The Governor of Cross River State, Prof Ben Ayade, on Thursday defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress.
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 governors in attendance were those of Ekiti, Kayode Fayemi; Jigawa, Mohammed Badaru; Yobe, Mai Mala Buni; Kebbi, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu; Imo, Hope Uzodima; and Plateau, Simon Along, as well as the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.
Speaking during the defection, 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 Presidential 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.”
Also, speaking after Ayade joined the party, Governor 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, 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.”
The Secretary to the State Government, Tina Banku-Agbor in her reaction said “the Governor has taken the right decision. We give him the chance. He is the right leader.”
Other political appointees such as commissioners and special advisers declined to comment on the governor’s defection.
It was gathered that some appointees were taken unawares, though some saw it coming.
Prior to the defection, Governor Ayade had complained about the manner he was being treated in PDP, especially being 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.