The Governor of Cross River State, Senator Ben Ayade, has justified his seeming closeness to President Muhammadu Buhari despite belonging to different political parties.
With the political dust yet to settle over the 2015 general elections that saw the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, lose power at the center to the All Progressives Congress, APC, coupled with the mass defections that have hit the former ruling party, any romance with the Presidency especially by a Governor of the opposition party is immediately assumed as a plan to join the train of change and there lies the irony for Governor Ayade.
Either by an act of commission or omission, the Cross River governor is today considered as one of the few among the PDP governors who enjoys a cordial working relationship with President Buhari.
Furthermore, the frequency of his visit to Aso Rock Presidential Villa to meet Buhari is doing little to douse the fears in some quarters that the real motive may still be under wraps.
Unperturbed by the speculations that trail his closeness to the Presidency, Ayade said while remained a loyal member of the PDP, he would not allow politics hinder his quest to deliver good governance to people of Cross River.
Speaking with newsmen recently at the Margaret Ekpo International Airport Calabar, Governor Ayade said: “We did not seek office for the mere sake of politics; politics is for service to your people, it is not politics for the sake of politics, and so for me, I am focused on ensuring that I work with President Buhari for the good of my people in Cross River State”.
He also disclosed that his relationship with Buhari is based on the president’s character, person and integrity.
According to him, these qualities have tremendously endeared him to believing that “if I share my feelings with him, he won’t look at me as a southern governor or PDP governor and he has shown that in all ways”.
The governor added that in his bid to construct a new economy for Cross River through the signature projects, there was need for a good relationship with President Buhari at all stages.
“He (Buhari) did not seek election to be APC president; he sought to be the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that is who he is and what he has continued to exhibit”, the governor pointed out.