By Jonathan Ugbal
Listen To The Report
Cross River State Governor, Sen. Ben Ayade on Tuesday informed President Muhammadu Buhari of his intention to join the presidential race.
Ayade, who defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC, in 2021, made his intention known after meeting with President Buhari in Aso Rock, where he said he had the longest meeting with the President ever.
Sen. Ayade said President Buhari advised him to do more consultations before making a formal declaration even as he explained the circumstances that led to his emergence as Governor in 2015.
The Governor who said he visited the President to seek spiritual and political guidance, also averred that if he became President, his administration will focus on security, economy, electricity, and employment.
Sen. Ayade said he will replicate what he did in Cross River, adding that if the presidency is zoned to the South, he is willing to take up the challenge as the only APC Governor in the South-South.
Asked to react to unconfirmed reports that the APC might present former President Goodluck Jonathan as the sole candidate for the 2023 presidential election, he said, “I have great respect for President Jonathan and so I have no challenges whatsoever.
“I believe that the party leadership will decide on the appropriate candidate that will take our party to victory. And so, if you heard me well, I am just part of the family; absolutely loyal to the President, seeking to run for the president. And I am running. But at any point in time that the political leadership of my party, the APC feels that President Jonathan is the appropriate candidate that will take us to victory, I will turn my support for him.
“I am never, ever going to fight the establishment, the institution, the aristocracy, the spiritual vortex of which God has placed a leader of a country. I will never question the powers of the leader of a country. I have never played politics of antagonism or fight.
“I became Governor by offering to support whoever the Governor (Imoke) wanted and by the stroke of luck, I became the candidate.
“By the same token, I am only here to support the president’s candidate and by a stroke of luck, he said, you too go there and join the race and let me see.”