The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, has declared that Cross River State, which the party has governed since the return of party politics in 1999, “will remain the stronghold of our party” well after 2023.
Secondus said despite the recent defection of Governor Ben Ayade to the All Progressives Congress (APC), “the PDP would work to retain the confidence the people of Cross River State repose in our party” and thus retain its dominance in the state.
Speaking in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, during the week, Secondus said he remained confident from the enthusiasm exuded by the people of the state that the defecting governor’s “food on the table,” policy was an impoverishment of the people, who desired and deserved to be empowered to be self-sufficient and economically independent.
Secondus, while inaugurating the newly set-up state Caretaker Committee of the party, which he constituted on the heels of Ayade’s defection, declared: “The hard-working people of Cross River State, with rich intellectual base, deserve more than mere food-on-the table rhetoric; they deserve to be taught to fish – that is empowerment and manpower enhancement, rather than just being given cheap fish, which is no economic solution,” saying Ayade merely impoverished rather than empowered the people.
Welcomed by a mammoth crowd, Secondus declared: “PDP is Cross River and Cross River is PDP.”
He added that he was confident that from what he saw – the crowd of teeming party faithful – PDP will remain the ruling party in Cross River State come 2023.
He assured the PDP faithful in the state to remain resolute, as the party remains strong and solidly firm to ensure it retains the reins of affairs in the state.
Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, who was on hand to give solidarity to the PDP National Chairman and his entourage as he inaugurated the Caretaker Committee, promised to work closely with the leadership in the state to ensure PDP retains control in 2023.
Former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, while acknowledging cheers from the crowd, affirmed the high confidence of the party chairman by saying the PDP was set to win not just Cross River State but the presidential election at the centre going by the cordial ongoing reconciliation exercise among the party’s members across the country.
Chairman of the PDP Governor’s Forum, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, who was also in Calabar to give support to the leadership of the party during the inauguration of the Cross River State Caretaker Committee, spoke of the strong commitment of the PDP Governors to work together as a team to win and retain Cross River State, as well as other states, while winning new ones and taking over power at the centre.
The event, which assumed the picturesque of a carnival, with thousands of party faithful exuding confidence in retaining power in a state that has known only the PDP since 1999, had leader of the party in the state, Senator. Liyel Imoke, himself a former two-term governor, as chief host of the activities.
Imoke, as the leader of the party, who welcomed the National Chairman and his entourage, gave assurance of the strength of the PDP as “dominant party in the state, being the only party known to our people” and assured the leadership of the party that his team will deliver victory come 2023. Imoke governed the state from 2007 to 2015 when he handed over to Ayade.
Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, Mahdi Aliyu Gusau, was also in attendance.
The occasion also provided the opportunity for the people to formally receive and welcome another two-term governor of the state, Mr. Donald Duke, back to the party. Mr. Duke, who was governor from 1999 to 2007, had left the PDP for the Social Democratic Party (SDP) where he was the party’s presidential candidate in the 2019 elections. However, he announced his return to the PDP a month ago.
Among dignitaries at the programme were seven of Ayade’s commissioners who refused to follow him to APC, choosing to remain in PDP, and rather resigned from his cabinet after his defection. Eight members of the Cross River State House of Assembly, over 80 councillors and several of Ayade’s political appointees, all of who refused to defect with Ayade despite pressures and intimidation, were also at the ceremony.
Inaugurating the Cross River State PDP Caretaker Committee, Prince Secondus said: “On behalf of the leadership of the party, we hereby inaugurate the Caretaker Committee to function fully at the state level”.
Chairman of the CTC, Mr Efiok Cobham, a former Deputy Governor, said his leadership will carry the party higher than it had been.
“We want to assure you that we will carry the party higher. PDP is Cross River, Cross River is PDP – we want to assure you that,” Cobham said.