BENEDICT AYADE, two terms Governor of Cross Rivers State, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Thursday, took a plunge, from his party, the PDP, to the ruling All Progress Congress, APC, when he announced his defection to the ruling party. This is coming at a time when Nigeria’s economic, political and social life, have been dislocated and fragmented like never before in the history of the nation.
This has led to assume up Nigeria’s present precarious situation, under the ruling APC, as heading to national collapse or failed State. At a time, the national government seemed to have failed in constructive and inclusive engagements; and in proffering workable solutions to the country’s multifaceted crisis – including grave insecurity, mass poverty, high rate of unemployment, spiraling inflation, among others.
Reactions to Ayade’s move vary. Some see him as boarding an already sinking ship. Others are not surprised, because Ayade’s body language, during his second term in office, indicates that his remaining in the PDP was of no use to him. He had lost control of the party’s structure in the State to major PDP stakeholders. He has, also, lose favour with the party’s national leadership.
Others are concerned about what advantage Ayade’s defection to the ruling APC, would bring to Cross Rivers State. Would it bring development? Would it improve insecurity, banditry, economic hardship, unemployment, abate poverty and rising inflation; and enhance better welfare for the people of the State? They believe Ayade has been masquerading as PDP Governor, while his heart and body was already with the ruling APC.
It is sketchy who would be migrating from Cross River State PDP with Ayade to the APC. However, the interim National Chairman of the APC, Buni, at the formal welcoming of Ayade to the party, said: “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 was accompanied on the reception of Ayade to the ruling party, by some APC Governors Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti State; Solomon Lalong, Plateau State; Hope Uzodinma, Imo State; Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and his Jigawa State counterpart, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar. Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Timipre Sylva, was also present. Some dignitaries in Cross Rivers State government were present. There was no pump and pageantry to reflect the mood of the event.
AYADE GAVE REASONS for his defection, after a closed-door meeting with some APC governors, at the Governor’s Office, Calabar. It includes aligning Cross River State with the government at the centre, to enhance the fortunes of the State. He was not explicit what fortunes he could attract to Cross River State, with his new found ruling party.
Speaking at another platform, Channels Television programme, Politics Today, Thursday night, Ayade said his defection, was also, due to his personal relationship with President Buhari and his leadership; as well as the president’s relationship with Cross River State.
Ayade’s words: “The relationship is so strong that, don’t forget, the President’s first working visit was to Cross River State. I am not from the North. I am not a Muslim. I was not in APC. But the President chose my state to visit. I owe him that sense of duty, relationship, that fatherly respect. I have related closely with him and I can see his heart and soul. He is a good man in all total sense”.
THE PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY, PDP, has cautiously, reacted to Ayade’s move to the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC. National Publicity Secretary, of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, wished Governor Ayade well in his endeavours. And urged members of the party in Cross River State to remain intact, and also, ensure that all the party’s structure remains intact.
Ologbondiyan statement said: “The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, notes the decamping of the Cross River State Governor Prof Ben Ayade. Our party calls on all critical stakeholders and teeming members of our party in Cross River to immediately pull together and ensure that all structure of our party in the state remains intact. The PDP wishes Governor Ayade well in his new political sojourn as well as in his future endeavours”.
It will be a waiting game in Cross River State. The citizens of the state would be looking forward to the benefits accruing from Ayade’s defection to the ruling party. The question on the minds of the people could be, what development has Buhari and the ruling APC brought to Nigeria, that the president would extend to Cross River State, through Governor Ayade?
Just like Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, who also defected from PDP to the ruling party; Ayade’s defection would be an interesting entrant to the APC.