Assessing Ayade’s yardstick

By Emmanuel Aziken

In justifying his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to the All Progressives Congress, APC, Governor Ben Ayade last Thursday cited his determination to forge a national consensus around President Muhammadu Buhari for Nigeria to move forward.

“Instead of us rising as an orgasmic whole to see how we can support the President to deal with these foreign herders that are colonising our various roads and farms, we rather sit back; we tend to create an impression as if the government is not doing well,” he said in a television interview last Thursday.

But for a presidency that has been severely challenged with showing positive performance indicators, the governor ’s assertions are easily questionable. What input would Ayade give to the Muhammadu Buhari presidency despite the voracious support, many in the APC gave it at inception and the blueprint laid for it that it discarded?

Indeed, one of the governors present at Ayade’s defection was Dr. Kayode Fayemi. Fayemi, who was one of those who authored the blueprint for the APC had in a television interview on Channels Television last March firmly affirmed that the APC federal administration had failed in the three key areas of security, economy, and anti-corruption it campaigned on prior to 2015.

So, as Chief Dan Orbih, the South-South Zonal Chairman of the PDP said in his reaction, the rationale for Ayade wishing to identify with failure is shocking.

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Beyond that, Ayade is undoubtedly among the most educated of governors in the country with advanced degrees in Microbiology and Law.

So, his action was not without scientific reasoning. Indeed, it was the consequence of much cogitation and political permutations over a period of time.

For one who is given to often speaking impromptu, it was not difficult for the secret reason for his defection to flow out as he spoke last Thursday.

“(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,” Ayade explained.

In effect, the governor opened to all that for him in Cross River State the issue of his succession was a difficulty, a fact that lured the governor towards fraternization and alleged pummeling of the PDP. GWG.NG, an online newspaper had in a report last March, referenced this seeming hounding in an exclusive report of Ayade’s planned defection.

The report had also shown how a tendency reportedly aligned to Ayade tried to scupper the South-South zonal congress of the PDP last March.

Though he tried to deny the claim in his television interview last Thursday, it is globally known that the governor lost control of the PDP structure to the National Assembly members from his state during the last congresses.

Sources in the PDP have revealed to this correspondent how the governor took the congresses for granted perhaps believing that the structures were pliable to his verbose ventilations.

What he lost was taken over by the National Assembly members, some of whom are playing along the historical political pathway that was postulated even before the governor left the classroom for the political arena.

Indeed, before Ayade joined politics, the trio of Liyel Imoke, Gershom Bassey and Donald Duke, famed in Cross River as the three musketeers, and with Victor Ndoma-Egba as a helper, had carved a political corridor through which governors of the state would
come.

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In 2007, Imoke was literally, a shoo-in after the first of the trio, that is Duke. The next was to be Gershom Bassey who was the chairman of the party while Duke was governor.

However, by happenstance of zoning and logic, reason prevailed that the governorship should not return to Bassey’s Cross River South just after eight years of Duke without the North having its feel of the seat.

Hence, Ayade came in. Ayade’s emergence also came after the three musketeers of Duke, Imoke alongside Ndoma-Egba had their famous falling apart in 2014.

Duke and Ndoma-Egba fell out of the mainstream and it fell on Imoke and Bassey to ensure the emergence of Ayade as governor despite the desires of those who left the PDP.

Indeed, what makes Ayade’s defection interesting is that a number of the political leaders of the state like Senator John Enoh left the PDP for the APC because of Ayade.

By Thursday night as Ayade’s defection became formalized, there was a whispering campaign in Calabar on the prospects of some of the defectors returning to the PDP.

As was expected, the governor has been crowned as the leader of the APC. But which faction of the APC he will superintend over is one that will in the next few days become an issue given the historic bitterness among the factions of the party in Cross River State.

It is a bitterness that has seen the factions fight over virtually everything. If Ayade coming in, will help cement them will be a welcome development. But the yardstick with which a governor who lost power within his PDP caucus would be able to enforce his succession agenda on the whole state without the coercive instrument of the Federal Government is one that will be a wonder!

Vanguard News Nigeria

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