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The Cross River State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said the defection of Governor Ben Ayade to the All Progressive Congress (APC) will cost the state N2 billion.
Members of the party’s State Caretaker Committee, led by its Chairman and immediate past Deputy Governor Efiok Cohbam, made the allegation yesterday at a media briefing in Calabar, the state capital.
“This is what Ayade needs to buy defectors from even his State Executive Council (Exco) to follow him to the APC. Members of the House of Assembly have been offered N30 million each and a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) each, if they agree to defect. Commissioners in Ayade’s Exco are being offered N3 million and a car each to defect to the APC.
“Local government chairmen and councillors are under threat of removal from office unless they defect. All appointees of the governor have been instructed to produce their APC membership cards before they can receive salaries,” Cohbam alleged.
But reacting to the allegation through his Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Christian Ita, the governor said: “There is no doubt that it will take the PDP in Cross River State ages to overcome the shock and trauma suffered by the exit of Governor Ayade from the party.
“This can be gleaned from the party’s latest press conference and other ones preceding it. While we cannot deny them the right to cry over the already spilled milk, they should, however, not be blind to seeing. The continuous griping of the PDP shows clearly how much of an asset Ayade was to the party, hence they can’t get over his exit.
“In their grief, they seek recourse in mendacity but this will not mitigate their huge and monumental loss. As much as the PDP has tried in their febrile attempts to tar Ayade with an uncomplimentary brush, we wish to remind them that it cannot be forgotten in a hurry, their various knee-jerk approaches to make the governor stay, including sending their governors as emissaries to beg him not to leave their party.
“We are aware that the PDP has commissioned a media campaign of misinformation against the governor but such campaign is already dead on arrival…”