New facts have shown that economic factors far more outweighed the political reasons that necessitated the recent defection of the Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade, from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Even more, the governor’s alleged complacent attitude also contributed to why members of the National Assembly outplayed him in the wards, local and state congresses elections in the state.
A top source within the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP said the economic issue played out more than the governor losing the PDP structures in the state.
THISDAY gathered a bait of returning some, at least 20 oil wells out of the 76 that were ceded to Akwa Ibom by federal government, largely informed why Ayade left the PDP.
According to the source, “Since the APC lost the bids to have a foothold in Bayelsa and later Edo States, out of the desperation to have the APC in the South-south, the ruling shifted attention to Cross River State, using the bait of returning some of the 76 oil ceded to Akwa Ibom State to Cross River.”
The source explained that Governor Ayade had since 2019 sought return of some of the 76 oil wells ceded to Akwa Ibom following the ruling of the Supreme Court in 2012, saying the ceding of the oil-rich peninsula was illegal and therefore maintained that the loss of the oil wells was an “act of gross injustice and the APC jump to it as a working tool.”
Ayade had alleged unconscionable injustices meted out to the state by the federal government, regretting the takeover of Bakassi Peninsula by Cameroun as well as the non-reimbursement of funds spent on federal roads, which forced him to call for a political solution.
“This was one of the reasons that Senator Ita Giwa has thrown her support for the defection”, the source said, explaining that Mama Bakassi as she was called, believed that the offer could help the economic development of the state.
“So, the defection was imminent as the APC-led federal government want to ensure a control of a state in the South-south,” the source stressed
Ita-Giwa had told newsmen shortly after Ayade defected to the APC that the governor was the political leader in the state and she would always go where he leads.
“We have a leader in the state and wherever he moves to my loyalty is with him”.
Ita-Giwa, who was a founding member of All Nigeria People’ Party, ANPP has moved between PDP and APC four times since 1999.
Giving reasons for his defection, Ayade said injustice and meddling in the affairs of his state led him to move to APC.
“It is my responsibility to bring back Cross River to the centre to enhance our fortune. We need to work ahead with our President for the future of our country”, he said, noting that the territorial integrity of the state has been interfered with and that it was his responsibility to “resocket’ the state back to its proper disposition.
However, the national leadership of the PDP, a source claimed, believed that Ayade lost the control of the party structures in the state due to his complacent attitude to party issues.
The source said it has always been the party policy that governors control political party structures in their state, but “the governor was very complacent and members of the National Assembly in the state moved and took the party structures from him.
“It was after this slumber that he woke up and demanded that the NWC should intervene and restore the party structures to him. He was the architect of himself missing out in the power structures to members of the National Assembly.
“As a governor, he ought to have moved to take full charge of affairs in the state. He was like emperor wining and dinning when members of National Assembly moved against him and took over the party from him,” the source stated.