody says I want you to join my party and you have not agreed to join, does that mean you have accepted and agreed to join? No. I am saying that they have wooed some of us, but we have not taken that decision. But for someone to send text messages saying so and so date I am defecting, it is false. I cannot tell you that we are not being wooed. We are. But we have not taken such decision. That does not mean the opposition are not trying to woo us.
So, what do you have to say about the registration exercise of the APC?
You are just telling me now because I cannot substantiate it. I just came back. I am not an APC member so I cannot substantiate that. APC is made up of three or four defunct parties who decided to merge. Some may be having different cards and decided to merge. So, those members would like to have their APC cards and I think that is what they are doing. I don’t know about the turnout because I am not a member of their party. But I believe PDP is predominant.
Are you contemplating defecting from the APC?
For now I am not contemplating. There is no reason for that now. One cannot pre-empt. But for now, there is no reason I should defect.
The national chairman in his speech said the main problem of the party has been imposition and maybe the imposition of unpopular candidates. If you go and put an unpopular candidate against the wish of the people, you will lose. That is it. In this era of one man, one vote and carry run is a thing of the past, if you put an unpopular candidate you will lose. But if you put a candidate that is acceptable you will win. If you put an acceptable candidate it makes your job easier.
Whom would you attribute the text messages to?
The text messages are works of opponents and detractors who may want you to clash with your party. We have seen a lot of all this work of our detractors. If I want to quit, I would let everyone know. But for now I am not going anywhere, and I do not have a reason to do so.
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