The Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) representing governors elected under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has commended Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade for joining their fold.
Ayade dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the ruling APC, which came as a shock to his colleagues in the opposition party.
He contested under the PDP platform in 2015 and won. The Cross River governor also actualised his second term ambition under the opposition party in 2019.
Reacting via a statement issued on Friday, the PGF Chairman and Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu said Ayade’s decision to join the APC is a testament of “our party’s capacity to mobilise all Nigerians consistent with the vision of the founding fathers to ensure that the APC is a platform to unite all Nigerians.”
He described the ruling party as one “that is open, transparent and will continue to guarantee fair contestation in politics, in line with the overarching commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari and all our founding leaders.”
“Our National Caretaker Extraordinary/Convention Planning Committee has worked hard to restore the political credentials of the APC as a strong institution for Nigeria’s democratic development. We will continue to support the National Caretaker Extraordinary/Convention Planning Committee in all its current initiatives to rebuild our great party.
“With the coming of Mr. Ayade, the capacity of our party to mobilise all patriots and other like-minded progressive Nigerians to join the APC is stronger.”
See the full statement issued by the Progressives Governors on the defection of Governor Ben Ayade to the ruling APC below:
The Progressive Reinforcement Continues
Welcoming Mr. Ben Ayade to the APC
The Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) welcome His Excellency, Mr. Ben Ayade, Governor of Cross River State to the All Progressives Congress (APC). We join all leaders and members to welcome this illustrious Nigerian into our great party. The decision of Mr. Ayade to join the APC is a testament of our party’s capacity to mobilise all Nigerians consistent with the vision of the founding fathers to ensure that the APC is a platform to unite all Nigerians. The coming of Mr. Ayade into the APC further reinforces the process of membership and leadership recruitment at all levels.
We congratulate our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, whose sterling qualities and fair mindedness endear patriotic Nigerians to the party. Mr. President’s credentials as a fair leader who is impartial will continue to promote our party and serve as a major source of electoral advantage. As Progressive Governors, we will remain steadfast in supporting the efforts and initiatives of Mr. President to build our party, APC, as a strong and democratic political party in the country.
Also, we salute our members of the APC National Caretaker Extraordinary/Convention Planning Committee under the leadership of HE Mai Mala Buni for this milestone achievement of once again getting another experienced leader in the person of His Excellency Ben Ayade to join the APC. We welcome Mr. Ben Ayade for taking the courageous decision of leaving the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) to join our party, the All Progressives Congress. The movement of our compatriot to the APC is indicative of his principles, commitment and conviction to the development of Nigeria.
Given all his achievements in Cross River State, Mr. Ayade is only coming home where he belongs. APC is indeed the party that will provide him and his people, and indeed all Nigerians the viable platform for political aspirations and negotiations. Together with Mr. Ayade and all our leaders in the APC, our party’s capacity to serve the collective interests of all Nigerians through effective representation will be strengthened and reinforced.
Our party, APC, is open, transparent and will continue to guarantee fair contestation in politics, in line with the overarching commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari and all our founding leaders. Our National Caretaker Extraordinary/Convention Planning Committee has worked hard to restore the political credentials of the APC as a strong institution for Nigeria’s democratic development. We will continue to support the National Caretaker Extraordinary/Convention Planning Committee in all its current initiatives to rebuild our great party. With the coming of Mr. Ayade, the capacity of our party to mobilise all patriots and other like-minded progressive Nigerians to join the APC is stronger.
APC belongs to all Nigerians. Everyone, from every part of the country is free to aspire for any position in the party in line with provisions of our party’s constitution and the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. The guiding philosophy as enshrined in the provisions of our manifesto is economic, social and political development of Nigeria.
The Progressive Reinforcement of our party continues. We look forward to receiving more patriots and progressive minded Nigerians into the APC!
More governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will leave the opposition party for the All Progressives Congress (APC), Governor Ben Ayade said on Thursday.
The governor who recently announced his defection from the PDP to the APC gave the hint when he featured as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
“Just watch out, you will see; you will just realise that I know what I am saying,” he stated when he was asked to disclose some of his colleagues mulling their defection.
Governor Ayade added, “I am happy to announce to you that very soon, more governors are joining (the APC), because what we want to achieve is a country where we all can sit with the President and agree on our succession process, we don’t have to fight.”
He denied the claim that he moved to the ruling party after he suffered a huge loss at the recent PDP congress held in his state.
Rather, the governor stressed that he was in control and had a firm grip on the PDP until he announced his exit from the ruling party.
Noting that his defection has led to the reception of thousands of new members by the APC, he acknowledged the important roles the PDP played in his political career.
Governor Ayade noted that the PDP stood by him and gave him the opportunities to become a senator and a two-term governor.
“I will never at any time put down the PDP; I have integrity, I have honour. My politics has ethics, but I chose to join APC to support the President to reduce the tension in this country,” he said.
The governor added, “I have just joined the party today and my experience so far, I feel so happy to have been in this APC today. As to whether there were issues in PDP, no; the party stood by me all the way.
“All the chairmen of the local governments, almost all the House of Assembly members, most of the National Assembly members, my entire commissioners and cabinet today; that is the amount of the political structure … in Cross River State, once the governor moves, everybody moves.”
Cross Rivers State Governor Ben Ayade has dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Governor Ayade announced his decision on Thursday morning after a closed-door meeting with six APC governors and some members of the National Assembly who visited him at the Government House.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva amd members of the state executive council were also at the meeting.
The governors who visited Ayade include Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State; Hope Uzodinma of Imo State; Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State who is also the APC caretaker Chairman; Simon Lalong of Plateau State; Mohammed Abubakar of Jigawa State, and Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State.
Ayade was elected as the governor of Cross Rivers State in 2015 under the platform of the PDP. He was reelected in 2019 under the platform of the same political party.
Ayade is the second sitting governor to have pitched his camp with the ruling APC, lately.
Six months back, Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi, also left the PDP.
Mr Umahi left the PDP citing “injustice” meted out to the South-East by the party as his reason.
On his part, Governor Mohammed said the need for the party to remain United cannot be overemphasized especially as the country gradually tilts towards the next political era.
He however commended Ayade for connecting to the people of the state politically.
“You are inexorably connected in terms of perception, vision and where we want to take the country together and because our forefathers have been together in this kind of thing, we are connected intellectually and politically.
“There must be structures put in place to make sure that the affairs and aspirations of all Nigerians, especially our leaders are reached,” he said.
Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has commended residents for showing up at their respective polling centres in the Cross River North senatorial district bye-election in Cross River.
He stated this on Saturday shortly after casting his vote at Ward 004 in Ikpong in Obudu Local Government Area of the state.
Governor Ayade who is confident that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will win the election believes his political structure guarantees success for the party.
“I am very impressed, and you can see that even though it is still early in the day, the crowd is huge; this is a very massive polling unit, it is at the epicentre of our ward and it is very huge,” he told reporters.
The governor noted that there must be a winner and a loser in every election and advised the winner to be magnanimous in victory.
He also urged whoever loses in the election to accept the outcome in good faith and show the spirit of sportsmanship.
Governor Ayade said, “They (candidates) should show the spirit of sportsmanship; anybody who ends up as the loser should not see the defeat as the end of the world, we should put our differences aside and move on.”
“We are all from the larger Ogoja senatorial district. Whoever wins is from Ogoja and we will all stand by the person.
“Both the winner and loser must have an open mind and find a way to collaborate and work together. The world is a dynamic place. If you win today, tomorrow you may lose,” he stated.
The governor said the election, judging from what he has seen at his polling unit, was free and fair.
Cross River State governor, Professor Ben Ayade on Thursday presented the 2021 appropriation bill to the State House of Assembly.
Tagged Budget of ‘Blush and Bliss’, the budget has a total estimate of N277 billion.
The sum of N192,511,985,550 representing 67 percent of the entire budget is earmarked for recurrent expenditure while N88,196,500 representing 33 percent is for capital expenditure.
The governor explained that due to the cumulative impact of the disasters that characterised the year 2020, 67 percent of the budget goes for recurrent expenditure.
This according to Ayade is set aside to meet the immediate and physical needs of Cross River residents in the aftermath of the COVID-19 and #EndSARS aftermath
“I decided along with my executive council after due consultation that the budget of this year will focus more on the humanitarian perspective.
“We have decided to shift focus from infrastructure, from big projects and refocus on the people.
“So this is the people’s budget. This budget takes care of unemployment, takes care of the issues of security consistent with the provisions of the Constitution in section 14 sub Section 2,” the governor said during the presentation.
He said further that “we have decided to focus so much on Agriculture, youth Employment, Social housing, and youth skill development.”
The budget has a provision for the establishment of Neighbourhood Security Watch which is aimed at dealing with the issues of neighborhood protection and create employment for youths.
Explaining the reason for the title of the budget, Ayade said: “Blush because we are going through a situation where our face is red and in pain, it is blush because we are coming away from our big dreams of kinetic crystallization, from our Olimpotic Agenda and reducing ourselves to a consumptive effort just to reflect the mood of the times.”
He also condoled with residents of Cross River who in the course of the recent arson and vandalism in the state suffered any form of loss.
He also notes that it is important to avoid public gatherings at a time like this, to avoid community transmission of the virus.
“For those who may wish to celebrate the day at home, I urge them to do so observing all the COVID-19 protocols and other safety measures as announced by the government,” the statement read in part.
The governor said he is concerned about protecting the people from the pandemic than holding any public spectacle in celebration of the independence anniversary.
He enjoined Nigerians not to lose faith in the country in spite of the many challenges they are facing.
On the resumption of schools, the statement maintained that it was the need to protect the people of the state from the pandemic that informed the delayed announcement of a date for resumption of schools in the state.
“Cross River State is following the clinical procedures of COVID-19 protocols in order not to expose our kids to coronavirus,” Ayade said and assured that the government will only announce a resumption date when it considers it safe for pupils to return to school.
Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, burst into tears on Thursday as he decried the tax burden on low-income earners in the state.
“This is not Ben Ayade, this is not my nature,” the Governor said. “I am not wired for this insensitivity to a weaker person. I never knew that five years into office as Governor, I will still find someone living in a thatched house in Cross River.”
The Governor went on to inaugurate an anti-tax agency designed to abolish payment of taxes by low-income earners.
The move is part of the state’s COVID-19 palliative measures.
Ayade added that the tax exemption is aimed at encouraging small and medium scale businesses, peasant farmers, commercial transport operators, food vendors, hotels with less than 50 rooms, and all those struggling to earn a living in order to expand and create a livelihood for their families.
Speaking at the Government House in Calabar on Thursday, Ayade frowned at the activities of illegal tax consultants who extort money from the poor and vulnerable, a practice he says discourages the establishment and expansion of infant industries.
Governor Ayade said he is not interested in generating income from all sources as he further charged the members of the newly inaugurated Agency, who are all religious leaders, to take their assignment seriously by vindicating the poor and Vulnerable from paying tax.
The Chairman of the Agency, Bishop Emma Isong assured the public that the Agency will spread its tentacles across the 18 Local Governments of the state with all levels of fairness and equity in order to commercialize the state and encourage businesses.
Governor Ayade thanked the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the Christians of various denominations, as well as the Muslim community in Cross River for their support and cooperation during the period of the ban.
He noted that the understanding and cooperation of religious leaders contributed immensely in keeping the state free of COVID-19 so far.
According to the governor, the decision to lift the ban on public worship follows the consideration of the ‘spiritual economy’ and in response to appeals by religious leaders in the state.
Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade has called on the Federal Government to lift the ban on domestic flights to allow local businesses to thrive.
Ayade while inspecting the ongoing asphalting of the dualised Odukpani-Calabar highway in the state on Sunday told journalists that the ban on domestic flights for the next four weeks will deal a great blow on local businesses and affect the nation’s economy negatively.
“We want to plead with Mr President to kindly review the option of keeping the Nigerian airways closed for another four weeks.
“Hotels are dying and laying off workers. Food suppliers and vendors are laying off workers. An additional four weeks will be a great blow and it will be difficult for some businesses to survive.
“As we continue to lock the domestic airports for another four weeks, what we are going to have in terms of economic loss, and in terms of social delinquency, the associated moral and social tension that will come with it, will be just too huge for the country to bear,” he said.
Ayade said rather than ban domestic flights, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) should devise strict guidelines to enable the aviation sector to continue to operate without increasing the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
“The country is awash with massive unemployment. NCDC should come up with a policy to keep our people safe while we let our domestic businesses thrive.
“We can still be safe while allowing the internals of Nigeria to run. We can do so by allowing the domestic airlines to start flying,” he added.
The Federal Government had earlier on May 6 imposed an additional four-week ban on flight operations across the country as a measure to check the spread of COVID-19.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika while making the announcement said the aviation sector was recording huge losses as a result of the lockdown, adding that many airlines would not survive the economic loss as a fallout of COVID-19.