2023: Excitement as Duke, Imoke, Bassey resolve differences, restrategise
By Joseph Kingston, Calabar
Members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River state, at the weekend, expressed excitement with the coming together again, for the first time in many years, of former governors, Mr Donald Duke and Sen Liyel Imoke as well as the Senator representing Cross River South, Gershom Bassey.
Recall that for more than 14 years, the three politicians, who are always referred to as “the three wise men of Cross River politics or the musketeers,” could not put their acts and plans together, unlike before, due to irreconcilable differences, but the defection of Gov Ben Ayade to the APC seemed to have played the magic.
The reconciliation meetings held in two venues on Saturday as Imoke hosted the actual meeting in his private residence at State Housing estate, Calabar with some of the PDP founding members and stakeholders while Duke hosted the reception in his own private residence at Diamond Hill, Calabar.
In the close door meeting on Saturday in Sen Imoke’s residence, the three musketeers (Imoke, Duke and Bassey), with other founding members and stakeholders, vowed to put behind them their differences and form a formidable front to recapture the state from the All Progressives Congress (APC) following recent decamping of governor Ben Ayade from the PDP to the APC.
In a video of the closed door meeting, which leaked to some newsmen yesterday, Duke, amidst cheers and applause said, “its not about winning elections, we’re trying to build the people and not just winning elections and I think that is what politics is all about.
“We have a lot of work to do, a lot of people are waiting to hear from us and waiting to see that our house is in order and I want to say something; this house is in order.
“As long or as protracted as this has gone on, if we sat down and rob minds the issue would have vanished in 10 minutes. We needed an event like this were we would say what is your problem? We will still talk about it but that is not the issue now.
“Right now, there is the greatest thing at stake which is the corporate unity of all of us. I may have gone on sabbatical and temporary retirement but you’ll find no record of me retiring from PDP.
“We have work to do and we can’t sit down here to do this work. Just as in 1999 we traversed the length and breadth of this country. Let us go back to that root and once again traverse the length and breadth. Let our children who we want to put into the system see that their fathers are still around and are laughing because you see you can inherit anything.”
On his part, Imoke expressed excitement with the reunification and reassured the people of the state that the PDP was intact and will certain recapture the state come 2023 for the interest of the people and the state.
Since 2007, the relationship between Duke and Imoke was frosty causing the former to go on sabbatical and there was a quiet divide in the party but recent camping of Governor Ayade has caused them to reunite to build a stronger party.
In a chat, a member of the party, who gave his name simply as Osim, said the coming together of “the three wise men” was the best thing to happen to the PDP, saying party members were excited and confident of taking back the state in 2023.