Cross River state governor, Professor Ben Ayade Thursday explained that his decision to defect to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC was in the best interest of the state as it will unlock its economic potentials.
Addressing thousands of members of Coalition of APC Support Groups drawn from the 18 local government areas of the state at a solidarity rally held at the open field overlooking the Governor’s Office, Calabar, Ayade who last week dumped the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the APC stated that his defection stemmed from the urgent need to connect the state to the centre, arguing that ” a state like Cross River with the lowest federal allocation and heavily indebted cannot continue to be in the opposition to fight rather than sit together in a larger forum and negotiate together to bring value and economic benefits to our dear people.”
Among those with the governor to receive the rallying youths were the state deputy governor, Prof Ivara Esu and the APC governorship candidate in the 2019 elections, Senator John Owan-Eno.
According to the governor, Cross River has immense but untapped mineral deposits in Bakassi, Biase, Ikom, Yala, Boki, Odukpani among other parts of the state, noting that ” we need to sucket to the centre to bring value, to explore these natural mineral deposits…A party is a vehicle and the appropriate vehicle to usher in prosperity to Cross River is the APC.”
Describing President Muhammadu Buhari as a president with a listening ear, the Cross River state governor disclosed that before defecting to the ruling party there was extensive negotiations including issues bordering on the 76 oil wells which the state lost to Akwa Ibom state.
“Part of the commitment is that there will be federal government focus on Cross River state”, he said.
Several speakers at the rally commended the governor for bringing Cross River to the epicentre of Nigerian politics.
Dr.Job Napoleon Agbor, a member of APC Special Group and Adviser of Joint National Association of Persons with Disability likened Ayade’s movement to the APC to “connecting Cross River to the national grid”.
Earlier, the coordinator of the support groups, Prince Mike Abuo assured the governor of total support of Cross River youths.
He lauded Ayade’s youth-friendly policies which have seen many young people occupying strategic positions in his government.