By Jonathan Ugbal and Ashie Osor
Some members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who recently returned to the People’s Democratic Party have described the APC as a party with no reward system.
The members which include the Special Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo on National Assembly matters (Senate), Senator Florence Ita-Giwa; former Nigeria’s ambassador to Mali, Soni Abang; former APC board of trustees member, Mr. Tony Odey as well as two members of the third National Assembly, Senator Patrick Ani and Honorable Ernest Irek among others.
And, while being received into the PDP by the national chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, they took turns to explain why they left the APC.
Ita-Giwa whose defection had been confirmed weeks ago told supporters at the Calabar municipal council grounds that: “I am back to ensure that the turn by turn policy is followed, as only zoning can sustain democracy without fight while creating opportunity for all to raise their heads.”
Ita-Giwa who went philosophical, also said: “In over one year I went for that trip to APC, it wasn’t good for my body because a white goat loves no stain or dirt,” adding that, “I feel guilty leaving this family as upon my return, so much love was showed to me and I was not shut out or looked down upon.”
According to her, returning to the PDP was in appreciation of Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade whom she said was carrying out “a silent industrial revolution” and has embarked on projects and programs that will position the State for greatness.
“I cannot fight Ayade because he made the hitherto abandoned Bakassi local government area to be felt among the existing local government areas in the state and indeed Nigeria. I am back to sustain democracy, to join hands with Ayade to win elections, for the sustenance of carnival which is dear to me and for the governor’s industrialization drive,” she intimated.
Abang in his remarks said: “I and my supporters are happy to be back home. I had within the past few years withdrew from active politics because when you marry a wife with a problem, staying the same house become a problem, not to talk of going into the other room.”
He continued: “PDP is a great family and there is no way Uche Secondus will be a national chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku contesting as President and Professor Ben Ayade coming as governor or Senator Imoke urging me to come back to the fold and I will be working against them.”
Sharing his experience as a member of the APC, Abang disclosed that: “While there, we couldn’t agree even at the party exco, we couldn’t conduct our primaries, the party does not respect court orders and today the same party is trying to cripple our judiciary.”
“The national chairman of PDP today has redefined and remodeled the party as evidenced in the last national convention adjudged as the most transparent in the country,” he added.
Another returnee, Mr. Irek said, “it is only the PDP that has a reward system and anything that has no reward system is not a better option.”
Lauding the programs and policies of Mr. Ayade which has endeared him and his team to return to the political family, Irek who was a 1992 House of Representatives member representing the old Obubra Federal constituency said: “Your programs are programs of tomorrow, nobody will allow any senatorial district to cheat the other, we are back to our home and the time for business is now and we are going to deliver.”
For former Governor Liyel Imoke, “I feel like a contented old man to see the family gathered today as one. It takes the collectives to get results, as such, these key leaders who have returned to the fold are very fundamental in our struggle for 2019.”
He applauded Ayade for accommodating the returnees, pointed out that for this to happen, it is a great effort aimed at uniting the political family as well as a deliberate attempt to swing into victory at the state and national levels.
Receiving the returnees, Mr. Secondus assured them that, “the party is for all, for the entire people, you are all co-owners in this party and everyone is a leader.”
He applauded Ayade for his industrialization drive in the state, maintaining that the vision to decouple Cross River from dependence on federal allocation while creating jobs for the teeming unemployed youths which he said must have endeared the returnees to come back.
Secondus who was accompanied by the national women leader of the PDP, Hajia Mariam Rasheedi and former Deputy Speaker of the seventh House of Representatives, Honorable Emeka Ihedioha among others has since departed Calabar for Abuja.
Political watchers say the defection is a blow to the chances of the APC in central senatorial district of Cross River State where Mr. Ayade’s strongest opposition hails from.
Meanwhile, in a related development, Mr. Koko Dan, the House of Representative s candidate of the APC for the Obudu/Obanliku/Bekwarra federal constituency in the 2019 general elections took to Facebook to wish his closest rival and incumbent, Legor Idagbo of the PDP a happy birthday recently.
Idagbo turned 47 on November 10, 2018 and Mr. Dan used a Greek myth god, “Cronos” to describe him.
“Happy birthday to the cronos of our time. Our big brother, Hon.Legor Idagbo, may God continue to. Strengthen you to sustaining our heritage now and always,” Dan wrote.
Cronos, according to Greek mythology forcibly took over the throne from his father Uranus and ruled in an era known as ‘the golden age’. He was, however, dethroned by his own son, Zeus.
It is unclear what may have prompted the act. But, the move was hailed by the followers of both candidates.
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