From Judex Okoro, Calabar
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River has revealed that he had extensive consultation and negotiation discussion with All Progressive Congress leadership before defecting the th ruling party.
This is contrary to believe in some quarters that Ayade had defected without proper consultations with top hierarchy of the ruling party.
Ayade, defected to APC on Thursday, May 20, 2021 and since the then there has been no love lost between him and PDP.
Ayade, who made this revelation during a rally organised by the Alliance for a Greater Cross River State, Cross River State Political Network and the Coalition of APC Support Groups and held in Calabar on Wednesday, stated that he did not just move to APC as people thought, but weighed the gains ahead of the state.
Ayade, who received the youths alongside some APC chieftains including former Governorship aspirant in 2019 election, Sen John Owan Eno, said the state stands to gain tremendously by hooking up to the centre at this critical time.
He said the state cannot continue to remain in opposition amid the economic downturn and security challenges facing the nation, adding that it would be preposterous to leave the state in hands of those who don’t have their future at heart.
He said: “! consulted intensively and negotiated before moving to APC. I have no basis to move to APC but the reality is that it is for the good and future of Cross River people, especially the youths as we cant continued to do opposition for them.
“Some people have held the state to ransom for many years and they cannot continue to control the state mafe of young people. So now is the time to give the young people opportunity.
“If I did not expand the government, you would have seen what would have happened in the state. Political parties are vehicles and the best vehicle for now is APC.
Ayade explained that he defected to APC to enable him reconnect to federal government and then be able to exploit the state’s natural resources.
“I need the support of the federal government to exploit it’s resources. We have abundant oil in Biase, Bakassi, Odukpani as well as gas resources in Yala.
“We are not part of the 13% derivation and so we need to socket to the center to exploit these resources and bring value to the state.”
He, however, commended the youths for rallying in his support and urge them to go to their respective wars and register in APC.
On his part, the DG of the Cross River State Migration Agency Prince Michael Abuo Wellington (Jp), said the essence of the rally is to affirm the support of the youths in the state to the governor.
Prince Abuo Wellington who is also the co-chairman of the planning committee said the state is now an APC state and the youths are totally in support of the governor.
The Chairman of the Coalition of APC Support Groups in the State Comrade Iso Edim pledged to work with the governor in actualizing his dreams for the state.
On her part, Majorie Ekanem, a former Chairman of Calabar South, said 2000 women are with the governor and they will always stand by his side in the course of bringing development to the state.