The governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade, on Thursday defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He announced the decision after a closed-door meeting with six APC governors that lasted over an hour at the executive chamber of the Governor’s Office in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
The governors in attendance include Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti); Mohammed Badaru (Jigawa); Mai Mala Buni (Yobe); Abubakar Bagudu(Kebbi); Hope Uzodima (Imo); and Simon Lalong (Plateau), as well as Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.
Making the announcement, Ayade said: “We need to join hands with President Buhari in his determination to enhance the fortunes of the country.
“I need all governors to similarly join me and understand my decision to join the APC.
“We need to work ahead with the president for the future and unity of Nigeria. We all need to sit at the same dining table with Mr President to save Nigeria.
“It is my responsibility to bring back Cross River to the centre in order to enhance her fortunes.
“I therefore formally declare myself a member and leader of APC in Cross River State.”
Speaking, Yobe State Governor and APC National Caretaker Committee Chairman,Buni, said the governor automatically becomes the leader of the party in the state.
Reacting, former Special Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo on National Assembly matters, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, said the decision of the governor is a “right move in the right direction. Where the leader of the state goes, I go with him.”
Also reacting, the Secretary to the State Government, Tina Banku-Agbor, said: “The governor has taken the right decision. We give him the chance, he is the right leader.”
It was gathered that some appointees were caught unawares by the governor’s defection while some saw it coming.
Prior to the defection, Ayade had complained about the manner he was being treated in PDP, especially after he was denied the leadership of the party in the state.
Crisis had rocked the party in the state over the control of the party at all levels.