By Nsan Ndoma-Neji, Calabar
Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade, finally on Thursday ditched the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and pitched tent with the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, stressing that defecting to the APC was like a necessary evil which he has to commit.
Speaking at the state executive council chambers amidst APC governors and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, after a protracted meeting with seven APC governors, headed by the APC interim National Chairman and governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni.
Ayade explained that he took the bold decision to dump the PDP for the APC, because of the attributes of President Muhammadu Buhari and the realisation that Cross River State, which has been emasculated economically, due to the loss of several of its oil wells, needed to be in sync with the party at the center.
Governor Ayade 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.
“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 governors join 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 issue, Buni stated that he and his team came to the state to usher in Governor Ayade into the APC.
The Yobe State governor said, “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.”
Other APC governors, who witnessed the event were: Imo State’s Hope Uzodinma; Chairman of the Nigerina Governors’ Forum, NGF, and Ekiti State’s Kayode Fayemi; Plateau State’s Solomon Lalong; Kebbi State’s Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and his Jigawa State counterpart, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar.
Cross Riverians present at the defection ceremony include: the Cross River State Deputy Governor, Prof Ivara Esu; the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Eteng Williams Jones, and members of the state House of Assembly; some members of the National Assembly members from Cross River State; members of the Cross River State Executive Council; local government chairmen, councilors and some stakeholders, including: Dame Princess Florence Ita-Giwa and High Chief Asuquo Ekpenyong and other followers of Prof. Ben Ayade.