The 14 years old cold war in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River state has been resolved as former governors Donald Duke, Senator Liyel Imoke and current Senator serving Cross River South Senatorial, Senator Gershom Bassey (otherwise known a the three musketeers) have reunited.
The reconciliation and reunification meetings held in two venues on Saturday as Imoke hosted the actual meeting in his private residence at State Housing with some of the PDP founding members and stakeholders while Duke hosted the reception in his own private residence at Diamond hill.
Duke had in 2007 stepped aside from the party following a seemingly crisis between him and then governor Imoke and few others which Duke in his, “My Statement of Return” in the wake of Ayade’s defection two weeks ago, said, “through firm and adroit leadership and adherence to the democratic principles of inclusion we soon brought largely all the political class in the state under the PDP and by 2007, we were perhaps the most PDP state in Nigeria. However, post 2007; (apparently referring to the Imoke era) the party’s fortune started ebbing. An autocratic leadership style emerged, communication with its followers declined and emergence in the party was determined largely not by the party constitution or structures but by the whims of the States Chief Executive. This is the structure Governor Ayade inherited and has largely led us to where we are today”.
But in the close door meeting on Saturday, the three musketeers (Imoke, Duke and Bassey) with other founding members and stakeholders met at Senator Imoke’s residence to put behind their differences and form a formidable front to recapture the state from the All Progressives Congress (APC) following recent decamping of governor Ben Ayade from the PDP to the APC.
In a video of the close door meeting leaked to some newsmen yesterday, Duke amidst cheers and applause said, “its not about winning elections, we’re trying to build the people and not just winning elections and I think that is what politics is all about. We have a lot of work to do, a lot of people are waiting to hear from us and waiting to see that our house is in order and I want to say something; this house is in order”.
He said “as long or as protracted as this has gone on, if we sat down and rob minds the issue would have vanished in 10 minutes. We needed an event like this were we would say what is your problem? We will still talk about it but that is not the issue now. Right now, there is the greatest thing at stake which is the corporate unity of all of us. I may have gone on sabbatical and temporary retirement but you’ll find no record of me retiring from PDP. We have work to do and we can’t sit down here to do this work. Just as in 1999 we traversed the length and breadth of this country. Let us go back to that root and once again traverse the length and breadth. Let our children who we want to put into the system see that their fathers are still around and are laughing because you see you can inherit anything.
Imoke on his part expressed excitement with the reunification and reassured the people of the state that the PDP was intact and will certain recapture the state come 2023 for the interest of the people and the state.