The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said yesterday that it was shocked and embarrassed at the defection of Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Ayade switched camps on Thursday after a meeting with an APC delegation in Calabar.
He moved to his new party with numerous stalwarts of the party and members of the State House of Assembly, although the federal lawmakers from the state declared that they would remain in the PDP because the governor did not consult them.
The APC itself yesterday announced that election into party and public offices would be thrown open to all old and new members at its forthcoming national convention in a bid to accommodate as many interests as possible.
Reacting to Ayade’s defection yesterday, Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State said PDP governors “are greatly shocked and embarrassed that he (Ayade) would suddenly dump the party for APC” despite the strenuous efforts made by the PDP to keep him in its fold.
Ishaku spoke to State House correspondents in Abuja.
He said the PDP, through the Senator Bukola Saraki-led National Reconciliation and Strategy Committee, did a good job to make Ayade stay, but he had other reasons for leaving the party.
He said: “Let me tell you, they (Saraki Committee) have done a good job, but it depends on the decision of an individual and what he actually hopes to gain.
“You may have the best of intentions, somebody may not agree with you and so that is the point. I think it’s more of the governor’s decision, as it affects him, and nobody can hold brief on that.
“I wouldn’t know precisely the governor’s thinking, because all of us are different.
“All of us see PDP as alternative to APC and all the PDP governors are doing very well in their respective states.
“For him to leave to APC, I don’t know the details of that. I have not seen him. But be that as it may, I believe that any democratic country must have an opposition; a viable opposition. And opposition in itself is good for democracy.
“If you don’t have an opposition, then the government in power can go astray. So I believe in a vibrant democracy with an opposition. If we have an opposition, it is good.
“As to the reason why our colleague in PDP will depart, I don’t know the details and I can’t hold brief for him. He can still talk for himself.
“But I want to assure you that all the governors in PDP are doing very well in their respective states. Possibly because we’re in opposition and the pressure is on us and we are doing the best we can.”
He ruled out the possibility of more PDP governors abandoning the party for the APC.
“I don’t see that happening. And like I said, even his own was a shock to some of us,” he said.