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Why Ayade, Governor Of Cross River state Defected To The Ruling APC

By Stephen Ubanna

 When Dave Umahi, governor of E boyi state who was elected on the Platform of the Oposition  People’s Democratic Party, PDP, decamped to the ruling All  Progressive Congress, APC,  last November, Hope Uzodimma, a Senator of Federal  Republic of Nigeria and now governor of Imo state,  had boasted that more PDP , governors will decamp to the APC.

True to his words,   Ben Ayade, a Professor and the Cross river state governor  had decamped to the party, thus making him the second PDP governor to dump the Opposition party for the APC FOR their own pecuniary gainsas party Chieftains had said.  But he had  said that he decamped to the APC ‘’due to President Muhammadu Buhari, Leadership   qualities  and to help the 78 year-old  retired Army General and Katsina state born Nigerian President in dealing with the  economic and security  challenges facing the country over the last five years’’.

But not many were surprised that the Cross river state governor , described as a governor without any Ideology,  could dump the PDP to join the APC, ahead of the February 18, 2023, general elections, as scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Indeed, for months there have been speculations making the rounds that Ayade has concluded plans to decamp to the APC , because of the crisis in the state Chapter of the PDP. The crisis was so pronounced that the PDP Governors Forum  had intervened  to resolve it. The crisis  which was a fallout of  the state Ward  and state Congresses, elections in the state and the governor’s inability to produce the Candidate for the Cross river North Senatorial election may have angered him. 

Prior to his exit from the PDP, the crisis in the party  had resulted  in series of litigation  from one High Court to another which was said to have ended up at the Supreme Court. The Court cases may have deepened the crisis at the party as Ayade , the Crorss river state governor was said to have lost the party machinery  to those opposed to him.

Aminu Tambuwal, a former Speaker of House of Representatives, and governor of Sokoto state, , had led a  a three –man Crisis resolution ommittee,  Comprising of Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta state and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, governor of Enugu state to the south-south state ‘’to rub minds with the stakeholders   on some of the issues bordering on the PDP unity in the state’’.

Gov.Tambuwwal Of Sokoto State

With the assignment given to the three-man Team,  by the PDP governors , which was said to have been sanctioned by the Uche secondus led National Working Committee of the Party,  NWC, they were said to have met with Ayade, the aggrieved  Cross river state governor whose Candidates  may have lost out  in the Ward, Capter and State Congresses and  other stakeholders of the party in the state on the contentious issues. Tambuwal  was optimistic thathe PDP, crisis in the Cross rive state  will be resolved  to the admiration of all the parties but that was  ho  how far he could go.

Notwithstanding the efforts of the PDP governors to restore normalcy in the party in Cross river state, the governor, who had already opened a channel of discussion with the APC, Leadership, had already started making plans to defect to decamp APC.

He was said to have been encouraged by Umahi, the govenornor of Eboyi state state , who had already decamped to the APC to do so as a way of having unfettered access to the Nigerian President to make his demands which would be speedily answered to enhance the provision of infrastructural facilities in the state.

Umahi: First PDP Governor To Defect To APC

Not that the Cross river  governor was at the Tuesday, May 11,southern governors meeting at Asaba, Capital of Delta state on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. He had fully  participated in all the discussions and deliberations of  the governors  and also signed the Communique that was released  at the meeting.

The southern states  governors had takena decision, banning open grazing in the region, called on the retired to restructure the Nigeria and also called  for Dialogue among the Federating units.  The governors, who were said to have brushed aside their political differences also had called on the Nigerian President to address the peopel on the state of the nation.

Ayade , according to informed sources never  raised any objection to any of the decisions taking at the meeting.   His exit from the PDP, barely two weeks of the Asaba, southern governor’s meeting shows that he has  working agenda, a party a top official had remarked. He may gladdened the heart of the APC,  Chieftains who had encouraged him to join the ruling party that ‘’more PDP governors  will soon  the party’’

 Hear him:. I am happy to announce  to  you  that very son , more PDP governors  will be joining the APC, because of what we want to achieve to have  a country where we can  sit  with the retired Army General  and agree  on our succession process without fighting for it. This is an indication that he  has a personal interest for joining the APC and not the interest of the people of the state and Nigerians in general.   He may have told the APC, big shots that  members of his Cabinet other loyalists at the PDP, will also dump the party for the APC.

Despite the reasons  given bythe Cross river governor for dumping the party that had brought him to limelight in the nation’s murky waters of politics, many believe that he had joined the APC, ”to save his face because of ‘’the huge lose  suffered  at the last PDP Congress in the state’’.

In apparent reaction to Ayade, the Cross river  governor defection to the APC,  the NWC, of the PDP,  has urged  party members in the state  ‘’to remain steadfast,  committed and united”, insisting that they must ensure that ”the party structure remains intact”.  Appealing to the critical members of the party in the state,   ‘’to immediately  pull together in order to strengthen the party, they were said” to have wished the Professor  well in his political  sojourn APC, as well as  his future political endeavours’’.  

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