From Judex Okoro, Calabar
Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade. yesterday, dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He formally declared for the ruling party at the Cross River State Executive Council Chamber, Governor’s Office in Calabar after a two-hour meeting with seven APC governors, led by the party’s interim Chairman and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni.
Speaking on why he was joining the APC, Ayade highlighted the character 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 centre as the main reasons for moving.
According to the governor, “having seen and known the president 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 if everyone of us, as governors, joins hands with Mr. President, 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.
Hesaid: “I am here on behalf of the APC family to welcome the governor to the APC. As from today, he is the leader of the party in the state.”
Other APC governors, who witnessed the event, were Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Solomon Lalong of Plateau State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and his Jigawa State counterpart, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar and Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.
Meanwhile, APC bigwigs have hailed the defection of Governor Ayade to the party.
Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Festus Keyamo, in his official Twitter handle described Ayade as an enlightened and accomplished governor.
“I welcome one of the most cerebral, the most progressive, the most enlightened and the most accomplished governor, Ayade, to the fold of the progressives. As my elder brother and friend from the South South, this is the day we have been waiting for,” he said.
Similarly, former Senate majority leader, Victor Ndoma Egba, also congratulated Ayade, describing his defection as a well thought out decision that will be of huge benefit to Cross River State.
On his part, a former presidential aide and chieftain of the APC, Okoi Obono-Obla, expressed excitement at the defection of Governor Ayade.
APC governorship candidate in the 2019 election, Owan Eno, said: “We waited with baited breath and measured anticipation. I am enthused today that finally, the rumour has now become a reality.”