Ayade finally defects to APC at last
After months of rumours, Gov Ben Ayade of Cross River state has finally defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) thereby effectively ending the reign of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state since 1999.
The Governor said his decision was to join hands with President Muhammadu Buhari to move the country forward.
He made the anticipated declaration in Calabar, Thursday, in the Executive Council Chambers of the Governor’s Office while playing host to Dr Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state, Sen Hope Uzodimma of Imo, Hon Simon Lalong of Plateau, Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, the Chairman of APC National Caretaker Committee and Yobe State Governor, Mr. Mai Mala, and Timipre Sylva, Minister of state, petroleum.
Speaking, the Governor said “having seen and known the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and his commitment to this country, his nationalistic disposition and all the efforts he has made to bring Nigeria to where we are today, it is obvious that at this point we needed to join hands with him to build a Nigeria that we can be proud of.
“I believe that if everyone of us as governor joins hands with Mr President, I think we can sit on the same dining table and fashion out a way to govern this country.
“As a leader of the people of Cross River state, and in our resolve to join hands with Mr President to help him succeed, I therefore, on behalf of my people, declare that Cross River state is now APC state.”
This was followed by echoes of ‘we move, we move,’ from political appointees, members of the state House of Assembly, local government chairmen and other political leaders who had, few weeks ago, organised a solidarity rally for Ayade, urging him to leave PDP.
They had accused the PDP national leadership of taking the party structure from the Governor and handing it over to National Assembly members who had been in daggers drawn with Ayade over PDP structures.
In a congratulatory message few hours after the defection, former Senate leader, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, said “On behalf of myself and political associates, I heartily congratulate Your Excellency, Senator Prof. Ben Ayade, Governor of Cross River State on your well thought out decision to formally defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC) today and join the league of Progressive Governors in Nigeria.
“Your Excellency will recall that Cross River State has always been in the mainstream of Nigeria politics. There is no gainsaying the fact that the past 6 years of being in the opposition has impacted the State negatively, even though you have consciously navigated the ship of governance in sync with the APC-led Federal Government. As a State, we can ill afford to remain in the opposition. I commend you for recognizing this fact and doing the needful for the good of our dear State.
“As you join us in the Progressives fold, my expectation is that your coming will enrich our internal democracy and I enjoin you to be consultative, inclusive, democratic, transparent and accountable because these are the hallmarks of the All Progressives Congress family.
“I also expect that your presence in the APC will further strengthen the party and improve our electoral fortunes in Cross River State. I have no doubts that the APC family in the State has received you with open arms and will work with you to reposition our dear State on the path of unprecedented socioeconomic and sociopolitical development.
“Our core objective remains forging a stronger, united and formidable APC that will deliver the dividends of good governance to all Cross Riverians irrespective of political affiliation, ethnicity and religion. I trust that you are well in tandem with this.”
By Joseph Kingston, Calabar