By Benson Ezugwu
Calabar, May 20, 2021
Thursday’s defection of Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River, from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), has generated mixed reactions in the state.
A cross section of stakeholders who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Calabar disclosed this.
Mr Hilliard Etta, former APC National Vice Chairman, South South, expressed delight over the governor’s defection to the party.
Etta added that Ayade had lots of value to add to the party in the state as a governor, adding that his membership would double its chances in 2023 general poll.
“He has joined the party and the best thing to do now is to welcome him.
“His value will surely increase our chances in 2023 elections. There is a value in having a governor in our party,” he said.
On whether the governor’s defection would lead to mass defection from the PDP to APC, Etta said he was not sure of what will happen.
“Some of his supporters will surely follow him, but whether there is going to be mass defection from PDP is a different matter,” he said.
Mr Ndoma Lyod, a PDP Chieftain in the state, however, described the governor’s departure as long expected.
“It didn’t come as a surprise to some of us. We knew he was going to move, only the time we did not know.
“He is free to go to any party of his choice to realise his 2023 ambition, but PDP remains strong in Cross River,” he said.
Lyod said that the state remained a PDP state, adding that Ayade’s defection could not change anything.
“Cross River is for PDP and nothing can change that,” he said.
Mr Dan Obu, Chairman of the state chapter of National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), said the governor had the right to move to any party to pursue his future political ambition.
“As an individual he has the right to chose where to go. The party is just a platform, and he has just changed his political platform.
“We are not a political party but we shall meet at the appropriate time to take a position on where to vote,” Obu said.