Former Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, has assured that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), will be made stronger in the state despite the exit of Governor Ben Ayade to the All Progressives Congress (APC) last week.
Speaking in Calabar the state capital, during a stakeholders meeting, Imoke pledged his commitment to the party, assuring that the PDP remains intact.
“I thought I have retired in politics. I was retiring in bits and handing over to some people but I had to come back at this time. Our tradition in PDP was destroyed, so we have to come back. Our politics is sweet, we don’t play politics of fear, we don’t play politics of intimidation, and we don’t play politics of harassment. PDP is not dead in Cross River State”.
Imoke, who was accused by some people of the state for imposing Ayade as his successor in 2015, expressed some regrets but denied that he collected N2 billion at the time to make Ayade governor.
“It is unfortunate, I took all responsibility and all risk for the emergence of this administration, I have watched this government even accused me of collecting money to put them in government, can you imagine! What an insult! Do you have money for the election? Yet you people believe them that I, Liyel Imoke, son of Samuel Imoke, sold Cross River State to somebody, for doing them a favour, for working hard to put them in power.“He left of his own volition and his movement is divine because those who made the PDP what it is at the grassroots in the state are still in the party and the party will be stronger without Ayade.“The party does not belong to the governor. We are taking it back to the people. I won’t talk much today so we don’t reveal our secrets. We are not going to reveal the secrets of our strategy.“We are just putting every one on notice that the PDP is back. For those who don’t come from Cross River State, you will have to understand that Cross River State is a PDP state. The movement of one person does not change that fact. Even among those who have moved, plenty of them call me and say oga e get as things be. Make we just move. We no join, we dey come”.
He said the new caretaker committee led by Efiok Cohbam, a former deputy Governor of the state under his administration, will serve and pilot the affairs of the PDP in the state for a maximum of 90 days.
On his part, the chairman of the Caretaker committee, Cohbam said the PDP “has won the governorship of the state for three times back to back and “we will re-enact the winning formula and we will remain focused”.
On the forceful conversion of the Secretariat of the PDP to the APC, Cohbam said, “attacking the secretariat shows frustration. We don’t plan our elections at the secretariat. We only go there and receive our visitors.
“I was the one who acquired the secretariat in August 1999. By August this year, PDP would have been there for 22 years. As we are here, the PDP has many sympathizers and someone who is not one of us here, has procured and paid for a new secretariat for us already”.