By Jonathan Ugbal
Former Commissioner for Environment in Cross River State and Senatorial candidate of the Labor party in central Cross River on the platform of the Labor Party (LP) in the 2015 general elections, Sandy Onoh has return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Onoh, alongside his supporters was received into the party at the Transcorp Metropolitan hotel by the PDP state executive, big wigs including former Deputy Governor Efiok Cobham, two former state Chairmen of the PDP as well as Frank Ayade, the younger brother to the Governor Ben Ayade who said he went on an inspection and has returned.
“Dr. Sandy Onoh was only out for inspection, what is expected of a man who goes out for inspection,” Frank asked with wide smiles and chuckling in between and was replied by the crowd present; “You will return.”
Turning to Mr. Onoh, he said that: “The people of Cross River State love you, everyone gathered here loves you and respect you, we are your brothers.”
And, Onoh while addressing those present, likened Governor Ayade to the biblical Joseph and pledged to work with the party from the ward to the state level.
He continued: “If we look at the story of his personal life, there is no reason why we should not be confident and optimistic that he will do well in public space. After all as Colin Powell tells us; perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”
Onoh who warned against the degeneration into cynicism as that was not the right path to go but a relentless cooperative movement and advise also added that: “Like Ben Ayade like Joseph, he dreams big, you doubt him, the manifestation of his dreams will come and hunt you. The point I am making is that of you are not a dreamer like Ben, please at least believe him, cooperate with him, give him support. That is all that I am asking of Cross Riverians.
“If we give him support and the right encouragement, I trust looking at his private life that he will be able to transform these dreams from the podium of idealism to the mountain top of actualization.”
Onoh said he was “constrained to leave this party, my family,” and pointed out that his departure and that of several others across the country led to a non palatable outcome at the last general elections but quickly added that the party was only going through normal growth circumstances and maintained that his return was premised on the fact that he supports the rebranding of the party and will not derail anybody’s ambition.
“Let me make this point; every individual, every corporate organization must encounter vicissitudes in life, you must make some mistakes so it is not peculiar to the PDP.
“The PDP since then has agreed to rebrand, to re-strategize, to reposition, to revalidate and I am a believer in this rebranding process, that is why I am here today. I am back to the party and proudly back.
“Let me also very quickly, thank my leaders, my brothers and sisters who stayed back to steady the ship of party, to hold the fort so that on returning we can still find a healthy home, I am very grateful to all of you.
“Politics is very interesting, like life itself so I have to say this very clearly that I have not come to undermine anybody’s authority. I have not come to derail anybody’s ambition. I have come to join everyone, beginning from the ward level to the local government, to the zonal and state level to make this party stronger and better,” he said.
On working with the party’s organs, he said that: “I will cooperate with the leadership in the central under the great Governor Liyel Imoke and other leaders of the central. I will cooperate of course with the leadership of the party in the state.
“This great state chairman here, Ntufam Inok Edim and our digital, supersonic, enigmatic, visionary, charismatic Governor Professor Senator Ben Ayade, I will join him to expand the frontiers of development in Cross River.”
Also, he described Ayade as one “who sees dreams more from the point of the ideal not the actual. Our attitude to them, what we have to say to them is this; In Cross River history, there is a Corpus of evidence that speaks to our togetherness, our camaraderie, our oneness together as a people, our harmony, we can only have one Governor at a time.”
Still on Ayade, Mr. Onoh said posited that across the world, people choose leaders based on their pedigree, personal records and achievements and submitted that: “It is not a question of where you come from, whether the person is my brother or sister. Have we checked out Professor Ben Ayade’s story? If we have checked his story, we should trust him.”
Mr. Onoh had in early 2015 after failing to beat Senator John Owan-Enoh in the PDP primaries to clinch the PDP’s senatorial ticket, defected to the LP and lost in the eventual elections.
But, he said more than two years down the line PDP has remained the only “big and great” party and after mimicking Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari’s ‘De Oza Party’ statement, expressed optimism that the PDP will clinch the Presidency in 2019.
He said: “In this country, even now, there is only one party that is very big and great and that party is the PDP.
“The oza party is a mere conglomeration of disparaged groups that were forced to come into a marriage in 2015. A marriage of opposite forces, united against a common enemy. Little wonder that once they achieved their purpose, they receded back into the crevices from whence they came. So today they are as broken, as broken China in the sun.
“As we proceed towards 2019, be rest assured that properly organized our party shall be coasting to victory because the Egyptians you see today, you shall see them no more.”
Receiving Mr. Onoh, the state Chairman of the party, Mr. Edim Inok said his return was in fulfilment of the charge Governor Ayade had given him and made what looked like a passionate plea to Senator John Owan-Enoh who defected earlier in the year to the All Progressives Congress return also.
“I hereby accept you back and welcome you to the family,” Mr. Edim said and probably addressing Senator Owan-Enoh, he said that: “I will urge our brother, our big brother to come back.”
Edim said Ayade had told him that: “For people to come back to PDP it is in your hands, the state EXCO. The people are not happy because of impunity” and described Mr. Onoh as “a big catch.”
“Because of his capacity that is why we are here, right from Municipality to Yala, many people have come back,” he said, and posited that: “In central, PDP is like family.”
He said this was due to the fact that 95 percent of those they felt will be lost in central stayed back.
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