The Publisher Nigeria reports that a former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, says it is unfortunate that Governor Ben Ayade convinced him to return to the Peoples Democratic Party only for him to defect to the All Progressives Congress soon after.
Duke, who was governor from 1999 to 2007, said this in a statement on Wednesday titled, ‘My Statement of Return to PDP’.
The former governor, who was the Presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party in the 2019 election, said he returned to the PDP in 2020.
The statement read in part, “Dear friends, a lot is being said about my return to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Truth is, I reunited with the party almost a year ago now, but in spirit never left the ideals for which the party was founded upon.
“It is rather unfortunate that Governor Ben Ayade who constantly egged me to rejoin the party has himself had cause to leave. A rather unfortunate decision for which I neither support nor condemn, as I’m not privy to the details except his complaints of being stifled and unappreciated by the leadership of the party and certain elements of Cross River State origin at Abuja.”
Duke said he joined politics in his 30s out of optimism and faith in Nigeria and emerged governor.
He stated that Cross River soon became the headquarters of the PDP but after 2007, things began to change as the party shunned internal democracy.
The statement read in part, “However, post 2007, the party’s fortune started ebbing. An autocratic leadership style emerged, communication with its followers declined and emergence in the party was determined largely not by the party constitution or structures but by the whims of the states chief executive.
“This is the structure Governor Ayade inherited and has largely led us to where we are today. The very top down political style we fought against prior 1999, instead of consultation, accommodation and inclusion reared its head to the extent that founding members of the party in the state including former state chairmen, senators, members of the National Assembly and I, over time opted out and this attrition has continued unabated to the extent that the governor himself has left to seek pasture elsewhere.”
Duke said he believed it was important that the PDP returned to its old ways of promoting internal democracy as this would encourage inclusion.
He said Nigeria is in dire need of good leadership and there is no room or time for egoistic pandering but selfless service.