From Judex Okoro, Calabar
The South-South Zonal Vice Chairman of the ‘Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Dan Orbih, has stated that governors defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC) have performed badly and ‘have skeletons to hide’.
Speaking during the PDP stakeholders’ meeting held in Calabar at the weekend, Orbih, accompanied by the Zonal Secretary, Treasurer and Youth Leader, said they visited Cross River to show solidarity and pledged total support for the ongoing re-organisation of the party following the defection of Governor Ben Ayade.
The Vice Chairman said the South-South is still a PDP stronghold and that Cross River still remains a PDP state, considering that the party has the majority of elected members at the National Assembly.
He decried the attitude of some politicians who jump from one party to another after they have benefited from their former party, adding that most people fighting PDP today are all those who have held various elective and appointed positions in the party.
‘I urge Nigerians to retrace their steps and embrace PDP. We raised people from local government chairmen, commissioners, governors and senator and they ran away to hide in APC. We shall follow them till they fail in their new party,’ Orbih said.
‘Those who have skeletons to hide are looking for where to hide. But let me state here that South-South is PDP and Cross River State is PDP with or without Ayade. I have seen the courage of our elected people opting to remain in PDP.
‘I was a PDP Chairman in Edo state when we had only two elected senators. Today we have all PDP. Yours won’t be a long walk to freedom.’
Expressing dismay at the state of federal roads in the South-South zone, he said it is very uncharitable for anybody in South-South to leave for APC as the party has brought untold hardship to Nigerians.
Lamenting that God would not forgive those who brought APC to power, Orbih enjoined PDP leadership in the state to chose candidates with credibility and can win an election and not people who go by stomach infrastructures.
On the issue of the seized secretariat, he said they would discuss with the leaders in the zone to reclaim the secretariat, urging them not to be dampened as their main target is to hurriedly reclaim power from APC.
Also speaking at the meeting, former Governor Liyel Imoke said it sounds ridiculous for somebody to say that PDP would not even win one seat and that the whole state is now APC.
Imoke wondered how one man they gave power a few years ago has become so drunk that he has imposed stricter sanctions on those who fail to defect to APC with him.
He urged elected members who opted to remain in PDP to remain steadfast as the constitution protects them and guarantees them all entitlements and benefits, adding that PDP would go to any length to ensure that the right thing is done in Cross River.
He said: ‘We are committed to Cross River and we are all one family and have been together in this game just as we have brought up the younger generation who would take over the party and state as the future belongs to them. We are not afraid of anything just as there are no threats at all.
‘We are grassroots and believe in collegiate government. The defection has made us stronger and, come 2023, we would return a PDP governor in Government House.’
Admitting that PDP is the cause of the problem in Cross River, former Senator, representing Cross River South senatorial district, Sen Bassey Ewah Henshaw, said since Governor Bem Ayade vane on board, he has not called any caucus meeting since 2015 unlike in the past.
Explaining that the party has now separated the wheat from the chaff, Henshaw said now that they have recognised the problem, this is the auspicious time to take proper steps to right the wrongs.
He said: ‘This is the original PDP. We shall recover our lost wards, local governments and state. It is now we know the genuine PDP without food on the table. We need unity and re-organisation so we can come out strong to give the people hope.’