The Cross River State Government has explained that the secretariat formerly occupied by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the State was a rented property that was renewed recently by the State Governor, Ben Ayade.
It was reported that following the defection of the Governor from PDP to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, the secretariat was on Saturday taken over by Ayade’s new party.
The secretariat which is situated at 42 Murtala Mohamed Highway, was renovated on Saturday as some men were seen painting and cresting the building with APC colours, logo and flags.
A statement signed by Mr Effiok Cobham, the Chairman, PDP Caretaker Committee in Cross River State alleged that PDP had a subsisting tenancy over the property.
This has stimulated a face-off between the leadership of the two parties as police beefed up security in the area to avert violence.
However, in a statement by Christian Ita, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to Governor Ayade, the state government insisted that the property belongs to the governor.
Ita described PDP’s claim as “nothing but tissue of lies and a cocktail of fraudulent” act, stressing that the statement was meant to mislead the public and “whip up undeserved public sympathy.”
The statement reads in part, “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 that 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 the 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”.