JUST IN: Ayade dumps PDP for APC, gives reasons for defection

Cross River State Governor, Prof Ben Ayade on Thursday dumped the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), for the All Progressive Congress (APC), as he officially announced his defection at the Government House, Calabar.

The media aide to the governor, Christian Ita, while confirming the development, simply said: “It is true. We are there now. He has just declared for the APC.”

It was gathered that the governor on Wednesday hosted some APC governors to a dinner at the Government House.

The dinner was said to have sealed the eventual defection of Ayade, who had, prior to that time, been having battles with the leadership of the PDP in Cross River State, his cronies having lost out in the congresses that produced the current PDP State Executive Council, SEC, led by the governor.

The governor, while giving reasons for his defection, alluded to what he called the “commitment nationalistic disposition” of President Buhari to the nation, Nigeria.

“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.

According to him, “We need all governors to recognize that it is not the party that matters. It is the character, it is honour, it is the commitment to the vision of this great nation. We all need to as teamwork 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 every one 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,” Ayade admonished.

Ayade, while under the PDP, became a two-term governor and also a senator, in this political dispensation.

Speaking on the development, Governor Buni of Yobe State said he and his team were in the state to formally welcome Governor 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.

Some of the APC State governors at the dinner included: Hope Uzodimma of Imo, Dave Umahi, Ebonyi; Mai Mala Buni, Yobe, and Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa.

Other APC governors who witnessed the event were 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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