…Explain N300bn Cross River Indebtedness, Ayade Fires Back
The ongoing show of power between the Governor of Cross River state, Sen Ben Ayade and his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, has continued with indescribable intensity as accusations and counter accusations greeted their relationship on Wednesday.
The PDP had alleged that Gov Ayade was spending N2 billion to buy its members in the House of Assembly and threatening appointees with sack unless they defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC) with him.
The Caretaker Committee Chairman of the party and former deputy governor, Efiok Cobham, who made the remarks during a press conference in Calabar, in which at least two serving commissioners in the Ayade-led administration were present, also confirmed that former governor, Donald Duke, has returned to the party.
Reading through a press statement, Cobham said “upon decamping to APC, Governor Ayade declared pompously that in Cross River, once the Governor moves, everyone follows.
“To Governor Ayade’s consternation and embarrassment, nobody followed. Governor Ayade has now adopted unconstitutional methods to compel his cabinet and appointees, and other public office holders to follow him to the APC against their choice of remaining in PDP.
“Members of the House of Assembly have been offered 30 million naira each and an SUV each if they agree to decamp. Commissioners in Ayade’s cabinet are being offered 3 million naira 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
“The defection of Governor Ayade to APC is to cost Cross Riverians 2 Billion naira. This is what Ayade needs to buy defectors from even his cabinet to follow him to the APC.
“Even this filthy lucre put forward is not enough to compel obedience as several commissioners from his cabinet, and majority of members of the House of Assembly and other political office holders have elected to reject the Greek gift and stay with the people of Cross River State in PDP.
“Governor Ayade can readily expend 2 billion naira to fund his defection to APC because he has ready cash from the almost 19 Billion naira recently paid to Cross River state as refund for federal road maintenance undertaken by the PDP administrations of Governors Donald Duke and Llyel Imoke.
“Governor Ayade has refused to declare this money to the people of Cross River state and is frittering it away on purposes other than the common good of Cross Riverians.”
But in a reaction, the State government described the allegation as ludicrous, saying the “PDP in Cross River is on a free fall and on an uncontrollable hemorrhage.”
Christian Ita, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, in a release late Wednesday, said “PDP’s claim that the governor paid N2 billion to people to defect is ludicrous.
“Until Ayade left their fold, figures of how much the state collected as refunds for repairs of federal roads were not an issue. But since his exit, the figures are being bandied and extrapolated by PDP mourners to score cheap political points.
“From the well documented figure of N18bn, wailing wailers of PDP, apologies to Femi Adesina, have now found it convenient to juggle the figure all in a bid to blackmail and incite the public against the governor.
“Therefore, while the vanishing clan of PDP tells unwholesome lies about N18bn refund, it should also in good conscience tell Cross Riverians how the state incurred the indebtedness of over N300bn, thus making it the most indebted state in Nigeria.”