Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River has reacted to the reports suggesting that he forcefully took over the Peoples Democratic Party Secretariat located in Calabar, the capital of the state.
The said property which is located at 142 (a) along Muritala Mohammed Highway, Calabar, Cross River, was known to be the PDP’S Secretariat in the state, however, on Saturday, the building was converted and painted in the colours of the All Progressive Congress (APC), three days after the Governor defected to the party.
According to some reports, the Governor forcefully took over the secretariat and converted it to an APC property.
Also the PDP in press statement signed by Effiok Cobham, the Chairman, PDP Caretaker Committee, Cross River State, said: ”This morning armed policemen cordoned off the Cross River State PDP secretariat at 42 Murtala Mohamed Highway, Calabar, and created cover for thugs from the Governor Ben Ayade faction of the APC to invade the PDP state secretariat with the intention of converting the property to the state secretariat of the APC.
“We have the tenancy agreements and receipts evidencing payment of the rent for the current tenure in respect of the property.” PDP said.
Meanwhile, Ayade in his reaction denied the claims, stating that the property does not belong to the PDP. He claimed the property is owned by him and other former PDP members who have switched allegiance to the APC.
According to the Governor, the property was rented by him alongside other individuals who defected to the APC with him.
Ayade further asked the Chairman, PDP Chapter of Cross River, Mr Efiok Cobhams, to desist from spreading fake news in a bid to get public sympathy.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the Governor, Christian Ita on Saturday.
Ayade, in the statement also urged “the shell-shocked and lame duck PDP to look elsewhere to situate their secretariat.”
The statement reads, “The attention of Cross River state government and the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC has been drawn to a poorly scripted statement by the caretaker committee of the dead and now buried Peoples Democratic party, PDP in the state.
“The statement is nothing but a tissue of lies and a cocktail of fraudulent claims.
“Obviously, this leadership of the PDP led by Effiok Cobham is driven by greed, avarice and laziness. It is a tactless and clueless leadership.
“The puerile statement was an infantile attempt to mislead the public and whip up undeserved public sympathy. But Cobham and his gang failed woefully.
“First, the said property is a rented property which is not owned by the PDP.
“It will interest the public to know that the rent for the said property was only renewed three months ago by the same PDP that has now totally collapsed into the APC.
“The same former officials of the PDP who occupied the property when it was secretariat of the PDP are the persons still occupying it having switched allegiance and moved to the APC with the governor.
“So, the claim by Cobham of forceful entry is fraudulent and criminal and should be ignored.
“His claim that the PDP still has tenancy right over the property is pathetic. Pathetic because Cobham failed to realise that the same person who renewed the rent just three months ago has moved to the APC.
“If Barrister Cobham is not hiding behind a finger by claiming that the rent was paid by his party, let him name any member of the PDP as constituted today that either contributed or singlehandedly paid the rent.
“Rather than fight over what does not belong to it, we will advise the shell-shocked and lame duck PDP to look elsewhere to situate their secretariat,” the statement added.