The defection of Governor Ben Ayade from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) may have drawn the former governor, Senator Liyel Imoke out of his shell as he said the party would give the governor and his new party, the All-Progressives Congress (APC) a good run for their money.
Imoke, while addressing the stakeholders’ forum of the PDP in Calabar, few days after the defection of the governor, debunked insinuations that he collected N2 billion from Ayade to impose him on Cross River people during the 2015 election and disclose the party’s readiness to return to the drawing board in full preparation for the 2023 polls.
Flanked by some founding fathers and leaders of the PDP, national and state assembly members as well as a serving commissioner in Ayade’s government who refused to defect alongside the governor, Imoke said the party would match APC, strength for strength and money for money.
“Go and tell them that the original PDP is back and strong. Anything they want to use in 2023, we are ready. If they bring fight, we are ready, if it is voting strength we are equipped, if they boast of youth, we have more than enough for the battle ahead, if they boast of money, we are ready.
“We will go back to the drawing board. We are taking PDP back to where it was years ago. For those who do not understand, Cross River is a PDP state, the movement of one person does not change that fact. Politics is sweet, but we don’t play politics of intimidation.”
Speaking for the first time about his successor’s government, Ayade said: “It is very unfortunate what some people have done. I have watched this government keenly.
“I took all the risks for the emergence of this government, some people even accused me of collecting N2 billion to install this government. You could imagine the insults. When he ran election, did he have money?”