By Joseph Kingston, Calabar
The already charged political atmosphere in Cross River state which came as a result of Gov Ben Ayade’s defection to the APC, became intense at the weekend when both the PDP and APC lay claims to a property at the Murtala Muhammed Highway which had served as PDP state Secretariat for many years.
Recall that the APC had on Saturday took possession of the said Secretariat and repainted it with its colours.
In a press statement, the PDP said its tenancy was still subsisting and therefore appealed to the national leadership of the ruling party to call Gov Ben Ayade and the state APC to order.
The statement, which was signed by PDP Caretaker Committee Chairman and former Deputy Governor, Efiok Cobham, said “we vehemently protest this primitive invasion of the PDP secretariat by the APC on the instructions of Governor Ben Ayade.
“PDP has a subsisting tenancy over the property. We have the tenancy agreements and receipts evidencing payment of the rent for the current tenure in respect of the property. The lessor of the property has clarified that the tenancy of the PDP in respect of 42A Murtala Mohamed Highway is still subsisting.”
But Ayade, in his reaction faulted PDP’s claims, saying he was the one who paid the rent for the Secretariat when he was still in PDP and that he has right to use the property for whatever purpose he wants to.
In a press release signed by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Christian Ita, and made available to our reporter in Calabar on Sunday, the Governor said ‘the property is a rented property which is not owned by the PDP.”
He explained 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 (Chairman of PDP Caretaker Committee) 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.”