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Duke, Imoke, Bassey meet after 14 years to resolve differences

By Nsa Gill, Calabar

Former Governors Donald Duke, Liyel Imoke and Senator representing Cross River South District Gershom Bassey, otherwise known as the three musketeers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have resolved their 14- year- old crisis in the state.

The reconciliation meetings held in two venues on Saturday as Imoke hosted the actual meeting in his private residence at State Housing with some of the PDP founding members and stakeholders while Duke hosted the reception in his private residence at Diamond hill.

It is believed the challenge to reinvent the fortunes of the PDP after the party lost control of the state following the defection of Governor Ben Ayade to the All Progressive Congress (APC) has made the reconciliation imperative.

In the video of the closed-door meeting leaked to some newsmen, Duke amidst cheers and applause said: “It’s 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”.

Referring to their 14- year difference, Duke said: “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 where 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.”

Imoke expressed excitement with the reunification and reassured 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.

There was a quiet divide in the party but recent defection of Governor Ben Ayade has caused them to reunite to build a stronger party.

Bassey, over the weekend, said on phone: “PDP is waxing stronger and stronger in Cross River State. I am a PDP man true and true and I see no reason to move to APC. We have been able to do our work as legislatures in the PDP and our work as politicians in the PDP.”

“Our governor said he was moving to the APC because after six years as governor in Cross River state, he wants to align with the centre…I am already aligned with the centre.

“I am working in the National Assembly in the senate where we have just one senate and that senate works for Nigeria and so align with the centre and we don’t have to move to any other party to align with the centre and do our work. Let the governor go and align with the centre but I will stay here and continue to align with the centre.”

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