The Cross Rivers State Governor, Ben Ayade, on Wednesday refused to back down on his demand for a power shift to the Southern part of Nigeria in 2023.
Ayade, according to a statement issued by Tinubu Media Office, stated this when the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Bola Tinubu, visited him at the Government House in Calabar to mobilize support for his 2023 presidential bid.
Tinubu was accompanied on the trip to Cross River by the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje; former governor of Nasarawa State, Tanko Al-Makura, former governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, former Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, presidential aide, Mallam Yau Darazo, and Chairman of TETFUND, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, among others.
The governor said the idea of zoning was to ensure an equitable power sharing in the country.
Ayade said: “Zoning is a provision of our constitution to ensure balancing. It should not be about ethnic or regional domination, but balancing. It’s the turn of Southern Nigeria in 2023.”
The governor, who said the country was in dire need of change, expressed regret that the country was still importing petrol to meet its local demand.
He described Tinubu as a trans-generational leader and political strategist with the capacity and experience to lead the country.
The APC chieftain, according to him, was more than qualified to be Nigeria’s president.
Ayade said history would be kind to the ex-Lagos State governor as the man who propelled the APC to power in 2015, adding that he was a cornerstone of the party’s success.
The governor noted that he has a long standing excellent relationship with Tinubu, saying each time he sought his advice on issues, he always got one.
He said: “Thank you for your insensitivity to party affiliation, to age difference, to religion and to ethnicity.”
In his remark, the APC leader told Governor Ayade that there was no collision in both men’s presidential aspiration.
He said: “Mine is to respect you as you respect me.
“I appeal to you as your senior brother and the first to declare his intention, not to endorse me today but when you get to Abuja, you can endorse me fully.
“We must have that unity of purpose. We must work together not only for the unity and economic development of Cross Rivers, but also of the country. We owe that to the present and future generations.”
Tinubu promised to work with the state for the full development of Calabar Port if elected president next year.
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