Ben Ayade and Ita-Giwa (middle)
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Thursday, at the Municipal Council grounds in Calabar, suffered a serious political tsunami as a former senator and two-time Special Adviser to two Nigeria presidents, Princess Florence Ita- Giwa, returned to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Others who also washed their hands off the APC in the state with about 5000 supporters were the former Ambassador to Mali, Amb. Soni Abang, former APC Board of Trustee member, Barr Tony Odey, as well as the duo of 1992 legislators, Senator Patrick Ani and Hon. Ernest Irek among others.
Ita Giwa, speaking at the event said: “I am back to ensure that the turn by turn policy is followed, as only zoning can sustain democracy without fight while creating opportunities for all to raise their heads.”
Waxing philosophical, Ita-Giwa disclosed: “In over one year I went on that trip to APC, it wasn’t good for my body because a white goat loves no stain or dirt,” adding that “I feel guilty leaving this family as upon my return, so much love was shown to me and I was not shut out or looked down upon.”
She added that the governor, Prof Ben Ayade, has performed so much magic which all must collectively return him back to sustain his vision aimed at repositioning Cross River and making it the envy of others.
“I cannot fight Ayade because he made the hitherto abandoned Bakassi Local Government Area to be celebrated among the existing local government areas in the state and indeed Nigeria. I am back to sustain democracy, to join hands with Ayade to win elections, for the sustenance of carnival which is dear to me and for the governor’s industrialization drive,” Ita- Giwa intimated.
On his part, Ambassador Soni Abang expressed happiness that he finally took the decision to return to the PDP.
“My supporters and I are happy to be back home. I had within the past few years withdrawn from active politics because when you marry a wife with a problem, staying in the same house becomes a problem, not to talk of going into the other room.”
According to him, “PDP is a great family and there is no way Uche Secondus will be a national chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku contesting as President and Prof Ben Ayade coming as governor or Senator Imoke urging me to come back to the fold and I will say no,” the former envoy noted.
On his experiences during his stint with the APC, Abang disclosed that “while there, we couldn’t agree even on the party exco, we couldn’t conduct our primaries, the party does not respect court orders and today the same party is trying to cripple our judiciary,” adding that, “the national chairman of PDP today has redefined and remodeled the party as evidenced in the last national convention adjudged as the most transparent in the country.”
Another returnee, Hon Ernest Irek, said “it is only the PDP that has a reward system and anything that has no reward system is not a better option.”
Lauding the programs and policies of Governor Ben Ayade which has endeared him and his team to return to the political family, Irek who was a 1992 House of Representatives member representing old Obubra Federal constituency said: “Your programs are programs of tomorrow, nobody will allow any senatorial district to cheat the other, we are back to our home and the time for business is now and we are going to deliver.”
Former governor, Senator Liyel Imoke said he feels like a “contented old man to see the family gathered today as one. It takes the collectives to get results, as such, these key leaders who have returned to the fold are very fundamental in our struggle for 2019.”
Imoke who applauded Ayade for accommodating the returnees, pointed out that for this to happen, it is a great effort aimed at uniting the political family.
Receiving the returnees in the presence of the governor, Prof Ben Ayade, his deputy, Prof Ivara Esu, former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, some members of the national leadership of the party, the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, assured them that, “the party is for all, for the entire people, you are all co-owners in this party and everyone is a leader.”
He applauded Ayade for his industrialization drive in the state, maintaining that the vision to decouple Cross River from its dependence on federal allocation while creating jobs for the teeming unemployed youths must have endeared the returnees to come back.
While extending hand shakes with the political bigwigs who returned to the PDP, Secondus said: “On behalf of the national leadership of our party, we welcome you back to your home and I can assure you that all your rights and privileges are this day restored unto you.
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