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Cross Rivers governor Ayade dumps PDP for APC

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Ayade. Photo/TWITTER/SENBENAYADE

After four years of speculations, foot dragging and denials, Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has formerly dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

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Before now, Ayade and his media team had vilified newsmen for on many occasions reporting that he (Ayade) was going to leave the PDP for APC.

His decamping is, however, not coming to many as a surprise as his body language and the loss of control of the PDP structure to the National Assembly members and stakeholders in the state and the general loss of favour in the PDP at the national level over time is considered a major determinant.

When the PDP reconciliation committee led by former Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki visited him two months ago Ayade expressed his anger with the party and said he was sitting on the fence.

It is not clear yet who has joined him in the decamping but as the plots for his decamping had thickened, all the 18 local government chairmen, vice-chairmen, 196 councilors, and more than 6,000 appointees last month at the Millennium square, staged a solidarity rally for Ayade saying they were ready to “swim or sink with him”.

Led by the Chairman of Akpabuyo council, Mr. Emmanuel Bassey, the Chairmen and others said, “With this rally, we are sending a clear message that we are solidly behind the leader of the party in Cross River, His Excellency Professor Ben Ayade. We will stop at nothing to ensure we give him all that he would need to succeed.

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“We are ready to sink or swim and possibly die with him if need be…We are telling our leader to go to sleep because his foot soldiers are on the ground. Agade is the leader of the PDP in Cross River and whosoever plays with this fact does so at his or her own perils,” Bassey said.

A statement from the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Christian Ita said Ayade formally declared for the ruling party at the 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.

“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,” Ayade said.

“We need all governors to recognize that it is not party that matters. It is character, it is honour, 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”, he declared adding, “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.”

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Speaking on the development, an elated Buni said he and his team were in the state to formally welcome Ayade to the APC.

“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,” Buni said.

Other APC governors who witnessed the event were Hope Uzodinma of Imo State, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Solomon Lalong of Plateau State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and his Jigawa State counterpart, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar.

Also present was the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva.

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.


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