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Secretariat Takeover: Cross River PDP seeks APC’s intervention

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The Cross River State Caretaker Committee of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has appealed to the All Progressives Congress (APC), to call on Governor Ben Ayade to hands-off its party secretariat.

The two-storey building in contention is located within the heart of Calabar, the capital city of Cross River State, South-South Nigeria and has been used by the PDP since its inception in 1999.

Addressing newsmen in Calabar, the Chairman of the committee and former deputy governor, Mr Efiok Cobham accused Governor Ayade of invading its secretariat with the cover of policemen and destroying vital document of the party barely two days after his defection to the APC.

L to R: Rita Ayim, PDP caretaker publicity secretary; Comrade Victor Udu, State Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists and Efiok Cobham, Chairman of the PDP caretaker committee
Political rascality

Cobham, who spoke on behalf of other members of the caretaker committee, said: “On 22nd May, 2021, two days after defecting from our party, Governor Ayade, now a full-fledged APC member, invaded the state secretariat of the PDP at 42A Murtala Mohammed highway, Calabar with thugs under the cover of armed men of the Nigeria Police Force, Cross River Command.

“Governor Ayade forcefully took over the secretariat and on his instructions the building has now been repainted in the colours of the APC. We understand that the building now serves as one of the several state secretariats of the APC in Calabar.

Also Read: Cross River PDP stakeholders re-strategize ahead of 2023 elections

“The building currently stands under guard by the police, painted in APC colours, flying the APC flags as monumental signpost of impunity, political rascality and absolute disregard for law and order.

“We had earlier raised alarm that vital documents, sensitive party membership registers and other facilities are being carted away or destroyed. That situation has not abated.”

Governor Ben Ayade before the 2019 election at the then PDP Secretariat in Calabar.

According to him, the building served as the state secretariat of the PDP for over 22 years and has been in use by the PDP even before governor Ayade joined the party.

“The current rent for the property has been paid and the tenancy of PDP subsists. The Lessor has issued a statement to the effect that PDP is the lawful tenant and there is no arrangement to have APC as tenant of the property,” Cobham said.

Cobham described the invasion and occupation of the building as “immature politics, unnecessary provocation and outright illegal,” and appealed to members of the PDP to remain calm, while the caretaker committee employs legal means to reclaim its state secretariat.

“We again appeal to the APC leadership to call Governor Ayade to order and remind him that Nigeria is a country governed by laws in spite of the nation’s experience in the last 6 years,” Cobham added.

 

Zainab Sa’id.

 

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