Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade has formally joined the race for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential nomination.
Ayade, who met with President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, he said he had no intention of joining the race until asked to do so by the president.
He revealed it to reporters after the meeting with the president.
Ayade said he was at the villa to seek guidance from the president on how to proceed with his political alignment, but Buhari asked him to join the race.
According to Mr. Ayade, the president said: “You are governor of the south-south, go out too and consult. I’m glad you didn’t come here to tell me you want to run, you came here to tell me you want to support me. Let me watch you while you go out.”
He described himself as a candidate in waiting, although he will support the president’s candidate.
“I will support the president’s candidate. Although I am in standby mode, I am available. If you are the choice, I will support the president’s candidate,” he said.
Ayade added that the same approach landed him the governorship in 2015. Describing his appearance as a “lucky break,” the governor said the same lucky break is visiting him again.
Ayade, a teacher, was a senator on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) platform before being elected governor in 2015 also on the party’s platform. He defected to the APC in May 2021, becoming the party’s only governor in the South-South zone.
The Cross River Governor, who will complete his second term in May 2023, joined an already packed APC field that includes Governors Dave Umahi of Ebonyi and Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.
Also in the running are former Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi; former Senate President Ken Nnamani; the former governor of the state of Imo, Rochas Okorocha; Minister of Labor and Employment, Chris Ngige and others.
In addition, former President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Kayode Fayemi are also believed to be “making moves” to declare their intention to run.
There has been a clamor from some groups for Jonathan to join the race on the platform of the ruling APC, the same party that defeated him in 2015.
Last week, some groups protested at Mr. Jonathan’s house in Abuja. While addressing the groups, Mr. Jonathan did not give a concrete answer about whether or not to join the race, but simply told them to “watch out”.
Asked about his chances against the former president, who is also from the South-South region, Ayade said he would be willing to support any candidate that comes along.
If I am elected, I will exchange the naira for the dollar…
Speaking about how he intends to fix the economy, particularly the naira which has been performing poorly against the world’s major currencies, Professor Ayade said that Nigeria need not subject the naira to the forces of supply and demand. .
He promised to fix the naira at a permanent exchange rate against the dollar. According to the governor, the concept of supply and demand does not work in real life.
“Nigeria does not have to subject our currency to the forces of demand and supply on equal terms, when we know that the concept of ceteris paribus never applies in real life.
“On the first of October 2023, our Independence Day, the rate of the dollar will be fixed to the naira.”
He also promised to force all oil-producing companies producing more than 200,000 barrels a day to set up modular refineries in the country.