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2019: Ayade Begs Imoke, Nass Members For Forgiveness

Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade has allegedly moved to mend fences with some aggrieved leaders of his Party, the People's Democratic Party  (PDP) in the state in a bid to soften grounds for his second term bid in 2019.

The Governor according to a source familiar with the development, after failing to convince his predecessor, Sen Liyel Imoke to shift grounds on his plan to replace him in 2019 when they met over the weekend in Carlsbad, he has visited him three times in the past five days in Abuja to beg for forgiveness. 

Ayade has also met with the National Assembly Members (Nass) from the state who are loyal to Imoke to plead with them for forgiveness over the way he has treated the party since he assumed office.

In the meeting, Ayade who allegedly gave the lawmakers N2 million cash gift had a serious altercation with Senator Gershom Bassey who had to raise his voice on him for trying to stop him from expressing himself.

The former Governor is still perceived largely as having control of the party's structure in the state because of his relationship with the party's national leadership as well as the loyalty he enjoys from the House of Assembly and Nass members.

Imoke is said to be dissatisfied with Ayade for trying to scheme him out of activities in his government and party as he was not consulted in the last congress that produced the state party executives. Recall that Imoke and some prominent leaders of the party were conspicuously absent in the congress. 

Similarly, Ayade opened support for the Sen Ali Modu Sherrif faction of PDP during the leadership tussle with the caretaker chairman, Ahmed Makarffi has pitched him against Imoke and the leadership of PDP. 

Our source further said that Imoke is not satisfied with Ayade's performance and fears that if he is given the PDP ticket in 2019, the party may loose control of the state to the APC.

This is even as the Governor alleged plan to replace all the Nass members who are Imoke loyalists  is viewed as an attempt to sideline the former Governor in the politics of the state.

Although Ayade aides have constantly denied any rift between the duo, the source insist that such claims have all been political statement as the two gladiators have been at dagger drawn since Ayade assumed. 

He cited Imoke's recent public criticism of Ayade where he said that even as a sleeping Governor as he was called by his critics, he still performed better than Ayade in his first two years. 

Apart from his personal grievances with the Governor, Imoke is reportedly acting on the instructions of PDP national leadership who have given him and other leaders from the state matching orders to look for a suitable replacement for Ayade from any part of the state.
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