From Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Cross River chapter of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and some senior citizens in the state have criticised Governor Ben Ayade for forcibly taking over the PDP secretatrait located at 42A
42 Murtala Mohamed Highway, Calabar.
Governor Ayade officially defected to the ruling APC on Thursday, May 20, and on Saturday May 22, deployed his aides and security personnel to take over the state’s PDP secretariat.
This development has attracted scathing criticisms from the PDP and some senior citizens who see the move as not only undemocratic but capable of generating an uncontrollable crisis in a hitherto peaceful state.
A statement signed by the state Chairman of Caretaker Committee of the PDP, Efiok Cobham, Esq, expressed shock at the invasion of their party secretariat by thugs and armed policemen with the intention of converting the property to the state secretariat of the APC.
Cobhom said members of the newly-constituted PDP state caretaker committee have been prevented from accessing the property and their documents by APC thugs and armed security men, with the building is currently being painted in the colours of the APC.
Protesting vehemently against the invasion of the PDP secretariat by the APC on the supposed instructions of Governor Ben Ayade, Cobham said the PDP has a subsisting tenancy agreement and receipts evidencing payment of the rent for the current tenure in respect of the property.
Explaining that the lessor of the property has clarified that the tenancy of the PDP in respect of 42A Murtala Mohamed Highway is still subsisting, the former deputy governor during the administration of Senator Liyel Imoke described the invasion as ‘a criminal trespass, malicious damage to property, and constitutes conduct likely to lead to a breach of the public peace.’
He expressed surprise that Governor Ayade, who has the constitutional responsibility as chief security officer of the state, is promoting this unholy conduct, which is inciteful and vendetta driven.
‘The PDP delivered the mandate of the people of Cross River state to Governor Ayade firstly as a senator, and twice as governor. While we respect Governor Ayade’s political choices, we state that he has no right to impede the peaceful conduct of the affairs of law abiding citizens of Cross River State, including the organisation of any political party,’ he said.
‘We, therefore, call on the leadership of the APC at the state and atnational level to reject Governor Ayade’s infantile behaviour and allow the PDP the peaceful occupation and use of its property.
‘We also demand the return of all documents, property and equipment removed from the PDP secretariat by the APC. We believe that President Mohamed Buhari can encourage Governor Ayade to respect law and order and desist from conduct that further exacerbate the security situation in the country.
‘We believe that Governor Ayade is missing an opportunity by not acquiring a new building for his faction of the APC in the state. Doing so will be his opportunity to at least complete a project in Cross River state during the lifetime of his administration,’ he stated.
Also expressing worry at the ugly development, a senior citizen, Elder Emmanuel Asuquo, 78, said: ‘What we are witnessing today in Cross River is a novelty. How can you defect to another party and you turn back to take over the same party secretariat you have left.
‘Three days ago, you praised the party for accommodating you and later you turn back to take over their party secretariat. What a hypocrisy. We advise Ayde to practice what he says and talks in public,’ the retired civil servant said.
Another senior citizen, Ntufam Cletus Agba, 75, from the northern senatorial.discriect, said: ‘I am shocked at what is happening and how Governor Ayade has descended to playing politics without the ethics that he preaches.’