The Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade says he was attracted to the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) by the ”personal character of President Muhammadu Buhari”.
Mr Ayade recently defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC.
“I moved into the APC because of my personal relationship with Mr President,” Mr Ayade told reporters at the Presidential Villa on Thursday after a meeting with Mr Buhari.
“I have watched him and I found honesty, integrity and I see his wish and commitment to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“To that extent, I have a leader that I trust,” he said of the president.
That was Mr Ayade’s first meeting with President Buhari, after the governor’s defection two weeks ago.
The governor told the reporters what he thinks of opposition politics in Nigeria and other countries.
“Opposition in the third world means let everything happen that will make the other party look bad.
“I am one of the strong Nigerian governors who has risen beyond party lines and ethnic lines by virtue of my education and exposure,” he said.
He said his defection has caused uneasiness in the PDP, and that it came as a “rude shock” to the party.
“It is indeed a rude shock because until I defected, I was a very strong member of the party in truth and in spirit.
“And, the reality is that PDP had the best result in Cross River – of all the elected offices, all the chairmen of council, all the councillors, all the National Assembly members but one, all the chairmen of the local governments, all commissioners, all the appointees, all of them were PDP before I defected.
“So, in terms of performance of PDP, it should be highest performance in the last election in Cross River, which means of all the elected offices, except for one office, PDP cleared all.
“So, for such a governor who led PDP to such a victory, to defect to APC, definitely, it must come as a very, very rude shock,” he said.
‘Opposition responsible for insecurity’
Governor Ayade, without any evidence to back up his claim, said “unpatriotic politicians” were sponsoring deadly attacks, kidnappings, and killings in some parts of Nigeria.
“The increasing insecurity in Nigeria as Nigeria suffers attacks from extraneous aggressors, paid militia and bandits, the opposition party only celebrates that because they believe it gives them a chance to win in 2023.
“So, opposition becomes very cannibalistic. So, you rejoice over the bloodbath in your country, you rejoice over the level of insurgency and killings in your country just because you are playing opposition.
“The country is snowballing into a civil strife. We need to come together and support Mr President to overcome the insurgency which is characterised by external militias, who are paid for the purpose.”
Police operatives and other security officials have been targeted for deadly attacks in the South-east and South-south regions.
Court buildings and facilities belonging to the Independent National Electoral Commission have also been attacked and set ablaze.
Mr Ayade’s Cross River has also witnessed deadly attacks on security officials.
Four police officers, for instance, were shot dead by gunmen on a highway in Calabar in February.
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