Ayade: Why I Dumped PDP for APC
- Says with Buhari’s ‘commitment to this country, his nationalistic disposition and all the efforts he has made to bring Nigeria to where we are today, it’s obvious that we should join hands with him to build a Nigeria that we can be proud of ‘
By Bassey Inyang
The Governor of Cross River State, Professor Ben Ayade has given reasons why he defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress.
Ayade announced his defection on Thursday morning at the Executive Council Chamber of the Governor’s office while hosting seven governors of the APC; among them Dr. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; Senator Hope Uzodimma of Imo State; Hon. Simon Lalong of Plateau State; Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State; Jigawa State Governor, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar; and the Chairman of APC National Caretaker Committee and Yobe State Governor, Mr. Mai Mala Buni.
Also present was the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva.
Some of the governors and the minister had stormed the state since Wednesday to lobby Ayade to join the ruling party in Nigeria.
While announcing his decision to dump the PDP, Ayade declared that henceforth, Cross River State has become an APC state, and urged all his supporters and followers to go to their respective wards and register with his new party.
Before decamping formally to the APC, he held a two-hour meeting with the APC delegation led by the party’s interim chairman and governor of Yobe State.
Others at the meeting were the state deputy governor, Prof Ivara Esu, Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Eteng Williams Jones and members of the state house of assembly, some National Assembly members, members of the Cross River State Executive Council members, local Government chairmen, councilors and some stakeholders, including Dame Princess Florence Ita-Giwa and High Chief Asuquo Ekpenyong amongst others.
Speaking on why he was joining the APC, Ayade highlighted the character and attributes of President Muhammadu Buhari and the realisation that Cross River, which has been emasculated economically following the ceding of its oil wells, needed to be in sync with the party at the center, as the main reasons for moving.
According to the governor, “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 .
“We need all governors to recognize that it is not party that matters. It is character, it is honor, it is commitment to the vision of this great nation. We all need to as a team work ahead of the president by working towards building a prosperous country that the succession worries of 2023 will come without the fears and the worries the international community has for us.
“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.”
Speaking on the development, an elated Buni said he and his team were in the state to formally welcome Governor Ayade to the APC.
His words: “I am here on behalf of the APC family to welcome His Excellency the Executive Governor of Cross River State formally to the APC. As from today he is the leader of the party in the state. ”
Minutes after his formal defection, Ayade took to the social media where he further explained why he dumped the PDP for the APC.
“This morning I formally joined the All Progressives Congress. This decision was borne out of the need to bring Cross River State in sync with the policies and programs of the federal government. I believe that if everyone of us as governors joins hands with Mr President, I think we can sit on the same dining table and fashion out a way to govern this country.
“We need all Governors to recognize that it is not party that matters. It is character, it is honor, it is commitment to the vision of this great nation.
“We all need to as a team work ahead of the President by working towards building a prosperous country that the succession worries of 2023 will come without the fears and the worries the international community has for us,” Ayade wrote on his Facebook page.
Former Leader of the 7th Senate of Nigeria, and Secretary, APC 2018 National Convention Planning Committee, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, SAN, a chieftain of the APC from the state has joined in welcoming Ayade into the party.
In a press statement issued by Ndoma-Egba on Thursday, he described Ayade’s entry into the APC as a good development for the state.
The statement made available to journalists in Calabar read as follows:
“Congratulations Governor Ben Ayade:
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.
“Once again, congratulations and welcome to the All Progressives Congress.”