There are strong indications that many members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River State may soon decamp to the opposition parties due to the protracted crisis that is bedevilling the party in the state.
Speculations concerning the possible decamping of the members indicate that the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Labour Party (LP) would be the greatest beneficiaries of the defection of some of the PDP members; among them governorship aspirants, serving state and National Assembly members, some members who would be denied the tickets of the party to contest the 2015 general elections.
The expected decampees are expected to move with thousands of their supporters in the three senatorial districts of the state.
THISDAY gathered at the weekend that at the moment some members of the PDP who intend to decamp have commenced talks with the leadership of the APC in particular.
It was gathered that the talks commenced as soon as it became apparent that the national leadership of the PDP had handed over the structures of the party in the states to the governors.
Insiders in the discussions within the opposition parties said the plot to dump tthe PDP was informed by the near general silence that trailed the November 24 rescheduled ward congress.
While supporters of the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba , in the central senatorial district of the state did not participate in the rescheduled congress due to a subsisting court matter, the outcome of the congress indicated that loyalists of the state governor, Liyel Imoke, made the list of the delegates for the various primaries , effortlessly.
One of the politicians who is part of the move to decamp to an opposition party told THISDAY at the weekend on condition of anonymity that “The cancellation of the November 1 congress by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, and the rescheduling of a fresh one, which the national secretariat considered a step in assuaging all aggrieved parties in the intra-party crisis, has really polarised the PDP in the state. You can see that with the acceptance of the list of the November 24 congress which is for only Imoke’s supporters, it is clear that we are no longer needed. We have commenced talks with opposition parties and very soon we will defect for PDP and send all of them packing. Very soon we will inform the people and our supporters of our new party.”
The source, a member of the state legislature who boycotted the state House of Assembly primaries said “the imposition of candidates of the House of Assembly by the PDP in the name of consensus is a sign of what will following in national assembly and governorship primaries.
“So,we cannot be taken unaware. They will meet us in the main election where there will be no imposition of candidates. All I can tell you is that we are leaving.”
The source said the governorship primaries of the PDP would not be transparent because the list of delegates had already been compromised in favour of the person the party leaders intend to impose.
With the conduct of the state House of Assembly primary elections of the PDP at the weekend where loyalists of Imoke emerged as candidates in all the 25 state constituencies, the Vice-Chairman central senatorial district of the APC, Cletus Obun, who confirmed the move, said some top members of the PDP have already approached his party begging to be given the chance to fly the party’s flag during the elections.
Obun said: “As we speak, I have appointment with some PDP members who have confided in me that they want to decamp to the APC. I also learnt on good authority that some governorship aspirants and National Assembly members of the PDP from the south who are fed up with the system of imposition in their party will join us next week.”
Perhaps, in order to woo aspirants from the PDP to its fold, the LP in the state on Saturday said it has received approval from its national headquarters to extend the conduct of primaries into various elective positions for the 2015 general election.
The state Chairman of the party, Mr. Austin Ibok, who disclosed this in Calabar, said the reason for the shift was to enable the party entice credible aspirants that
could defeat candidates of other political parties in the general elections.
The chairman disclosed that primaries for the House of Representatives and Senate would hold on December 9, while that of governorship and state House of Assembly will take place on December 10.
Ibok said the LP was a credible platform that political politicians seeking elective positions can use in achieving their dreams.
“It should be noted that the politics of 2015 general elections in Cross River State will not just be determined by parties affiliation but by mass mobilisation against second slavery.
Ibok said: “As a credible alternative in Cross River State, we are ready to field the most competitive men of character and content in the forth coming general elections. It is for that reason that we have rescheduled our primaries with the approval for the national headquarters of the party. We have also informed the electoral body of the change.”