Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State on Thursday gave life to the months of speculation that he might dump the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), under which he became a two-term governor and also a senator, in this political dispensation, for the All Progressive Congress (APC), as he officially announced his defection at the Government House, Calabar.
Christian Ita, media aide to the governor, while confirming the development, simply said: “It is true. We are there now. He has just declared for the APC.”
A source privy to the arrangement had hinted that the governor on Wednesday hosted some APC governors to a dinner at the Government House.
Some of the APC governors at the dinner included: Hope Uzodimma of Imo, Dave Umahi, Ebonyi; Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Kebbi; Mai Mala Buni, Yobe and Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa.
The dinner, the source added, was to fine-tune the eventual defection of Ayade, who had, prior to that time, been having battles with the leadership of the PDP in Cross River State, his cronies having lost out in the congresses that produced the current PDP State Executive Council (SEC).
Nigerian Tribune gathered that Ayade had spent the last few months making consultations on his planned defection, with his close political allies advising him to remain in the PDP which they reasoned had given the governor opportunities to thrive politically.
The source, who did not want his name in print, added that Ayade would have defected shortly after Umahi defected in Ebonyi “but he held back because he was not sure of how many of his aides and allies will follow him to APC.”
“While we believe that the governor was not treated fairly during the last congress and that he lost the executive of the party in the state, many of us still don’t believe that that is enough reason for him to dump the party. Our argument is that PDP has done him well and whatever problem we have now are not too fundamental for the governor to leave,” the source said.