By Itiunbe Atunka and Odey Ojeka
The People Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River State has rounded up its statewide visit to aggrieved members with a call for them to remain in the party.
After the party’s primaries, CrossRiverWatch gathered that the Governor, Senator Ben Ayade had constituted a reconciliation team headed by former Deputy Governor, Barrister Efiok Cobham to visit aggrieved members.
“For weeks now, Cobham and his team has visited the aggrieved members in all the local government areas and today, they are in the last one which is Obudu,” a PDP member who simply identified himself as Akomaye told CrossRiverWatch.
The team which consisted of former State Chairman, Ntufam John Okon, Sir Patrick Iwara, Chief Peter Ojie, Mr. Paul Okon and Chief Tony Undiandeye also welcomed returning members who had defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
CrossRiverWatch gathered that the intrigues and horse trading that characterised the primaries of the party had left most of the aspirants contemplating defection.
The running mate of Senator John Owan-Enoh, a factional guber candidate of the APC, Ntufam Ekpo Okon had left after incumbent Senator Gershom Bassey had clinched the ticket with claims that no primaries were held.
However, some were said to have received the outcome in good faith including Mr. KJ Agba whom CrossRiverWatch gathered, was prevailed upon by Governor Ben Ayade to step down for incumbent member representing Obudu/Obanliku/Bekwarra federal constituency, Legor Idagbo.
Mr. Agba had in a statement signed by him, commended his supporters and stressed that the process had left a “sour taste” in the mouths of many even as he expressed optimism for better days.
“We are all aware of the political processes leading to the emergence of candidates in cross River State to vie for various elective positions especially within the PDP that had been very murky with lots of intrigues, betrayals and backstabbing.
“The deliberate manipulations and reign of impunity that characterised the process leading to the primaries sponsored by people in high offices in our land including the top hierarchy of the PDP left a sour taste in our mouth.
“You had been witness to all of these but my Joy had been that, in all of these, you my supporters stood by me and fought like a people with a common purpose to bring justice, fair play, determined to foster unity that guarantees equitable representation in our constituency.
“I cannot thank you enough. You went with me through thick and thin. It may look like the battle is lost, but no my people. They say the one who fights and retreats can only live to fight another day. The quest to liberate our people, the course we all stood for, to make the voice of our constituency more pronounced at the federal level cannot be shortchanged or suppressed by self seeking individuals.
“In the coming days, I shall relate with you and make my position more clear on the way forward. I urge you all therefore to remain steadfast and firm in our resolve to chat a peaceful and more beneficial political advantages for our people,” Mr. Agba said.
Meanwhile, information reaching CrossRiverWatch suggests that the reconciliation team effort may not yield entirely, the desired results as some aggrieved members of the PDP have instructed their supporters to hold fort or vote for popular candidates of their choice whom are not members of the PDP.
In a related development, the Ijiman Okurubong Global Movement which was formed to support commissioner nominee, Mr. Godwin Ettah for senate in PDP had on Sunday decided to endorse Mr. Owan-Enoh since their principal was deprived of the ticket in “controversial circumstances.”
The head of the group, Mr. Christopher Okoi also known as ‘Okolosi’ said that: “Since our principal is been deprived of the PDP central senatorial ticket. We the entire members of this group have unanimously agreed to endorse Senator Owan-Eno for governor, Senator Ndoma-Egba for senate, Alex Ogbonna for house of representative and Mr. Charles Ikpi for house of assembly.
“We are also aggrieved with our principal because since he lost the PDP central senatorial primary election, he has not come to assure us of our stance.”
Mr. Etta had resigned as commissioner for education and as part of the reconciliatory process, Mr. Ayade had renominated him and several others as commissioners while he reinstated all other appointees who had resigned to contest elections.
However, Mr. Okoi stated the group’s resolve when he received a delegation led by the liaison officer of Mr. Owan-Enoh in Yakurr local government area, Mr. Augustine Hydro.
In his remarks, Mr. Augustine said that: “When I met with your executives, they told me this group is now a pressure group with the aim of supporting competent aspirants who will represent them well.
“I will like to urge every member of this group to identify with APC political party. I am really excited for you people to endorse my master for governorship.”
Augustine was accompanied by the APC House of Assembly aspirant in Yakurr 1 constituency, Mr. Ikpi who averred that: “PDP political party don’t love Ugep. In this just concluded PDP primaries,the current house of assembly member won the primary election. But because APC gave me ticket to contest for House of Assembly in 2019 ,PDP in turn collected the ticket of house of assembly from the Idomi man who is the incumbent house of assembly member and gave to an Ugep man.
“This is to show that PDP are really confused. I will like to seek for your support and votes in 2019 election. I will represent you people well.”
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